Barbara D. Livingston Photo
RUIDOSO DOWNS, NMóAUGUST 27, 2012ó The first stakes race of the ultimate weekend at Ruidoso Downs, the $50,000 Ruidoso Thoroughbred Derby, brings out Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Derby runner-up Isnít He Clever to race over one-and-one sixteenth mile on Saturday afternoon.
The racing season at Ruidoso Downs concludes on Monday Labor. Quarter horse racingís two richest races headline the final two racing programs.
On Sunday, champion Ochoa chases the all-time earnings record in the Grade 1, $2,234,539 All American Derby, the richest race ever contested for three-year-old and older quarter horses.
On Monday, fastest-qualifier PJ Chick In Black goes for her fifth win from five starts and her third stakes victory in the Grade 1, $2,400,000 All American Futurity. The 440-yard classic features three of the top-four ranked two-year-olds in quarter horse raceing. The purse is the highest in quarter horse racing and the largest purse for any two-year-old race in North America, regardless of breed.
The Ruidoso Thoroughbred Derby brings together what may be the finest thoroughbred field to race this summer at Ruidoso Downs.
J. Kirk and Judy Robisonís Isnít He Clever won the $150,000 Borderland Derby at Sunland Park in February and returned a month later to back up that stakes win with a second behind Daddy Nose Best in the Sunland Derby. He set all the fractions before being caught and being defeated by three quarters of a length.
Isnít He Clever, a son of Smarty Jones, then hit the road and competed at Oaklawn Park, Belmont Park and Monmouth Park. His best effort was a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3, $100,000 Jersey Shore Stakes over six furlongs at Monmouth, his most recent effort.
An earner of $402,000, Isnít He Clever starts from the third post position with Enrique Portillo Gomez up for trainer Henry Dominguez.
Sam and Sammy Stevensí Ol Winedrinker Who may have home track advantage after winning the $40,000 Norgor Derby in his latest start. The Joel Marr-trained gelding circled the field in the six-furlong Norgor and got up in deep stretch to win by one-half length.
Carlos Madeira was aboard for the Norgor win and gets the call again with the fourth post position.
Norgor Derby runner-up Pacific Nights and Norgor third-place finisher Wothington are each back for the Ruidoso Thoroughbred Derby. Pacific Nights makes his first appearance since the Norgor, while Worthington came back to win an allowance race by a convincing three-and-three-quarter lengths.
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