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Champion Cowboys Gun Z to Make Season Debut in Ruidoso Derby Trials

2023 champion 2-year-old colt Cowboys Gun Z will make his season debut in the Ruidoso Derby [G1] trials on Sunday.

© Ruidoso Downs

RUIDOSO DOWNS, NM–MAY 22, 2024–Cowboys Gun Z, a son of Flying Cowboy 123 and last year's champion 2-year-old, will make his sophomore season debut in Sunday's 400-yard Ruidoso Derby (G1) trials at Ruidoso Downs.

Cowboys Gun Z is trained by Mike Joiner for the West Texas Racing Partners partnership. A $125,000 purchase at the 2022 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale, the Oklahoma-bred gelding is coming off of a 2-year-old campaign during which he earned $1,548,344 from six starts and won the sport's richest and most prestigious race, the 440-yard, $3-million All American Futurity (G1) at Ruidoso Downs.

Cowboys Gun Z drew post 6 and will be ridden by Agustin Silva in the second of 10 trials.

Cowboys Gun Z's seven opponents in the second heat include Asscher, a daughter of champion FDD Dynasty trained by Marc Jungers for owners Lance Bland and Jimmy Barton. Asscher has won both of her outs at Los Alamitos this season -- including the 400-yard, $404,000 Los Alamitos Oaks (G1) for sophomore fillies on March 23 -- and she was a finalist in last year's Grade 1, $1-million Rainbow Futurity at Ruidoso Downs.

Asscher drew post 4 and will be ridden by Christian Ramos.

Other prominent sophomores entered in Sunday's trials include Political Rivalry, Lets Leave, and San Lencho. A gelded son of champion KVN Corona trained by Heath Taylor for owner Keith Nellesen, Political Rivalry won two graded futurities at Los Alamitos last season, including the 350-yard, $900,000 Ed Burke Million Futurity (G1) on June 18.

Political Rivalry drew post 7 and will be ridden by Rodrigo Vallejo ini the second trial.

Lets Leave races for Barron Racing LLC and Empire Racing from the barn of trainer Eric Valenzuela. A $122,000 yearling purchase at the 2022 Los Alamitos Equine Sale, the Favorite Cartel colt is coming off of a juvenile campaign during which he banked $485,681 from five starts and won the 350-yard, $1-million Ruidoso Futurity (G1) in June.

Lets Leave drew post 5 and will be ridden by Sergio Becerra in the sixth heat.

San Lencho will be stretching out in distance off of his neck victory in a 350-yard, $23,000 allowance dash at Remington Park on April 14. Trained by Toby Keeton for owner Rogelio Marquez Jr., the homebred Apollitical Jess colt won four of five races during his juvenile season, including the 350-yard, $1.208-million Heritage Place Futurity (G1) at Remington Park, and he was a finalist in Texas' richest horse race, the 400-yard, $1.176-million Texas Classic Futurity (G1) at Lone Star Park.

San Lencho drew the rail post and will be ridden by Juan Pulido in the eighth trial.

Post time for the first Ruidoso Derby trial is set for 1 p.m. (MDT). The last trial is scheduled to go off at 4:54. The 10 fastest qualifiers will meet in the June 8, $850,000 final.


For additional information on breeding, contact Royal Vista Ranch Farm Manager—Laura Erickson—at (405) 449-7575.

Story and images courtesy of Stallion E Search.


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