RUIDOSO DOWNS – Defending 13-time national champion trainer Paul Jones got his Ruidoso Downs’ season off to an excellent start by saddling two of the five qualifiers from 16 trials to the Grade 1, $750,000 Ruidoso Futurity on opening day Friday.
The Jones qualifiers were top-qualifier Fine Oak Corona and fourth-fastest qualifier Jm One Hot Boy.
Ruidoso Downs also got off to an excellent start. The total handle was $784,602 for an
average $49,037 per trial. A year ago, the average per trial was $36,769. That is an increase of 33 percent per trial.
The total handle was up 78 percent over last year when there were 12 trials.
The trials continue on Saturday with an additional 16 trials. The horses with the five-fastest times on Saturday join Friday’s top-five qualifiers in the 350-yard Ruidoso Futurity on Sunday, June 7.
The Ruidoso Futurity is the first leg of the All American Triple Crown. Completing the Triple Crown is the Grade 1, $1 million Rainbow Futurity and the Grade 1, $3 million All American Futurity. In any horse wins all three races then the horse’s connections take a $4 million bonus.
The All American Futurity offers the largest purse of any two-year-old race in the world and any quarter horse race.
Heading the Jones’ qualifiers is Fine Oak Corona.
Jose Sanchez’s Fine Oak Corona sped to a-one-and-one-quarter length win in the ninth trial with a :17.648 time while facing an 11 mile-per-hour headwind. L. Salvador Martinez was up.
The son of Corona Prospect won his West Texas Futurity trial in his career debut and qualified for the futurity with the ninth-fastest time. He then stepped up with a fourth-place run in Grade 2, $199,450 West Texas Futurity.
“We got him and he was paid up in the West Texas and that’s the reason we ran him,” said Jones’ assistant Lisa Saumell. “He has just gained weight and come into himself.”
J & M Racing and Farm’s Jm One Hot Boy made his debut in the trials and posted neck win while racing from the inside post under Ramon Sanchez. He was timed in :17.746.
“It feels really good,” said Jones. “There was a lot of tension and there were a lot of trials.”