Favored Silvered Eyes Attempts Dash For Cash Sweep Friday

(Thursday, October 16, 2003) - Silvered Eyes, winner of last year’s Dash For Cash Futurity and this year’s Rainbow Derby at Ruidoso, was installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite for Friday night’s Grade 1 Dash For Cash Derby, a race featuring four Grade 1 winners and two of the top-ranked Quarter Horses in the nation. The prestigious 3-year-old contest serves as a prelude to Saturday’s main event, the Grade 1 Dash For Cash Futurity, one of the meeting’s signature races with a purse of $393,120.

In addition to Silvered Eyes, the $191,300 Dash For Cash Derby also features multiple Grade 1 winner Oak Tree Special, the All American Derby winner Snow Big Deal, and last year’s Remington Park Futurity winner Outdashing.

Silvered Eyes looks to become the second horse to sweep Dash For Cash races in consecutive years. Pivotal Decision won the Futurity in 2000 and the Derby in 2001.

Jockey Jacky Martin, who rode Silvered Eyes to victory in the Futurity last year and has first-call honors on all of trainer Jack Brooks’ runners, has elected to ride the Mr Eye Opener gelding back in the final. Friday is Martin’s 49th birthday.

The legendary Brooks, who has won this race twice before, will also saddle Royal Streakin, who seeks his first win in a race other than a trial. Last year, Brooks took the Dash For Cash Derby with 7-1 shot First Regards, who sported a similar record entering the race.

Silvered Eyes ranked fourth in the most recent American Quarter Horse Association Racing Poll. Fifth in that poll is Snow Big Deal, the 7-2 third choice for Friday’s race.

Fastest qualifier Oak Tree Special, who’s already taken the Retama Park Derby and Remington Park Derby this year, is part of a Raul Rubalcava-owned entry made the second choice on the morning line at 3-1. The other half of the entry, 11th-fastest qualifier Dash On Line, nabbed a spot in the field with the defection of Shes Jess Special, who was deemed ineligible for the finals after she bled in the trials.

Fillies have won three of the six runnings of the Dash For Cash Derby, though none will make the gate this year. Geldings won the other three renewals. Eight of this year’s field are geldings. The lone exceptions are Oak Tree Special and Royal Streakin.

The presence of several big names in such a wide-open field could create some enticing overlays amongst the lesser-known but entirely capable hopefuls. In the Oct. 4 trials, all the qualifiers finished within 29-hundreths of a second of one another, the equivalent of about 1 ½ lengths.

Snow Me and Dazzling Reflection, a coupled Jim and Marilyn Helzer-owned entry, was installed at 5-1 on the morning line. The “Sleepy” Gilbreath-trained pair were the second and third-fastest qualifiers, respectively, but may be overlooked by bettors due to the lack of a stakes victory. Dazzling Reflection has now run the two best races of his career over the Lone Star Park strip.

The leading trainers in the history of this race, Brooks and Gilbreath, have two wins apiece and both saddle a pair this year.

Rounding out the field are SLM Snowman, second in the $106,400 Firecracker Derby at Delta Downs, and Natural Task, a two-time allowance winner at Sam Houston.

Here’s the complete field for Friday’s Grade 1, $191,300 Dash For Cash Derby for 3-year-olds at 440 yards, from the rail out (with jockeys and morning line odds): Dazzling Reflection (James Gonzales Jr., 5-1); Snow Big Deal (Roy Baldillez, 7-2); Snow Me (Gonzales, 5-1); Oak Tree Special (J.R. Ramirez, 3-1); SLM Snowman (Gilbert Ortiz, 15-1); Natural Task (Alvin “Bubba” Brossette, 15-1); Royal Streakin (Juan Vazquez, 12-1); Dash On Line (Raul Ramirez Jr., 3-1); Silvered Eyes (Martin, 5-1); and Outdashing (Tad Leggett, 6-1).

Preceding the Dash For Cash Derby on Friday is the Grade 3 Rheudasil Handicap, a 350-yard heat for older females featuring nine stakes winners in an accomplished field of 10. Andthebeatgoeson and Storybook Lover, third and fourth behind Snow Big Deal in the $699,000 All American Derby for Gilbreath, are the top two morning line choices at 5-2 and 4-1, respectively. Lady Tenaya, winner of last year’s Grade 1 Ford Challenge Championship on MBNA America Challenge Championships night, will open at 6-1.

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