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Analysis of Louisiana Champions Night Races; and an Active Weekend On Tap for the Q-Racing Aces
Posted: 7/13/2012 12:52:00 AM
|Louisiana-bred Quarter Horses will be on display at Delta Downs on Saturday, as the track ends its 46-night season with an 11-race program featuring all state-bred races.|
Every race drew a full field of Louisiana-bred runners, all of whom will be vying for their share of a total of $1,047,055 in purse money. The richest race on the card, the 350-yard, $551,055 Lee Berwick Futurity (RG1), honors the memory of the man who built Delta Downs in the early 1970s. His widow, Betty Berwick, and daughter Kathryn will be on hand to present the trophy to the winner of this year's race.
The history of the Lee Berwick Futurity dates back to 1981, when the race was known as the Delta Downs Louisiana Breeders' Futurity and Earl Hall's Lucky Lil Moon earned the winner's share of a $109,151 purse. Teddy Abrams Jr.'s Vals Fortune won the race in 2003, the year the chestnut Dashing Val gelding was voted AQHA champion 2-year-old, and Jet Black Patriot, a homebred colt by Game Patriot, won the '08 Berwick Futurity before he shipped to Ruidoso Downs and ran second to world champion Stolis Winner in the All American Futurity (G1).
The Lee Berwick Futurity was contested at 400 yards from 1981 through '95; the distance was shortened to 350 the following year. Robert Latham's Little Bit Trashy holds the 350-yard stakes record of :17.23, which the Game Patriot gelding set last year.
Our top choice for this year's Lee Berwick Futurity is Ms Jingles, a brown daughter of the Chicks Beduino stallion who was a prompt 1-5 favorite in her trial and posted the second-fastest qualifying time. Ms Jingles has won four of five races, including the 330-yard, $252,000 Louisiana Breeders' Laddie Futurity (RG2) on May 26, and she tops all the Berwick finalists with career earnings of $177,320.
Fast Talkin Henry, the fastest qualifier and 9-5 morning-line favorite, is coming off of a 1 1/2-length victory in the sixth of 10 trials, a race in which the Heza Fast Dash gelding earned a lifetime-best 91 TrackMaster speed rating. Fast Talkin Henry's trainer, Heath Taylor, has won this race three times, most recently with Dynomax in 2006.
Dreamers Fast Dash, a 12-1 morning-line longshot, is winless in two starts, but the gelding by Heza Fast Dash improved his TrackMaster speed rating by 13 points when he ran second to Fast Talkin Henry in his trial. Also worth noting is his solid work tab, which includes an :11.90 220-yard breeze over the track on June 12.
Our top selection, JLS Mr Bigtime, is the 4-5 morning-line favorite, and for good reason. This 4-year-old gelding by Bigtime Favorite takes a significant class drop off of a solid second-place finish to reigning world champion Cold Cash 123 in the 440-yard, $250,000 Remington Park Invitational Championship (G1) on May 27. JLS Mr Bigtime also returns against Louisiana-breds after he competed against the best 3-year-olds in the country at Ruidoso Downs last summer.
The Louisiana Classic also drew a pair of 440-yard specialists, Louisiana Rangler and Louisiana Panther, both of whom are undefeated in three starts at the distance. A 5-year-old gelding by champion Jess Louisiana Blue, Louisiana Rangler will be making his first start since May 19, when he scored a half-length victory as the 13-10 choice in the $55,000 Delta 550 Stakes (R). Also worth noting is that Louisiana Rangler earned a 102 speed rating when he won the December 10, 440-yard Louisiana Champions Day Classic Stakes (RG2) at odds of 34-1.
Louisiana Panther is a 6-year-old gelding by champion Panther Mountain who scored two quarter-mile allowance-optional claiming wins last winter at Louisiana Downs. Louisiana Panther is coming off of second-place efforts in the Delta 550 Stakes and 400-yard Vals Fortune Stakes (RG3).
Zupers Quick Dash is a horse for the course, as this 6-year-old Heza Fast Dash gelding has made the trifecta in 13 of his 15 starts at Delta. Zupers Quick Dash is five weeks removed from a head victory in the Vals Fortune.
Also, Q-Racing Ace Jennifer Hancock will be at Arapahoe Park near Denver on Sunday. She and track announcer Jonathan Horowitz will conduct a handicapping seminar where they will analyze Arapahoe's nine-race program, including the Grade 3, $90,000 Rocky Mountain Futurity.
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Michael Cusortelli has been a definitive source for American Quarter Horse racing industry news for more than a decade. A graduate of the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program, he has been a racing publicist and was most recently field editor and electronic news editor for the American Quarter Horse Racing Journal for 10 years. He currently works as racing correspondent for the New Mexico Horse Breeders Magazine, and he has contributed to several industry publications, including The Horseplayer Magazine, Daily Racing Form, HoofBeats, and the Texas Thoroughbred Magazine.