|A Real Man Is Just That in Texas
Classic Derby Trials
(Friday, November 15, 2002)
- A Real Man, the American Quarter Horse Association’s top-ranked
3-year-old gelding, returned to action in style Friday night at
Lone Star Park, posting the fastest qualifying time to the estimated
$315,098 Texas Classic Derby final. The Oklahoma-bred, ridden by
Larry Payne, ran the classic 440-yard distance in :21.361 –
just seven thousandths of a second fastest than the swift filly
A Real Man and Fast Regards were among 44 three-year-olds in five
trial races vying for 10 sports in the Grade 1 final worth an estimated
$126,039 to the winner. The final will be run at Lone Star Park
in two weeks on Friday, Nov. 29.
The 10 finalists are A Real Man (ridden by Payne, trained by Eddie
Willis, owned by Bill Price of Marietta, Okla., :21.361); First
Regards (Jacky Martin, Jack Brooks, Ramich Farms of Topeka, Kan.,
:21.368); Dashing Prince Henry (Martin, Brooks, :21.421); Party
Man Can (Donald Watson, owned and trained by W.O. Bergeron of Port
Allen, La., :21.435); Gray Invasion (Mark Page, Tommy Zarate, Jerry
Windham of College Station, Texas, :21.442); Dashin For Penny (G.R.
Carter Jr., Rodney Reed, James Cordell of Houston, Texas, :21.458);
Pretty Boy Perry (Payne, Guy Hopkins, Hitchin’ Post Farm of
Arlington, Texas, :21.486); Mr Mallard (Alvin “Bubba”
Brossette, Richard Smith, WPR Stables of Abbeville, La., :21.499);
Fit To Fly (Martin, Brooks, Carol and William Smith of Claremore,
Okla., :21.516), and High Strideing Hero (John Hamilton, Beverly
McNeely, Warner Croft of Austin, Texas, :21.534).
Brooks and Martin teamed to qualify three runners: First Regards,
Dashin Prince Henry and Fit To Fly. Payne rode two qualifiers, A
Real Man and Pretty Boy Perry – the only other multiple-qualifier.
This year’s Derby trials ranked among the strongest in the
10-year-old race. The participants had earned in excess of $3.8
million, 12 had won more than $100,000 and 29 were stakes winners,
including five Grade 1 champs.
A Real Man, winner of the Grade 1 Remington Park and Grade 1 Heritage
Place Derby, made his first since finishing third behind Genuine
Strawfly and Tres Seis in the Grade 1 All American Derby at Ruidoso
Downs in New Mexico on Sept. 1. Last fall, A Real Man won a trial
for the Texas Classic Futurity, which began a streak of seven straight
victories including three stakes wins.
“He gives you a good race every time,” Willis said
of A Real Man. “He’s pretty easy. He’s capable
of posting a quick time like that. I thought he’d do it tonight.”
Overall, A Real Man is ranked sixth on the current AQHA Racing
Poll. He’s won 10 of his 21 starts and $212,595.
The filly First Regards will attempt a rare Dash For Cash and Texas
Classic Derby sweep. Only Brooks’ charge Dashing Perfection
doubled in the 3-year-old jackpot during his 1997 championship campaign.
“She usually really steps away from the starting gate and
sometimes on the end she doesn’t finish great,” Brooks
said. “She’s a light filly and sometimes it wears on
her down the racetrack. But tonight, she got away late and came
running on at the end. And that was against a bunch of really nice
horses. I’m really tickled. She was really impressive at the
Pretty Boy Perry will attempt to join his sire, Mr Jess Perry,
as the only Texas Classic Futurity and Derby winners. Mr Jess Perry
won the 1994 Futurity at Sam Houston Race Park and the ’95
Derby at the now-defunct Trinity Meadows.
“Up here last year, he ran two flawless races – the
[Texas Classic Futurity] trials and finals,” Hopkins said.
“He really looked good. When we ran the other day (Oct. 4
in the Dash For Cash Derby trials) and ducked up the gap (and finished
last of 11), it was just one of those things. You can’t control
that; you never know when something like that is going to happen.
People worried about something being wrong with the horse, but the
horse had trained real good coming up this race. He ran good tonight
– and looked good.”
“We excited just to qualify,” said Pretty Boy Perry’s
owner Buzz Post, who runs his horses as Hitchin’ Post Farm.
“That was our goal. Once they get in the gate, then you want
to win. We have a lot of faith and confidence in this horse. This
horse is for real.”
A Real Man, Dashin Prince Henry and Party Man Can exited the second
trial (Race 7). First Regards was the lone qualifier from the third
trial (Race 8). Gray Invasion, Dashin For Penny and Mr Mallard earned
berths in the final heat (Race 10). Pretty Boy Perry, Fit To Fly
and High Strideing Hero qualified from the fourth trial (Race 9).
No finalist emerged from the first trial (Race 6).
Prize money for the final is estimated to be distributed as follows:
first, $126,039; second, $63,020; third, $34,661; fourth, $22,057;
fifth, $15,755; sixth and seventh, $12,604; eighth, ninth and 10th,
Times which ranked 11-20 earned berths in the $25,000 Texas Classic
Derby Consolation. Those horses are Iowa Gold (:21.563); Run And
Pray (:21.565); Gone Celebrating (:21.584); No Tools Required (:21.594);
JEH Company (:21.597); Wildest Heart (:21.609); Moonshine Six (:21.678);
Almost Flyin (:21.691); Indy Speed Meter (:21.702), and Royal Blue
Chew Chew (:21.711).
Saturday’s Lone Star Park program will showcase 15 trials
for the Texas Classic Futurity. That night of racing will begin
early at 5:30 p.m. (CST). Gates will open at 5 p.m. (CST).
Both the Texas Classic Derby and Futurity trials are co-sponsored
by TRACK Magazine, in conjunction with Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie
and the Texas Quarter Horse Association.