Eyesa Special made a name for himself on Labor Day when he won the All American Futurity (G1), American Quarter Horse racing's richest race, in track-record time. So for an encore, the colt shattered the track and stakes record with a victory in Saturday's $911,311 Texas Classic Futurity (G1) at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie.
Under Jacky Martin, Eyesa Special covered 400 yards in :19.48 and defeated fastest qualifier and runner-up Pivotal Decision by a neck. The colt shaved 15/100ths of a second off of the track record established by stakes winners My Love Wont Wait in 1997 and Pack Of Memories in '99, and also broke champion Mr Jess Perry's stakes record of :19.66 established in 1994.
"He broke good the first jump (from the gate), and then his back foot slipped a little,” said Martin, who became only the second jockey in American Quarter Horse history to surpass $3 million in earnings in a single year."When he slipped, Pivotal Decision probably got a length in front of me or maybe even more. And Dashin Bye probably had me a good half (length) to three-quarters.
"He really had to bear down the last 50 yards before he got by them," added Martin. "I mean, he really ran big and ran hard. I thought he was going to win easier than he did, but it took him a long time for him to get by them because they weren’t coming back to him."
Trained by Jack Brooks, Eyesa Special was acquired as a yearling by owners Jim Pitts, Terry Bell and Homer Hill for $15,000, and it hasn't taken the colt long to establish himself as one of the sport's most accomplished sprinters. His Texas Classic victory was his fifth win in six starts and pushed his earnings to $1,373,519.
Winning the 440-yard All American in :21.097, Eyesa Special broke by nine/100ths of a second the stakes record held by world
champion Winalota Cash and ran the fastest quarter-mile by a two-year-old in history. All season, the colt has battled a foot problem that has forced Brooks to train him using glue-on shoes.
"This might have been his best race – better than the All American," said Brooks. "You know, I always point 'em to the All American, but considering what we've been through with him and his foot, this was something.
"In all my years, I’ve never seen a field this tough – and the field lived up to all the hype," added the trainer. "He ran his heart out. He was a little dull in his trial, but he came back sharp. He didn’t break all that good, so for him to do what he did tonight was something special
against this kind."
This year's Texas Classic Futurity, American Quarter Horse racing's third-richest stakes behind the All American and Los Alamitos Million (G1) futurities, featured 10 two-year-olds with combined earnings of $2,045,845, seven graded stakes winners and two track record holders. Pivotal Decision was coming off of a victory over the track in the October 21 Dash For Cash Futurity (G1). Third-place
finisher Dashin Bye, one of the few non-stakes winners in the field, broke Lone Star Park's 350-yard record when he won an October 20 allowance sprint by two lengths in :17.42.
The 9-5 favorite, Eyesa Special returned a $5.80 win mutuel and teamed with 5-2 second choice Pivotal Decision for ($2) exacta and
quinella dividends of $14.80 and $7, respectively. Dashin Bye completed a $64.20 ($2) trifecta. The superfecta, with 62-1 longshot Eyesaflash running fourth, returned $1,296.40 for $2. Baby Runaway ran fifth, and was followed by Leading Diva, Hemps Classic Dash, Rainbow Futurity (G1) winner Feature Mr Jess, Streakin Down Chic and Grade 2 winner Dust Em Dusty.
"This is one of the better two-year-olds I've ever ridden," said Martin, who has won the All American Futurity a record seven times.
"Ninety-nine percent of them would've gotten beat tonight. But for him to bear down and run like he did, he's a great horse."
Brooks indicated that Eyesa Special would return to race in 2001, adding, "I’ll probably start him back at Remington Park, take him to Ruidoso and then back here again to Lone Star next fall."
Also on Saturday, Jacque Tanton's JTS So True sprinted to a head victory over You Light Up My Life in the $50,000 Texas Classic Futurity First Consolation. Ridden by Roy Baldillez for trainer Dwayne "Sleepy" Gilbreath, the gelding by Holland Ease covered 400 yards in :19.82 as the 11-10 favorite. In the $25,000 second consolation, Jerry Whittle's Shotgun Six upset Grade 1 winner Coastal Memories
by a neck in :19.84. Five horses were scratched from the second consolation.