|Eye Opening Episode Fastest Of
All in Texas Classic Futurity Trials
16, 2002) - Eye Opening Episode, the American Quarter Horse
Association’s top-ranked 2-year-old male, ran 400 yards in
a lightening-quick :19.554 on Saturday night at Lone Star Park in
Grand Prairie, Texas, and was the fastest qualifier to the $1 million
Texas Classic Futurity on Saturday, Nov. 29. The Grade 1 race for
2-year-old American Quarter Horses is expected to be the richest
horse race in Texas history.
Ridden by jockey Juan Vazquez, Texas-bred Eye Opening Episode cruised
to victory in the seventh of 15 trials. The 10 fastest recorded
times among the 146 who competed earned a berth in the coveted final
in two weeks.
The final is estimated to be worth $424,681 to the winner.
The qualifiers are:
- 1st, Eye Opening Episode – :19.554 in Race 7; ridden by
Vazquez; trained by Jose Luis Dominguez; owned and bred by Sandy
Erwin of Dallas; gray Texas-bred gelding by Mr Eye Opener out
of the Special Effort mare A Special Episode; won by three-quarters
of a length and paid $3.20 to win as the favorite; improved record
to 9-6-2-0—$484,399; previously won the Grade 1 West Texas
Futurity at Manor Downs in April and was second in the Grade 1
All American and Dash For Cash futurities.
- 2nd, Jess Maid Magic – :19.612 in Race 3; ridden by Gilbert
Ortiz, trained Heath Taylor, owned by Narciso Flores of Houston;
sorrel Texas-bred gelding by Mr Jess Perry out of the Rocket’s
Magic mare Maid Magic; won by one length and paid $3.40 to win
as the favorite; remained undefeated and improved record to 5-5-0-0—$97,220;
won the restricted Grade 2 LQHBA Sale Futurity at Louisiana Downs
- 3rd, Capone’s Vault – :19.643 in Race 12; ridden
by Tad Leggett; trained by Edward Ross Hardy; owned and bred by
Bob Moore Farms LLC of Norman, Okla.; sorrel Oklahoma-bred gelding
by First Smart Money out of the Tejano mare Secret Interlude;
won by a half-length and paid $8 to win as the third wagering
choice; improved record to 7-4-3-0—$58,516; won the Grade
3 Northlands Futurity at Canterbury Park in July.
- 4th, First Place Win – :19.687 in Race 1; ridden by Alvin
“Bubba” Brossette; trained Kenny Roberts; owned by
Al-Whit Racing of Pembroke, N.C.; brown Texas-bred gelding by
First Place Dash out of the Runaway Winner mare Winning Flair;
won by a half-length and paid $4.60 to win as the favorite; improved
record to 6-3-0-2—42,883; previously won the Grade 3 American
Airlines East Challenge at Delta Downs in May.
- 5th, Fast First Prize – :19.682 in Race 6, ridden by G.R.
Carter Jr.; trained by Rodney Reed; owned and bred by Weetona
Stanley of Madill, Okla; bay Oklahoma-bred filly by Heza Fast
Man out of the Dash For Cash mare First Prize Dash; won by 1 ¼
lengths and paid $6.60 to win as the second wagering choice; improved
record to 5-3-1-1—$212,778; previously won the Grade 1 Heritage
Place Futurity at Remington Park in June.
- T-6th, Red Dog Leader – :19.696 in Race 7; ridden by Jacky
Martin; trained by John Buchanan; owned by Bobby Cox and Buchanan
of Peaster, Texas; sorrel Texas-bred gelding by Meter Me Gone
out of the Top Avenger mare Careless Bunny; finished three-quarters
of length behind trial winner Eye Opening Episode, the fastest
qualifier; record is now 7-3-3-1—$61,950; previously won
the $45,000 Dash For Cash Futurity consolation at Lone Star Park
- T-6th, Chicks Cartel – :19.696 in Race 10; ridden by Ortiz;
trained by Janet Van Bebber; owned by Teddy Abrams Jr. of Houston;
bay Oklahoma-bred gelding by Corona Cartel out of the Marthas
Six Moons mare Miss Six Moons; won by three-quarters of a length
and paid $3.80 to win as the favorite; improved record to 6-3-2-0—$58,691;
previously won the restricted Grade 2 Lazy E Futurity at Remington
Park in April (dead-heat with Hail Corona).
- 8th, Apollos Ten Bears – a :19.713 in Race 11; ridden
by Leggett, trained by Hardy; owned and bred by Michael and Barbara
Bauman of Charma, N.M.; chestnut Oklahoma-bred gelding by Apollo
out of the Twaynas Dash mare Dashes Payback; won by a head and
paid $3.80 to win as the favorite; improved record to 8-5-0-0—$61,831;
previously won the restricted Grade 3 Oklahoma Horsemen’s
Association Futurity at Fair Meadows at Tulsa in June.
