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Taylor back for another run at the All American Futurity

August 24, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

Ruidoso Downs, NM (August 23, 2006) — Trainer Heath Taylor, who qualified three horses for last year’s All American Futurity, is back at Ruidoso Downs with another multi-horse shot at the $1 million first-place All American Futurity check from the $2,050,000 total purse. He’s hoping that lessons learned from his 2005 All American experience help his 2006 fortunes in Quarter Horse racing’s richest race.

The 440-yard All American Futurity will be held on Labor Day, closing day of the summer season at Ruidoso Downs.

Taylor competes mainly on the Texas-Louisiana circuit with great success. In 2005, he won 134 races (including 24 stakes) from 519 starters and his horses earned $3.1 million, to rank second in each category behind four-time defending national training champion Paul Jones. Taylor’s 2005 winning percentage of 26 percent was the highest winning percentage among the top 20 trainers of winners or money earners.

In recent years Taylor has made winning the All American Futurity one of his top priorities. Last summer, he made a statement during the trials when he qualified three horses for the All American, including the two fastest qualifiers — Make A Secret and Jess A Classy Lad. Those two horses raced in an entry that went off as the 6-5 favorite.

Make A Secret finished fourth in the All American Futurity while Jess A Classy Lad was eighth after a troubled start.

This year, Taylor has two horses in the All American Futurity and has made training adjustments in an effort to improve his horses’ finishes. “Last year, I thought we used too much of the horses in the trials,” said Taylor. “We worked them less this year, so we should have fresher horses for the finals.”

The two horses carrying Taylor’s hopes for a first All American win are My First Passion and First Freeze, the eighth- and ninth-fastest qualifiers.

My First Passion is following a similar path to the All American finals as Make A Secret did in 2005. Both horses won the Firecracker Futurity at Delta Downs over the Fourth of July weekend and then shipped to Ruidoso Downs for the All American Futurity trials. But, in the All American Futurity trials, Make A Secret raced to a fastest-qualifying trial win while My First Passion finished third in his trial. Taylor’s plan, if all goes well, will lead to My First Passion being a fresher horse than Make A Secret was a year ago.

“I think he has a legitimate chance,” Taylor said of My First Passion. “He’s a big, regal colt that loves a quarter mile. He didn’t get away from the gate like he can in his trial.”

First Freeze is a like a “six-eight kid in the eighth grade. Even though he finished fourth in his trial he still ran down there in :21.311,” said Taylor. “He’s sound and he should improve.”

A maiden winner from three career starts, First Freeze has the breeding to be an All American Futurity contender. He is sired by all-time leading sire First Down Dash and out of Streakin Snowlady, the dam of 2005 Rainbow Futurity and All American Futurity finalist Shesnowlady. “He’s a full brother to Shesnowlady. Streakin Snowlady has had two foals to race and they each qualified for the All American Futurity,” said Taylor.

Taylor has already made an impact on the All American Futurity by qualifying five horses in two runnings. Now he is ready to take the next step, into the winner’s circle.