Apoca­lyp­ti­cal Jess, Hot­step­per bring ex­cite­ment to Fu­tu­rity and Derby

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - News - By Mary Ram­pellini Fol­low Mary Ram­pellini on Twit­ter @DRFRam­pellini

All Amer­i­can Fu­tu­rity win­ner Apoca­lyp­ti­cal Jess and All Amer­i­can Derby win­ner Hot­step­per will be in ac­tion on Satur­day night’s clos­ing card at Lone Star Park. The top-ranked Quar­ter Horses will start, re­spec­tively, in the Grade 1, $1 mil­lion Texas Clas­sic Fu­tu­rity and the Grade 1, $375,610 Texas Clas­sic Derby.

“To have th­ese two horses rac­ing on the same card, it’s quite a feat,” Lone Star di­rec­tor of rac­ing Bart Lang said.

“It’s a great way to end the meet. We’re ex­pect­ing a big night. Peo­ple re­ally turned out for the Dash For Cash fi­nal [in Oc­to­ber]. At­ten­dance was through the roof for that. We ex­pect a sim­i­lar night for this, too, es­pe­cially with those two horses.”

Apoca­lyp­ti­cal Jess will seek to win his fourth straight race when he runs in the Texas Clas­sic Fu­tu­rity, a 400-yard fi­nale that dou­bles as the state’s rich­est race. Trainer Blane Wood has tar­geted the Texas Clas­sic for Apoca­lyp­ti­cal Jess since his win in the $3 mil­lion All Amer­i­can Fu­tu­rity on Sept. 3 at Rui­doso Downs.

Apoca­lyp­ti­cal Jess took his Texas Clas­sic trial by a half-length Oct. 20, lead­ing through­out in the mud at Lone Star. It was his third straight vic­tory in a streak that be­gan when he won his maiden by 3 1/4 lengths in his trial for the All Amer­i­can on Aug. 17 at Rui­doso. Over­all, the horse owned by Bill T. Rob­bins is 3 for 5 for earn­ings of $1.5 mil­lion and is a chief con­tender for cham­pion 2-year-old of 2018.

Ricky Ramirez has been the reg­u­lar rider for Apoca­lyp­ti­cal Jess and he will be aboard Satur­day, when the horse breaks from post 6.

Hot­step­per was part of the Texas Clas­sic se­ries last year, when he ran sec­ond by a neck in the Fu­tu­rity. He’s back to lead the field in the Texas Clas­sic Derby – which will be run at 440 yards.

Hot­step­per ran the big­gest race of his ca­reer at that dis­tance in Septem­ber, when he won the $1.2 mil­lion All Amer­i­can Derby on Sept. 2 at Rui­doso Downs. From there, trainer Sleepy Gil­breath set the Texas Clas­sic Derby as an ob­jec­tive for the horse. He qual­i­fied dur­ing the Oct. 19 tri­als, when he fin­ished third by a neck in the slop. Hot­step­per will break from the rail un­der reg­u­lar rider Cody Jensen.

◗ Turf pub­li­cist Martha Claussen will join Rick Lee of Lone Star Park for a 5:30 p.m. sem­i­nar on-site Satur­day at Lone Star.

◗ Lone Star will re­main open for train­ing through mid-De­cem­ber, Lang said.

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