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Brazos Valley residents race quarter horses in industry’s most prestigious races

“The ultimate in my mind was always to be able to breed, raise, race, and win the All American.”
Published: Sep. 5, 2021 at 9:18 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - In quarter horse racing, the All American Futurity and All American Derby at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico are the most esteemed races in the industry. Brazos Valley residents Pete Scarmardo and Jerry Windham both have horses that have qualified for the finals of those races.

For Pete Scarmardo, owner and founder of Scarmardo Cattle Co. in Caldwell, this is his first time to qualify for the All American Futurity.

“We are just fortunate we had a little luck,” said Scarmardo.

His horse Jess Dealin, a 2-year-old filly will race on Monday. She qualified with the 5th best qualifying time of the futurity trials on the second day.

“It took all five hours and forty minutes from the time she ran to the time they ran the last race for us to finally see we did make it into the big race,” said Scarmardo.

According to Scarmardo, he has always known this horse is special.

“I’ve always liked this filly,” said Scarmardo. “I like the way she traveled. I like the way she moved. I liked her attitude being around her and you know I always thought this one could be one of the better horses that I have raised.”

The All-American Futurity is a Grade 1 stakes race, and Jess Dealin will run against nine other 2-year-old horses. It’s also the world’s richest quarter horse race with a purse of $3 million, according to Ruidoso Downs Race Track and Casino.

However, winning the race is not exactly easy, according to Jerry Windham of College Station.

“Throughout the years it’s been something that all quarter horse people are trying to win the race,” said Windham.

Windham has won it twice with horses Stolis Winner and Teller Cartel.

“The ultimate in my mind was always to be able to breed, raise, race, and win the All American.”

His advice for Scamardo is simple.

“Keep the faith really because you may have to run in it several times before you have a horse capable of winning,” said Windham.

Win or lose, Windham believes Scamardo has a bright future. “He has done really well in Texas in the past few years and he is going to do well out there,” said Windham. “It may not be this year. It may be, but in the future, he will.”

This Labor Day weekend, Windham does not have a horse running in the All American Futurity, but does have a horse in the All American Derby, which is a Grade 1 stakes race for 3-year-old quarter horses on Sunday. The winner of this race will take home a purse of $2.8 million and an invitation to race at Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos Race Course in Southern California, according to Ruidoso Downs Race Track and Casino.

His horse Mister Illusion also faces a field of 10 horses, which are considered to be the best of the best.

For Windham, he said winning the derby would be a huge accomplishment as he has run horses in the race but never won.

You can watch the All American Futurity on The Cowboy Channel at 5:30 p.m. on Monday.

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