Sixes Royal Light Favorite in Wide-Open Dash For Cash Futurity

(Thursday, October 16, 2003) - The immensely talented 2-year-old Sixes Royal has been the victim of his own unpredictable behavior on more than one occasion, including his last stakes attempt in Quarter Horse racing’s biggest event. In the All American Futurity, with more than $1.8 million in purse money up for grabs, the gray colt broke outwards and had to play catch up to earn a solid fourth. Redemption could come Saturday, when Sixes Royal will likely go off favored in the Grade 1 Dash For Cash Futurity at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Sixes Royal drew the outside Post No. 10 and was installed as the 7-2 morning line favorite for the $393,120 contest at 400 yards. Jacky Martin will ride Sixes Royal for trainer Frankie Martinez, a significant call considering the jockey likely had his choice of three horses he rode in the trials, including two for leading trainer Jack Brooks.

Sixes Royal broke outwards in his last two starts, the All American and the Oct. 4 trial race, which he managed to win with a serious late rush.

“He was just a little bit hesitant on the gate,” Martin said of the trial. “But he came on and ran a big race on the end of it. I think he might’ve been looking at the JumboTron a little bit, because he was really watching it in the post parade. But he was still running. For him to run that kind of time, he was really running.”

Sixes Royal qualified with a time of :19.876, second-fastest of 115 hopefuls that night. He won that trial by a nose in the only race to produce three starters for the final.

The All American was the only previous stakes event Sixes Royal qualified for. In a trial for the Grade 1 Rainbow Futurity in July, the colt led by a head with less than 100 yards to run, but jumped a shadow nearing the finish line.

Even if Sixes Royal runs a flawless race Saturday, he will have his work cut out for him in a very deep and evenly-matched field. Half of the runners were projected at odds of 6-1 or lower on the morning line.

Second choice at 4-1 went to fastest qualifier Hadtobenuts, who burned up the Lone Star Park strip two weeks ago in :19.843, more than three-tenths of a second ahead of his competition.

“All I wanted him to do was just get away with them,” trainer Heath Taylor said. “I’ve had just the utmost amount of confidence in the horse from the first day.”

Hadtobenuts will be ridden by Gilbert Ortiz, who won the inaugural running of this race in 1997 aboard My Love Wont Wait.

Next on the morning line at 5-1 is the Brooks-trained Will to Win 123, an easy three-quarter-length winner of his trial race. Brooks has won every annual Grade 1 Quarter Horse event at Lone Star Park except the Dash For Cash Futurity.

The legendary conditioner will also saddle 12-1 shot Overlook Easy, a gray gelding who will break from the rail.

Other finalists expected to be popular with the bettors include Ima Perry Girl, 6-1 on the morning line, second in the Grade 1 Sam Houston Futurity and the lone filly in the field; I Make Em Shake, 6-1, winner of the Restricted Grade 2 Texas Quarter Horse Association Sires’ Cup Futurity; and Jess Rapid, 8-1, second in the Grade 1 Ruidoso Futurity.

The field is rounded out by Counting Sheep, 10-1, second in three quality stakes this year; Executive Menace, fifth in the Rainbow Futurity; and SS Bug N Bubba, 15-1, a Special Elan gelding who would break his maiden with a win in this race.

The feature race will be preceded by the $43,680 Dash For Cash Juvenile Stakes, featuring the 11th through 20th-fastest 2-year-olds from the Dash For Cash Futurity trials. First Kool Baby, the regally-bred filly by all-time leading sire First Down Dash out of record-holding 25-time stakes winner Kool Kue Baby, is the 7-2 morning line favorite. First Kool Baby is undefeated in four starts, including the Firecracker Futurity at Delta Downs.

The Juvenile Stakes also includes such top runners as All American Futurity fifth and sixth place finishers, Anacacho and Fast Movin Snow, as well as Texas Quarter Horse Association Futurity winner Silver Ease.

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