Ausual Suspect Wins All American
Sep. 04, 2001
%mlink(STRY:; PHOTO:NMJS102-090301; AUDIO:%)
RUIDOSO DOWNS, N.M. (AP) _ Ausual Suspect, a timid colt until he gets to the track, overcame a sluggish start Monday to win the $2 million All American Futurity, the world's richest quarter horse race.
Ausual Suspect was 10th and last 100 yards into the 440-yard sprint. With jockey Dennis Means whipping him left-handed, the brown colt found his stride, then veered slightly toward the outside rail as he rushed up to join the field. Full of run as the field neared the wire, Ausual Suspect overtook stablemate Tres Seis in the final jumps and won by a neck.
Ms Wandas Fortune finished third and Grand Coeur, who had the top qualifying time in last month's trials, was fourth.
The win was worth $1 million to owners Charlie and Debbie Therwanger of Lubbock, Texas. The couple also won the 1992 All American with Dash Thru Traffic.
The 1-2 finish was the second win for trainer John Bassett in the last three years. Bassett's first All American win was in 1999 with A Delightful Dasher.
``He's a little timid, but when this horse gets on the lead he gets a monster heart in him,'' Bassett said.
Tres Seis had a length lead and looked like winner with about 50 yards to go, but couldn't hold off Ausual Suspect and Means, who waved his whip in the air just after crossing the finish line.
``I was a little surprised he ran him down, because Tres Seis is an iron horse,'' Bassett said.
Means said Ausual Suspect lost ground early in the race because he had trouble getting hold of the track.
``He cupped out, he missed the ground a little bit, but 20 yards or so from there he gathered them up and I opened up on them pretty good,'' said Means, who was riding in his first All American.
World renowned thoroughbred trainer Bob Baffert, a close friend of Bassett since the days when both trained quarter horses in Arizona, was on hand to watch the race.
``It was a lot of fun being here watching my buddy run 1-2,'' Baffert said. ``I was hoping it was a dead heat so he could say he won it twice.''
Bassett had three horses in the futurity. His third entry, Doc Colby, finished seventh.
Tres Seis, owned by Gwendolyn Eaves of Midland, Texas, earned $336,530 for the runner-up finish. Ms Wandas Fortune, owned by Arnold Trahan of Abbeville, La., earned $144,227.
Ausual Suspect covered the 440 yards in 21.542 seconds and paid $20.60, $9 and $5.40. Tres Seis paid $6 and $4.40 and Ms Wandas Fortune returned $4.80 to show.
Completing the order of finish were: Spittin And Splittin, Love That Chapelle, Doc Colby, Phenomenal Fantasy, Rdustys Chick and Almost Flyin.