Page 26 - NMHBASummer2019
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                                  Ruidoso Downs owners Stan Sigman, Johnny Trotter and Narciso “Chicho” Flores saw a need for more races tailored toward fillies and mares. They began by creating the 2020 All American Oaks for fillies nominated to the All American Derby and the Rainbow Oaks, which is a direct spin-off from the Rainbow Derby, for 3-year-old fillies.
                         Johnny Trotter Narciso “Chicho” Flores Stan Sigman
Creation of the two filly races was a bold, forward-thinking move for the entire industry.
“Few three-year-old fillies can compete
with males at a quarter-mile in late summer,” True explained. “That’s the reason we added
the two races, but there’s also a broader picture. Specifically, we wanted to energize the incentives for Quarter Horse fillies. We thought the best way to do that was to put in place a high quality stakes schedule. We’re hoping it catches on in other states as well, and becomes national in scope.”
The focus wasn’t “just” to put two new
races on the schedule. There was also a deeper objective, which was to assist owners and breeders. The overall racing industry has needed this kind of thinking for a long time; a type of thinking that creates added value, while widening choices and options, for broad groups of owners.
What direct benefits should these two new filly venues have for fillies who enter sale rings across the country? In theory, buyers should be willing to pay more if what they’re buying has the opportunity to win more money. Hopefully, that will also be the reality but we need a little time to determine the answer.
“We’re trying to expand the options for fillies,” continued True. “We’re trying to give them a lucrative program with more depth than ever before. In line with that, we’re also adding the Dash For Speed and the Rita Danley stakes.
“There is a certain group of people out there who attend sales looking specifically for fillies. That’s good. Now, those people can look in a different direction from the All American, if they want. They can think, instead, in terms of a $700- or $800,000 race in the two Oaks.
“I think it’s been in the last 10 to 15 years that we’ve really begun seeing a separation of the fillies from the colts and geldings. A separation means a blank spot is created, and it’s the fillies who suffer from that blank spot. Hopefully, we’ve begun filling it.”
Looking at recent numbers gives credence
to what True said about the emerging drawing off of fillies from the males. The last time a filly won the All American Derby was 1994. Fillies have taken home the check from the Derby only 11 times from 45 runnings.
Heartswideopen won the Rainbow Derby in 2008. She also won the Ruidoso Derby that same season, making her the only filly to win those two races in recent years.
Dash For Speed, a filly owned by Tom Bradbury and Bob Blakeman, won all three derbies in 1988. No other filly wears that particular triple crown.
True and the three Ruidoso Downs owners were open about their desire for other tracks to follow their lead in creating more money-making opportunities for fillies. They believe firmly that
making these additions across the country will strengthen the entire industry. They didn’t need to wait long before things began happening.
“I was at Los Alamitos when Doc Allred came up to me and told me how much he liked what we were doing with our filly program,” said True. “Doc doesn’t get effusive about very many things, but he was really enthused about this.”
Allred followed up with action when he made a February, 2019 announcement about the “enhancement” of the 2020 La Primera Del Ano Derby.
The La Primera Del Ano debuted at Los Alamitos in 1978 and has remained a profitable fixture. That February announcement however, included a name change to the Los Alamitos Oaks for three-year-old fillies. The 400-yarder will have $125,000 added, $350,000 guaranteed and a final, projected purse of more than $400,000. The distance is set at 400-yards, with trials on March 7 and finals on March 28. These are the traditional dates for the La Primera.
There’s always been a close connection between Allred and Ruidoso but, according to True, he had no idea Allred would make this move.
“Los Alamitos already had a good filly and mare program,” he noted.
The program he’s referring to includes the G1 Charger Bar, the G1 Mildred Vessels, the G3 Las Damas Handicap, Miss Princess, Denim N
 24 New Mexico Horse Breeder

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