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Jones brings six qualifiers into Sunday’s All American Derby


August 31, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

Ruidoso Downs, NM (August 31, 2006) – Four-time defending national champion trainer Paul Jones should have a strong say in the outcome of the Grade 1, $389,908 All American Derby after qualifying six horses for Sunday’s 440-yard finals, including Rainbow Derby winner Strawkins.

The summer season at Ruidoso Downs runs through Monday when Quarter Horse racing’s signature two-year-old race, the All American Futurity, is contested. The finals to the Grade 1, $2,050,000 All American Futurity feature the undefeated Okey Dokey Fantasy, the New Mexico-bred Zia Futurity winner Gun Battle and fastest-qualifier No Secrets Here, who is trained by Jones.

The day before Jones saddles No Secrets Here in the All American Futurity, he will be very busy saddling horses in the All American Derby. His qualifiers, in addition to Strawkins, are First Wicked Lady, Ketel Won, Kelowna Kash, In Dispute and Separate Tac. The six Jones qualifiers are among the nine All American Derby finalists with Grade 1 experience.

Don and Peggy Boyles’ homebred Strawkins set the Ruidoso Downs 440-yard track record when he won the Rainbow Derby in :20.736 on July 22. He then ran third over a sloppy track in his All American Derby trial and his time of :21.560 seconds was good for the seventh-fastest qualifying time. “He didn’t like the wet track; he was fortunate to quality,” said Jones. “He has bounced back well.”

It’s been a remarkable rise to the top echelon of Quarter Horse racing for Strawkins after starting his career over a year ago racing in the Northwest and Canada. Last fall, he moved to Los Alamitos Race Course in Southern California and then came to Ruidoso Downs this summer. Throughout his travels he has won stakes races at four different tracks and has 10 wins from 14 starts.

One of Jones’ goals with Strawkins is to race him in the Grade 1, $600,000 Champion Of Champions in December at Los Alamitos Race Course. The All American Derby is the only race in New Mexico with a Champion Of Champions invitation awarded to the winner.

New Mexico-breds are making a statement about their obvious class in Grade 1 stakes at Ruidoso Downs with two state-breds, Gun Battle and Mightys First Call, in the All American Futurity and fastest-qualifier Arealstraitheart in the All American Derby.

Arealstraitheart, owned by MJ Enterprises and trained by Ben Torres, is dangerous against any competition with seven wins and three seconds from 10 career starts. The gelding has two Grade 1 wins against New Mexico-bred competition and was second to champion Teller Cartel in the 2005 All American Futurity. That impeccable record has led to career earnings of $619,644, more than twice the amount of any other All American Derby finalist.

With regular rider Esgar Ramirez in the saddle, Arealstraitheart won his All American Derby trial by 1-1/4 length in :21.350, the fastest qualifying time from five trials.

First post time for the remainder of the Ruidoso Downs’ season is 12 p.m. There is free parking and free grandstand admission.