First Regards Wins Dash For Cash Derby

(Friday, October 18, 2002) - Under a driving rain storm, 3-year-old filly First Regards broke alertly and held off a late charge by Moonshine Six and Shining Sky to win Friday’s Grade 1, $149,700 Dash For Cash Derby by a neck in front of 4,251 fans Friday night at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.

More than four inches of rain fell on the North Texas racetrack which was labeled “sloppy.” First Regards, who paid $16.80 to win as the 7-1 fifth wagering choice in the field of 10 three-year-old American Quarter Horses, completed the classic 440-yard distance in :21.76 to earn a Speed Index of 90.

First Regards, owned by Gene and Diane Ralston’s Ramich Farms, gave trainer Jack Brooks his second win in the race. The legendary Oklahoma-based horseman, who had four horses in the race, won the inaugural 1997 running with champion Dashing Perfection.

“She’s a small, finicky filly who probably doesn’t even weigh 900 pounds,” Brooks said of First Regards. “It’s hard to get her back to run in two weeks [after a trial]. Here at Lone Star this year, she’s just fallen into place. She really came back and ran a big race.”

First Regards was the seventh fastest qualifier to the race on Oct. 4, opening night of Lone Star Park’s 33-night “Fall Meeting of Champions.” She completed the 400-yard distance in :21.76 – the same time she ran Friday.

“She broke great tonight and ran a heck of a race,” said winning jockey Juan Vazquez, who won last year’s Dash For Cash Derby aboard Pivotal Decision. “The filly tried hard all the way to the end. A couple of horses tried to catch her but she just reached for the finish line.”

Moonshine Six nosed out Shining Sky, the AQHA’s 2001 Champion 2-year-old Gelding for second. Mild 2-1 favorite Cant Stay Gotta Run, Friday 123, Bens Rarin, Loveable Streak, Sorority Serenade, Fit to Fly and fastest-qualifier Dashin Prince Henry completed the order of finish.

Brooks also saddled Friday 123, Fit to Fly and Dashing Prince Henry. Jacky Martin, who had ridden First Regards in each of her previous 13 starts, opted to ride Dashing Prince Henry, the 6-1 fourth betting choice.

For First Regards, it was her first stakes triumph. As a 2-year-old, she finished eighth in the Grade 1 Texas Classic Futurity. Earlier this year, she was fifth in the Grade 2 Ruidoso Derby and fourth in the Grade 1 Rainbow Derby, a pair of stakes events at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico. Overall, it was the daughter of First Place Dash’s sixth win in 14 starts. The lucrative $59,880 winner’s share of the purse boosted her career earnings to $179,216.

“It’s probably the most exciting thing to happen to me in 22 years in the Quarter Horse business,” said Gene Ralston, an attorney in his hometown of Topeka, Kan. who collected the first Grade 1 win of his career. “It means a lot.”

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