- 9th, Miss Ashante – :19.717 in Race 2; ridden by Leggett;
trained by Hardy; owned by John Joseph Sr. of Kenner, La.; sorrel
Louisiana-bred filly by Mr Jess Perry out of the Mertzon mare
Buttons N Bows; won by a half-length and paid $4.60 to win as
the favorite; improved record to 6-4-0-0—$12,873; seeks
her first stakes win.
- 10th, IB Business – :19.729 in Race 5; ridden by Carter;
trained by Reed; owned and bred by Mark Langford of Carthage,
Texas; gray Texas-bred filly by Runaway Winner out of the Pie
In The Sky mare Raise The Sky; won by a head and paid $32.80 as
the sixth wagering choice; collected her first victory and improved
her record to 4-1-1-1—$3,840.
Seven of the 10 qualifiers are graded stakes winners, including
Eye Opening Episode, who captured the Grade 1 West Texas Futurity
at Manor Downs in April. The Mr Eye Opener gelding, owned and bred
by Sandy Erwin of Dallas, also finished second, a head back of AB
What A Runner, in the lucrative All American Futurity and a neck
behind Silvered Eyes in the Dash For Cash Futurity at Lone Star
Park last month.
“He just that kind of a horse,” trainer Jose Luis Dominguez
said. “He just a classier horse. I hope it just continues
in the finals.”
“Not only is it special to own one this special, but to breed
it and own it is even better,” Erwin said.
Trainer Edward Ross Hardy and jockey Tad Leggett teamed to qualify
a trio of runners to the final: Capone’s Vault, Apollos Ten
Bears and Miss Ashante.
“I’m real proud of how all of mine ran tonight,”
Hardy was particularly pleased with how 12th race winner Capone’s
Vault, the Grade 3 Northlands Futurity champ, performed.
“We’d been waiting all year for this colt to go 400
yards,” Hardy said. “We knew that’s where he needed
to be. We just got him ready for this race. He runs good short,
but he’s a lot longer running horse. He did everything just
about perfect. I couldn’t be happier. He’s been off
for a while, but he’s a sound horse. I think this race is
going to pick him and make him real sharp in two weeks.”
Jess Maid Magic, the second fastest qualifier and winner of the
LQHBA Sale Futurity at Louisiana Downs in August nearly didn’t
compete Saturday night, according to trainer Heath Taylor.
“I have to give a lot of credit to the owner (Narciso Flores
of Houston, Texas),” Heath Taylor said. “He came by
and thought that the horse had the heart to go ahead and run. The
horse’s temperature hadn’t been very good and he was
off his feed for about three days. That was a big concern. The horse
had some ulcers and we medicated and treated him. Then, he got a
little bit better. He just wasn’t training as sharp as he
did earlier in the year.
“We had a lot reservations as to whether or not we’d
run – even about an hour before the race. Obviously, I’m
thrilled with the horse’s race. He’s an exceptionally
good horse and really, really fast. We’ve had some really
good offers for him and I’m glad for everybody that it worked
out and he ran the kind of race that the horse can run.”
In addition to the futurity final, there will be a $50,000 first
consolation for times which ranked 11-20 and a $25,000 second consolation
for times which ranked 21-30.
Qualifiers to the Texas Classic Futurity First Consolation: Dazzling
Reflection (:19.732, Race 11); Special Red Warrior (:19.733, Race
9); Athena Raquel (:19.745, Race 5); Southern Cartel (:19.765, Race
12); Outdashing (:19.794, Race 4); First N Kool (:19.794, Race 3);
Cayenne Chispa (:19.807, Race 5); Shake Em Rita Ballou (:19.815,
Race 1); Hesa Lil Bit High (:19.829, Race 2), and One Corona For
Me (:19.844, Race 5).
Qualifiers to the Texas Classic Futurity Second Consolation: Coronas
Prospect (:19.851, Race 15); Southwest Flyer (:19.857, Race 4);
Fed Ex Together (:19.866, Race 10); A Tempting Chick (:19.871, Race
4); Take Me Some Cash (:19.875, Race 15); Fast Del Rey (:19.878,
Race 14); Wild On Corona (:19.887, Race 5); Not Much Color (:19.889,
Race 14); Hemps Quick Dash (:19.906, Race 13), and Bill Cole (:19.916,
Dazzling Reflection, runner-up in the 11th trial, missed the lucrative
final and a minimum $35,851 paycheck by just four-thousandths of
The on-track crowd of 5,335 wagered $308,756 on the trials and
another $757,378 was wagered off-track for a total of $1,066,134.
The off-track and overall handle figures are records for a Texas
Classic Futurity night at Lone Star Park. The previous total handle
record was $1,011,867 on Nov. 14, 1997 when there were 15 trials.
The off-track record beat last year’s $697,177.