Jose R. Espinosa’s Legende (pictured), a gelded son of Big Daddy Cartel and a $53,000 purchase at the 2020 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale, leads the qualifiers into the June 18, $165,098 Mountain Top Quarter Horse Derby (R) for state-bred 3-year-old Quarter Horses.

At Ruidoso Downs on June 4, Legende scored a wire-to-wire, 1 1/4-length victory in the fourth of six trials, as the sorrel gelding went 350 yards in :17.886 while racing against a reported 10-mph head wind. Adrian Ramos rode Legende for trainer Wes Giles.

Legende was bred by Mac and Janis Murray’s MJ Farms. Raced in two starts, including Texas and Louisiana, he has won two of eight starts and has earned $23,760.

Day Thuggin, a homebred Big Daddy Cartel gelding racing for Jason T. Giles and the second-fastest qualifier, won the first heat by 1 3/4 lengths. Racing into a reported 15-mph head wind, Day Thuggin covered 350 yards in :18.001. Adrian Ramos rode the brown gelding for trainer Wes Giles.

Day Thuggin was a finalist in last year’s New Mexico State Fair Futurity (RG3) at Albuquerque Downs. He has won two of eight races and has banked $15,837.

Third-fastest qualifier Big Crush BB ran second to Legende in the fourth trial. Ridden by Jose Enrique Ortiz for owner Box K Racing and trainer Seth Ferguson, the Big Daddy Cartel colt stopped the timer in :18.058.

Big Crush BB was bred by Ralph Vincent and Beverly Bourguet. The colt has won two of nine outs and has earned $59,415, and his record includes a third-place finish in last year’s New Mexico State Fair Futurity.

The complete list of finalists appears below:

Horse (Sex, Pedigree)OwnerBreeder (State)TrainerTime
G, Big Daddy Cartel-Alice K White by First Down Dash
Jose R. EspinosaMJ Farms (NM)Wes Giles:17.886
G, Big Daddy Cartel-Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle by Maknmoves
Jason T. GilesJason T. Giles (NM)Wes Giles:18.001
C, Big Daddy Cartel-Eagles First Down by One Famous Eagle
Box K RacingRalph Vincent and Beverly Bourguet (NM)Seth Ferguson:18.058
G, First Moonflash-Shez Classy Now by Now I Know
Bob McClure and Sissie McClureBob & Sissie McClure (NM)Fred Danley:18.088
G, Chicks Regard-Riverside Flash by First Moonflash
Robert M. Driggers and Ben Lee IveyIvey Cattle Co. (NM)Wes Giles:18.098
G, Big Daddy Cartel-Physical Touch by Heza Fast Dash
William R. Robertson and Mary RobertsonWilliam or Mary Robertson (NM)Jackie Riddle:18.115
F, Big Daddy Cartel-First Prize Amanda by DMNV Mountable
Ezra Elton LeeEzra Elton Lee (NM)Wes Giles:18.134
G, First Moonflash-Call Me 333 by One Sweet Jess
LMG Racing Inc.LMG Racing Inc. (NM)Mike Joiner:18.166
F, Big Daddy Cartel-Wish You Had One To by Stel Corona
Julie A. Schoenhofer and Maricela VasquezMJ Farms (NM)Eric Valenzuela:18.178
C, First Moonflash-Special Dark Ivory by Ivory James
Leslie A. Amestoy and Pierre AmestoyMike Abraham and Grant Farms (NM)James Lackey:18.181