Toby Keeton got his start around horses when he was 15-year-old and while successful, he’s never won the one race he’s always wanted: The All American Futurity.
That could change Monday when he sends three horses to post in the $3 million, 440-yard race, the world’s most famous quarter horse race.
He’ll have Flying Rabbit 123 (3 post), Dashing Tres (4 post) and Cuz Lightyear (6 post) in the race.
“Racing’s been good to me,” said Keeton, who lives in Seguin and was born in Uvalde. “I’ve had some great owners and lots of support. I’ve had a great team. I’m excited for all of my horses and they’ll all give their very best effort. The filly Dark Nme will be hard to beat, she’s had a great summer, but my horses will try and we’re hopeful. It’d be great to win this race.”
Keeton’s support system includes his wife of 13 years, Cindi, who has been an integral part of his success.
“Cindi’s been great and she’s certainly helped me get to this point in my career,” Keeton said. “She works hard every day and she loves what she does.”
Added Cindi: “Toby is a great horseman. He’s worked hard his whole life and we’re just hopeful we can get a win in the All American Futurity, it’s the one race everyone wants.”
Keeton, who has trained such quarter horse standouts as Kiss My Hocks, El Duero, Otts Boy and Kiss My Whutt, credits his late father, Freddy, with helping him become the trainer he is today.
“My dad taught me so much and he’d always make me find the answers to things and that helped me so much I grew up and lived my life,” said Keeton, who competes in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. “He was a natural with horses and he lived life to the fullest. I’ve tried to continue to grow and learn through the years from different people. You always have to continue to learn and develop.”
Keeton, 59, also has three horses in Sunday’s 440-yard All American Derby with Whiskey Creek (3 post), Getthere Fast (5 post) and Delight Interest (9 post).
“The All American Derby will be a great race as well, lots of great horses,” Keeton said.
Keeton also expects a large contingent of family and friends from Uvalde, the site of a mass school shooting in 2022.
“Uvalde always means a lot to me and it’s a special place in my heart,” Keeton said. “What happened there last year was awful. I graduated high school from there and the people there are great people.”
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Felix F. Chavez can be reached at [email protected]; @Fchavezeptimes on Twitter
All American Weekly at Ruidoso Downs
What: All American Derby, All American Oaks and What All American Futurity
When: Sunday and Monday
Where: Ruidoso Downs Race Track and Casino
Post time: First post will be noon on both Sunday and Monday
Tickets: Everyone must have a ticket this year. Check www.raceruidoso.com to see if there are tickets remaining
This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: Trainer Toby Keeton aims for first All American Futurity victory