Passenger Train may be a new addition to the Tony Cunningham Stable, but her performed like an old pro in the trials for the Indiana Grand QHRAI Derby. The sophomore son of Freighttrain B scored the impressive win by three-quarters of a length in the first of four trials for the event.
Starting from post four, Jockey L.D. Martinez wasn’t the quickest out of the gate, but he immediately rebounded to get himself in contention during the 400-yard dash. SBM Soulja Boy and Cristian Reyes led the way early on before Passenger Train found his best stride and rallied home the winner in :20.602 seconds. SBM Soulja Boy finished second in a tight photo over Justafamilytradition and Shanley Jackson for third.
Owned by C.W. Mullenix, Passenger Train picked up his first win in four starts for 2020. It was his first-ever trip down Indiana Grand’s track.
“We got him (Passenger Train) a couple of weeks ago and he’s been training super,” said Cunningham, who is the track’s defending Leading Quarter Horse Owner. “Charlie (Mullenix) wanted to try him in the Derby. We didn’t know about the 400 yards, but it seems like that might be his spot. He was really strong at the finish.”
Cunningham and Martinez connected in the second trial for another win with MTs Sixty Six Cartel. The daughter of Carters Cartel had a clean break and was in contention the entire way, striding out for a comfortable win at odds of 26-1. Shes Relentlesswagon and Sergio Ramirez finished second over My Pillow and Giovani Vazquez-Gomez for third. Owned and trained by Cunningham, MTs Sixty Six Cartel completed the sprint in :20.269 seconds. The Kansas bred paid $55.60 to win in the trial.
In a dominant effort, WRs Apolliticalivory and Shanley Jackson cruised home winners in the quickest trial of the night, scoring the win in :19.936 seconds. The Apollitical Blood gelding had his mind on racing from the start and kept his focus to the finish, winning by two and three-quarter lengths over Apollitical B Beast and Ramirez for second followed by Flyweight Carver and Edgar Diaz for third.
WRs Apolliticalivory, born and raised from the Williams Racing Stable in Western Kentucky, won three of five starts last year at two. He is trained by Randy Smith, who holds numerous records and is the all-time leading trainer in Indiana.
First Hero V and Edgar Diaz scored the win in the final trial of the day, stopping the timer in :20.230 seconds. The sorrel son of One Valiant Hero won by open lengths over Corazon de Cartel and Jonathan Dominguez and Katapult and Victor Olivo, who finished second and third, respectively, following a placing.
First Hero V is owned by Arturo Lechuga Jr. and trained by Claudio Barraza. It was the first start of 2020 for the colt, who won two races over Indiana’s track last year at two.
The top 10 qualifiers for the Indiana Grand QHRAI Derby, with jockey and time, include: WRs Apolliticalivory (Shanley Jackson, :19.936); First Hero V (Edgar Diaz, :20.230); MTs Sixty Six Cartel (L. D. Martinez, :20.269); Shes Relentlesswagon (Sergio Ramirez, :20.347); My Pillow (Giovani Vazquez-Gomez, :20.357); Apollitical B Beast (Sergio Ramirez, :20.406); Flyweight Carver (Edgar Diaz, :20.455); Fast Soldier (Cesar Esqueda, :20.516); Passenger Train (L.D. Martinez, :20.602); and A Ruby Corona (German Rodriguez, :20.639). Cunningham will saddle three for the final, including MTs Sixty Six Cartel, Passenger Train and A Ruby Corona while Trainer Ricardo Martinez will saddle two, Shes Relentlesswagon and Apollitical B Beast.
The $75,000 Indiana Grand QHRAI Derby Final will be held during the first of four all-Quarter Horse racing days in 2020. Set for Saturday, July 4, the race will be joined by trials for the Jaguar Rocket, the Gordon Mobley Futurity and the Heartland Futurity. Martha Claussen, nationally known Quarter Horse racing analyst, will be trackside to help with the day’s festivities.
Live racing continues through Wednesday, Nov. 18 with action held Monday through Thursday beginning at 2:20 p.m. Four Saturday programs are slated for all-Quarter Horse days with a preliminary first post set at 2:20 p.m. July 4, Aug. 8, Oct. 23 and Oct. 24. Continuing in line with Governor Holcomb’s plan to return to full operations for businesses in the state of Indiana, no spectators are allowed at this time.