Arapahoe Park in Aurora, Colorado, will host the richest day of horse racing in the history of the Rocky Mountain State on Sunday, August 16, the final day of the track’s 2015 live season.
There will be two $100,000 Thoroughbred stakes races on the same card for the first time in track history—the Arapahoe Park Classic for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles and the Gold Rush Futurity for 2-year-olds at six furlongs. Quarter Horses will take the spotlight in the $203,000 Mile High Futurity for 2-year-olds at 400 yards. Some of the best Arabians in the United States will compete in the Grade 3, $25,000 COBRA Classic Sponsored by Crow Valley Ranch for 3 year-olds and up at 1 1/4 miles. With the undercard races, total purses for Sunday’s nine-race card beginning at 1 p.m. MDT will be $500,000.
FROM RAGS TO RICHES
In the $100,000 Arapahoe Park Classic, Lady Jila continues her fairy tale quest from competing at racing’s lowest level in $3,000 claiming contests to the biggest race of her career in one of Arapahoe Park’s richest stakes for Thoroughbreds. The Classic will be her 50th lifetime start. The 8-year-old mare owned by breeder Mike Barro, trained by Sharlot Martinez, and ridden by Mike Ziegler is on a seven-race win streak at Arapahoe Park, five of those victories coming in stakes.
“Win or lose, she is the greatest horse I’ve ever owned in my 20 years of owning Thoroughbred racehorses, and to think she was a backyard homebred that we almost gave up on because she was being outworked by her stablemates,” Barro said.
Added Martinez: “She gets better with age, like a fine wine gets better with age. She’s in her prime right now. She just gets better. We’re probably never going to get a chance of this magnitude again. She’s game. She’s still got it. Let’s go for it.”
Martinez will also saddle Magical Twist, the runner-up in last year’s Arapahoe Park Classic, in this year’s field of 10.
In Sunday’s other $100,000 Thoroughbred stakes race, the Gold Rush Futurity, trainer Kenneth “Butch” Gleason will send out the Arapahoe-based duo of R Dub and Dugaboy Brown, who were first and second, respectively, in the CTBA Futurity and first and third, respectively, in the Silver Cup Futurity at the track.
The field of 12 has also attracted stakes horses from outside Colorado—Dubdubwatson (California), Royally Divine (Iowa), and Texas Chrome (Texas).
“I like my chances,” Gleason said. “I’m sure they’ll bring some runners, but we’re here and training here, and we’ll run pretty well. We’re at home.”