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Ruidoso Downs: Pilot Points Moon tops Saturday’s Futurity qualifiers

RUIDOSO DOWNS  — The inexperienced Pilot Points Moon topped the qualifiers on the second of two days of trials to the Grade 1, $3,000,000 All American Futurity on Saturday afternoon at Ruidoso Downs.

However, Rainbow Futurity winner Mm Fourinthemorning, the nation’s number-one ranked two-year-old, was a stunning winner of his trial and ranks the probable favorite on Labor Day in the 440-yard All American Futurity.

The top-five fastest horses from Saturday’s 16 440-yard trials join the five-fastest horses from Friday’s 16 trials to complete the field in the All American Futurity, which has the largest purse in quarter horse racing. The horses with the next five-fastest times gain priority gain priority to the $200,000 All American Juvenile.

Racing resumes on Sunday at 1 p.m. with the trials to the Grade 1, $1,200,000 All American Derby. The All American Derby finals will be held on September 2, the day before Labor Day.

The five qualifiers on Saturday and their 440-yard times are Pilot Points Moon (21.520 seconds), Mm Fourinthemorning (21.648), Badhabit Jess (21.664), No Mires a La Luna (\21.680) and Rustys Miracle (21.695).

Trainer Blane Wood and jockey Ricky Ramirez qualified Mm Fourinthemorning and Badhabit Jess on Saturday. They also combined with first-day fastest qualifier Apocalyptical Jess.

Grant Farms, LLC’s homebred Pilot Points Moon posted the day’s fastest qualifying time in just his second start and his two starts have been within two weeks. The gelding by First Moonflash won his maiden on August 4 with a neck win in a Ruidoso Downs maiden race.

The Wes Giles-trained gelding took a monumental step forward in his All American Futurity trial when he pulled away from his rivals like an experienced professional to win by one-and-one-half lengths under Adrian A. Ramos.

“We just waited for him to mature,” said Giles. “He’s a nice horse and should step forward in the finals.”

Grant Farms also bred third-fastest qualifier Badhabit Jess. They sold the Mr Jess Perry-sired gelding for $25,000 in the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale to La Felix Montana Ranch, LLC. He won his maiden in his third start by taking the 16th and final All American Futurity trial.

Mark and Annette McCloy’s homebred Mm Fourinthemorning, also a Mr Jess Perry-sired gelding, comes into the All American Futurity as the total package. He is a Grade 1 futurity winner after winning the Grade 1, $1,000,000 Rainbow Futurity in his previous start and dominated his All American Futurity trial.

Mm Fourinthemorning opened up a lead by the halfway mark of his trial as the 1-10 favorite and then stretched his advantage to two-and-one-quarter lengths at the finish line.

Jockey Ramirez said that he just waits until Mm Fourinthemorning finds his extra gear when he passes the casino, about 150 yards from the finish.

The McCloys offered Mm Fourinthemorning in the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale. “I wanted $150,000 for him, but if he got to $100,000, I would have thought about selling him,” said Mark McCloy. “When the final bid was $50,000, there was no question I was going to buy him back.”

McCloy is certainly glad he took him back home. “It’s been great. It couldn’t be better,” said McCloy. “He’s special.”

David Valdez’s and Byron Woodard’s No Mires a La Luna, sired by First Moonflash, finshed second to Badhabit Jess in the final trial. The gelding is still a maiden after seven starts, however he was a close third in the $346,000 Mountain Top Futurity and reached the finals of the $410,000 Zia Futurity. Each of those futurities is for New Mexico-breds.

Owned by J & SM Inc., Rustys Miracle overcame a troubled start to go on and win her trial by a neck as the 11-10 favorite. The experienced filly from the Fred Danley barn was making her seventh start and raced to her fifth win. The Valiant Hero daughter raced in the $100,000 Ruidoso Juvenile and then won the $100,000 Rainbow Juvenile in her start before the All American Futurity trials.