A total of 29 three-year-olds were spread over four trials to determine the final field for the 22nd running of the $108,591 Quarter Horse Racing Association of Indiana (QHRAI) Stallion Service Auction (SSA) Derby on Sept. 4.
WH Imastreakinbeach (photo) turned in the quickest time Saturday at Indiana Grand in Shelbyville, Indiana, of 19.848 seconds to top the list of 10 qualifiers.
Starting from post two in the third trial, WH Imastreakinbeach and jockey Jose Ruiz got out of the gate quickly and led the way to the wire in the 400-yard dash. Flyn and Berkley Packer finished second over Stone Lake and L.D. Martinez.
WH Imastreakinbeach is owned by Thomas Wylie. The Escondido Beach filly earned her second win in her fifth start of 2021. She is nearing $100,000 in career earnings for trainer Erin Thompson, who is Indiana Grand’s all-time leading female trainer for Quarter Horses.
The second fastest SSA Derby trial winner of the day was Jess Bringin It On and Cesar Esqueda. Starting from post seven, the Jess Zoomin filly was close throughout but it was the final few strides that made the difference as she moved up just in time to grab the win by a head over Fire the Cartel and German Rodriguez. Up Town J Ray and Rolando Pina finished third.
Jess Bringin It On is owned by Julia Rae and Tyler Martin. Paul Martin trains the filly who is three for six this season.
Indiana-sired standout Beach Blast kicked off the trials with a win, posting his fourth straight victory. Ridden by Sammy Mendez, the Escondido Beach gelding was in high gear from the start, turning away all challengers for the win in 20.011, the third fastest time of the day. WRs Raise the Bar and German Rodriguez and Inseperable Blood and Berkley Packer completed the Randy Smith-trained trifecta in the race.
Beach Blast is owned by Keith Bode and Brock Hutchinson. He is seven for 11 lifetime and is closing in on $300,000 in career earnings.
“He’s just a nice horse,” said Smith, who is Indiana Grand’s all-time leading Quarter Horse trainer. “We just hope we can keep him sound because he runs so hard every time. We’ll do all we can do to get him ready and bring him back for the final.”
The final trial winner was WRs Famous Molly and Mendez, also from the Smith barn, who just missed the cut for the final.
The entire field for the QHRAI SSA Derby, in order of time with jockey, includes: WH Imastreakinbeach (Jose Ruiz, 19.848); Jess Bringin It On (Cesar Esqueda, 20.005); Beach Blast (Sammy Mendez, 20.011); Fire the Cartel (German Rodriguez, 20.020); Flyn (Berkley Packer, 20.056); Stone Lake (L.D. Martinez, 20.058); Up Town J Ray (Rolando Pina, 20.086); WRs Raise the Bar (German Rodriguez, 20.100); Cartel Creek (Sammy Mendez, 20.111); and AA Storm The Mozoomo (Rolando Pina, 20.112).
Smith will saddle four in the final (Beach Blast, Fire the Cartel, WRs Raise the Bar, Cartel Creek) while Tony Cunningham will saddle three (Stone Lake, Up Town J Ray, AA Storm the Mozoomo).