First Cucuy fastest in Greene Derby Trials
First Cucuy and jockey Jose Davila turned in the fastest trial to lead the way to the $75,000 final of the Harley Greene Derby set for Saturday, June 3. The race will be part of the first of six all-Quarter Horse racing nights at Indiana Grand for the 120-day racing season. First Cucuy topped the list with a time of :17.784 seconds in the second of three $5,000 trials Friday, May 19 to set up the final.
It was all First Cucuy and Jose Davila from start to finish. The duo broke from the inside post one and had a clear path the entire way to reach the finish line in an easy three-quarter length win over First Special Jess and L.D. Martinez. Kid Cartel and Cesar Esqueda finished third.
First Cucuy, a surprise winner, paid $13.00, $7.00, $3.60 across the board. The three-year-old son of Jazz Be First is owned and trained by Sacramento Chavez.
“I trained this horse (First Cucuy) last year for an owner and he decided to sell all of his horses,” said Chavez. “I wanted to keep this one so I bought him myself. We took him to Oklahoma this winter and he got a little sore and couldn’t race, but I gave him plenty of time to get well before today’s race. That was my only concern is that he might not be ready. But I was very pleased with him today.”
First Cucuy earned his second career win in 10 career starts. He will head into the Greene Derby final with more than $25,000 on his card.
In the first trial, Powerfull Stone and Cesar Esqueda rallied from the outside to snag the win by a nose in a time of :18.201 seconds. Keen Liaison and Ronald Hisby finished a close second on the outside over Dreamers Liaison and Cristian Esqueda on the inside for third in the tight three-horse photo.
“I thought she (Powerfull Stone) ran pretty good today,” said Esqueda. “She broke strong and kept going.”
Owned and trained by Tony Cunningham, Powerfull Stone was a $7,000 yearling purchase out of the Speed Sale in 2015. The three-year-old daughter of Brimmstone won the $36,000 Speed Sale Stakes last summer before ending the season with an impressive two-length victory for Cunningham in allowance competition. The start in the Greene trials was her first outing since October.
“This is her first start back after knee surgery,” said Cunningham, who earned Leading Quarter Horse Owner honors in 2016 at Indiana Grand. “I didn’t run her in the Futurity at the end of the season last year but ran her in an allowance the same night and she won easy.”
In the final trial of the night, QHRAI High Point Two-Year-Old Colt of the Year HH Kentucky Krome headlined the field and didn’t disappoint, rallying to the win by a neck over Sixes Royal Opener and Harold Collins. Hez So Rare and Cesar Esqueda rounded out the top three.
Trained by Paul Martin, HH Kentucky Krome completed the 350 yard dash in a time of :18.017 seconds with Jockey Oscar Macias aboard for the first time. It was the son of La Jollaroid’s third career win in nine career starts and the first career win for Macias. The Mexican-born jockey is spending his first year at Indiana Grand and most recently rode in Colorado before relocating to Indiana.
The list of qualifiers for the Greene Derby final, with jockey
and time, includes: First Cucuy (Jose Davila, :17.784); First Special Jess (L. D. Martinez, :17.900); Kid Cartel (Cesar Esqueda, :17.926); HH Kentucky Krome (Oscar Macias, :18.017); Sixes Royal Opener (Harold Collins, :18.059); Sixes Turn (Reynier Arrieta, :18.087); Powerfull Stone (Cesar Esqueda, :18.201); Keen Liaison (Ronald Hisby, :18.211); Dreamers Liaison (Cristian Esqueda, :18.261); and Hez So Rare (Cesar Esqueda, :18.288). Of the 10 finalist, Cunningham will saddle three for the final (Kid Cartel, Powerfull Stone and Hez So Rare). Trainer Erin Thompson will have two in the final (Sixes Turn and Keen Liaison).
The six all-Quarter Horse racing nights of 2017, all Saturday nights, includes June 3, July 8, Aug. 12, Sept. 16, Oct. 7 and Oct. 21.