The $175,000 Retama Park Derby will Also be Contested on the Card

SELMA, TX- Retama Race Park ran 14 trials for the richest race of the 2023 Quarter Horse meet, the $700,000 TQHA Sale Futurity(RG1) on July 21 and 22. The purse is the highest in the history of the Selma, Texas racetrack, since it opened in 1995.

The five top qualifiers from each night will return this Saturday, August 5. Post time for the ten-race card is 6:15 pm (Central) with each of the connections hoping that their 2-year-old will prevail in the 350-yard final.


Juan Diaz, Jr. won last year’s TQHA Sale Futurity with Bye Corona Bye and qualified six for this year’s edition.. 


“I am fortunate to have great owners, who have purchased really good horses,” he said. “It’s been a great year for our team, and we hope for good finishes from each of our runners.”


Jockey Jose Herbert was aboard the top two qualifiers Carlos Ponce's Unseen NME and Dollar Bill owned by Celeste Martinez. Herbert opted to ride Dollar Bill, who ran second in the $339,000 Louisiana Downs Futurity and won four races this year, including the $51,000 Sam Houston Juvenile. The gelded son of Kiss My Hocks was bred by Tyler and Naia Graham.


Diaz had no problems finding additional riders to pilot his qualifiers and Bryan Candanosa, couldn’t be more excited in picking up  Unseen NME. Also sired by Kiss My Hocks, he entered the trials as a maiden, running, but not qualifying for the Louisiana and Sam Houston Futurity. In the first night of the TQHA Sale Futurity trials, he dazzled with his 41/2 length victory in :17.621 seconds, which held throughout the evening.


Bred by Windy Acres Stables, Unseen NME sold for $26,000 at last year's TQHA Yearling Sale and would pick up a winner’s check of $311,388 if he claimed his second career tally in Saturday night’s final.


Candanosa, 22, is one of the young, up and coming riders, who began in Texas and Louisiana and divide their time between the Lone Star state and Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico. He won the 2020 TQHA Sale Futurity with Cruzin Cartel and looks forward to piloting Unseen Nme, the 9-5 favorite.


“I haven’t ridden him, but have watched each of his races,” said Candanosa. “I remember how nervous I was when I rode in my first big futurity. As a rider, we are supposed to treat these finals like it’s just another race, but it’s not easy! I am looking forward to Saturday and hope I can win my second TQHA Sale Futurity.”



There is tremendous pride from each of the breeders who qualified for the rich futurity, including Tyler Graham who stands Kiss My Hocks. He is the sire of three finalists, Unseen NME, Dollar Bill and Hock It Is. This is the fifth crop by the 2014 AQHA 2-year-old Champion Colt and an exciting first for Graham.


“This is the first time we qualified three in a final,” he stated. “Unseen MNE is a late bloomer, who put it together at the right time. Dollar Bill was immature in the beginning but is one of the best movers and gets better each time.”


Of course, there might be a little bit of a surprise in Hock It Is, who will make just his third lifetime start with Jose Ivan Martinez aboard the colt, who is 15-1 on the morning line.


“We were pleasantly surprised with his trial win,” added Graham. “He was a good yearling, but we didn’t expect him to do as well as he did. Each horse matures differently; that’s what makes these finals so exciting!”


The TQHA Futurity will run as the tenth race on the Saturday night card, with an approximate post time of 10:18 pm (Central). Here is the field, in post-position order with jockeys and morning line odds:


1. Hollywoode Raul Ramirez, Jr.), 12-1

2. Chilitas (Jorge Garcia), 15-1

3. Live Drive Dash (Nestor Duran), 20-1

4. Hardtotempt (Agustin Silva), 12-1

5. Hock It Is (Jose Martinez), 15-1

6. Unseen NME (Bryan Candanosa), 9-5

7. Dollar Bill (Jose Herbert), 7-2

8. Gotagogh (Juan Pulido), 6-1

9. Jessa Tempting You ((Ali Rivera), 12-1

10. Cooleys Cartel (Francisco Calderon), 8-1


Fastest Qualifier Apollitical Dynamite Leads the Finalists in the $175,000 Retama Park Derby
Four trials were contested on July 20 for the $175,000 Retama Park Derby with Ruse Ranch LLC’s Apollitical Dynamite covering 400 yards in :20.269 seconds. The son of  Apollitical Jess will break from post six under Nestor Duran as the 5-2 morning line favorite. The sorrel colt, bred by Wallace Johnson, is one of four finalists trained by Alvin Francis, Jr.


“He's a dream horse,” stated Francis. “It doesn’t take much to train one like him!”


His other entrants are Heavy Hitters Racing Stables’ Brock Landers, who will be ridden by QHA Champion rider Francisco Calderon; Eagle Powers, who won the 2022 TQHA Juvenile for owner Gilbert Martinez and Jesus R. Vasquez Luna’s Jess Pf Flyer, who set the seventh fastest qualifying time.


“You never know which horse will come out running,” added Francis. “The heat has been tough; keeping them hydrated is very important.”


The high earner in the field is Mauricio Garza's RGs Gold Wagon, a son of Prized Wagon, whose bankroll stands at $268,474. Trained by Janessa Muniz, RGS Gold Wagon won the $306,000 Evangeline Downs Futurity (G3) last December and the $50,000 Jack Brooks Stakes (RG3) earlier this year at Remington Park. He will break from the eight hole under rider Edgar Mata.

The Retama Park Derby is the ninth race on the program with an approximate post of 9:51 pm.


Retama Park Promotions

The 2023 Retama Park Quarter Horse live racing season continues through Saturday, September 2. Fans can enjoy upcoming promotions including Family Fun Night on August 18 and September 2. Activities include bounce castles, petting zoo, pony rides. Kids 12 and under are free. Terrace dining is every Friday and Saturday on live race nights. $24.95 on Fridays and 29.95 on Saturdays. Call 210-651-7000 Monday-Friday to make a reservation. Visit the Retama Park website for information on live and simulcast racing and special events.


2023 TQHA Yearling Sale Boasts Increases for the Third Year in a Row

The annual TQHA Yearling Sale , which was held on July 28-29, concluded with increases across the board once again this year. Bobby D. Cox consigned the sale topper Hip #177 Eagle Aye for $155,000. Vista Del Sol signed the ticket for the colt sired by One Famous Eagle out of the Tres Seis mare Miss Aguilar. He is a

half-brother to stakes-placed Grade 1 finalist Mperativ. The second dam is the RG1 winner First Dashin Bye, dam of Sam Houston Futurity(G2) winner Ivan James.


Each yearling who passed through the sale ring is eligible for the 2024 TQHA Sale Futurity. For a complete list of sale results, visit



About Retama Park

Retama Park is a Class 1 pari-mutuel horse racetrack located in Selma, Texas, just 20 minutes from downtown San Antonio. Live Quarter Horse races take place each summer, while simulcast wagering and races from around the world are shown daily. Managed by Penn Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ – PENN), Retama Park opened in 1995 and will host its 28th year of operation from July 19 to September 2, 2023. For more information and racing schedules, please visit www.RetamaPark.comfollow on: FacebookInstagramTwitterTikTok and YouTube.




Photos:  Coady Photography