Apocalyptical Jess, Hotstepper bring excitement to Futurity and Derby
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.