Thursday, 29 November 2012

Closing weekend at Zia; Llano Teller looks tough

Zia Park will end it's 2012 meet on Tuesday, but the action is on Saturday and Sunday, when 5 stakes races (1 on Sat, 4 on Sun) will highlight the cards.
     Saturday will feature the $150,000 Zia Park Derby for thoroughbreds going 1 1/16 miles. Politicallycorrect, who won the Damascus on the Breeder's Cup Saturday undercard and the Oklahoma Derby, was nominated but not entered, staying in SoCal for the Malibu. Damascus runner-up Private Zone was entered in the Zia Derby, but trainer Doug O'Neil announced that he would be scratched, also opting to wait for the Malibu, leaving Alsvid, a multiple stakes winner who has won 7 of 11 starts, as the ML favorite. The Zia Park Derby is carded as the 10th of 11 races.
    Sunday's card will feature 4 consecutive stakes races, $55,000 Rio Rancho for 2 year old Tbreds going a mile, the Grade I Zia Park Quarter Horse Championship for 3 year olds and up going 440 yards, the $120,000 New Mexico Eddy County for New Mexico bred 2yo Tbreds going a mile, and the $200,000 Zia Park Distance Championship for 3 year old and up Tbreds going 1 1/8 miles.
     The  $150,000 GI Zia Park Quarter Horse Championship features 2011 All American Derby winner Llano Teller, who has drawn the 9 hole in a 10 horse field (plus two AEs.) The 4 year old has made over $1.7 million, with 11 wins in 24 starts. His last race was a runner up finish in the Grade I Bank of America Challenge Championship at Prairie Meadows last month. By far the classiest runner in the field, Llano Teller's only real competition appears to be the 2 inside runners, Candy Cartel and Dm Streaking Through Fire, who may be hindered by their inside posts. The Zia Park Quarter Horse Championship is the 8th race on the 11 race card, and is the start of the $.50 Pick 4.
    The premier Thoroughbred event of the Zia meet is the Distance Championship, a $200,000 race for older runners going 1 1/8 miles. Global Stage & Forest Mouse, who finished 1-2 respective in the Veteran Stakes last time, both appear here. Despite being beaten by Global Stage, Forest Mouse has been given 3-1 ML favorite status, with Global Stage as the 4-1 2nd choice. I'm cheering for Stachys, a 5 year old who won the Zia Derby in 2010, and also won one of my favorite races: the Manitoba Derby at Assiniboia Downs.
    Racing will finish up for the year at Zia on Tuesday. The New Mexico circuit will move to Sunland Park next, which begins its meet on Friday December 7th.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Field set for 2 Million Futurity

Los Alamitos hosted 13 trials for the $2,108,275 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity on Sunday night. 109 2 year olds were entered to compete for the 10 available posts in the final on December 26th.
      Freedom Choice came home with the fastest qualifying time, covering the 400 yards in 19.638 under jockey Cruz Mendez, who had 5 wins on the night. Coming from the far outside post 8, broke sharply, was a length in front at the 220 yard pole, lugged in very sharply but won by an impressive 2 1/4 lengths. Freedom choice is owned by Gustavo De La Torre and trainer Jose De La Torre. He earned an 88 speed index, and paid $15.20 to win.
Superstar One Dashing Eagle, who won the Ed Burke Million, All American Futurity, and the Golden State Million Futurity, was absent while undergoing a "clean up surgery on his knee and ankle," according to owner Gustavo De La Torre.

The 10 fastest qualifying times for the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity are:
Freedom Choice - 19.638
The August Heat - 19.705
Matabari - 19.763
Far Niente - 19.778
Seperate Interest - 19.821
Aha Moment - 19.829
Fires Blazin - 19.864
Lavish Suzan - 19.871
Commando Tres Seis - 19.885
Somethin Like This - 19.890

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Secret Courage upsets in Southwest Juvenile Championship

Secret Courage was the upset winner of Sunday's Grade I Southwest Juvenile Championship at Zia Park, going off at 22-1.
Coming from post 5, the 2 year old gelding was ridden by Jaime Leos, who had previously piloted him to his only prior victory, a 350 yard Maiden at Zia. The winning margin today was a neck. Secret Courage upped his earnings to $135,190 for trainer Ramon Ronquillo and owner Francisco Acevedo. He now holds a record of 5 starts, 2 wins and 1 thirds. He covered the 440 yards in 21.664 seconds, earning an 89 speed index.
Finishing 2nd was Hobbs America Futurity winner A Dream To Remember, who went off as the 2-1 favorite, marking her 1st defeat in 3 starts at Zia Park. The Corona Cartel filly was piloted by G. R. Carter Jr from post 2 and covered the distance in 21.701, also earning an 89 speed index.
Sam Houston Futurity winner Sassmaster finished 3rd from post 7. Coming off a victory in the Texas Classic Juvenile at Lone Star Park, Sassmaster and jockey Francisco Ramirez Jr covered the 440 yards in 21.822, which earned an 86 speed index.

Secret Courage paid $47.20 to win, $35.00 to place and $11.80 to show.
A Dream To Remember paid $4.60 to place and $3.00 to show.
Sassmaster paid $3.00 to show.
$2.00 Exacta paid $255.60 - 5/2
$2.00 Trifecta paid $6,533.40 - 5/2/7
$2.00 Superfecta paid $4,708.60 - 5/2/7/4

Saturday, 24 November 2012

A Dream To Remember headlines Southwest Juvenile

Zia Park will host the Grade I Southwest Juvenile Championship on Sunday. The Invitational race for 2 year olds carries a purse of $200,000 and is run over the classic distance of 440 yards.
     Headlining the field is Hobbs America Futurity winner A Dream To Remember. The filly is trained by Paul Jones and will be under rider G. Carter Junior. After a few unsuccessful attempts at qualifying to Ruidoso's trio of Grade I Futurities, A Dream To Remember has taken very well to Zia Park, undefeated in 2 starts over the surface. Coming off of her impressive victory in the Hobbs America Futurity, she is looking to make it 3 in a row, and add the $96,000 winner's share to her earnings. She is the 3-1 morning line favorite.
     After dominating in the Ontario Jackpot Futurity at Fort Erie Race Track, Hurri Cartel (7-2 ML) is looking to double up for trainer Clinton Crawford. Hurri Cartel has only faced defeat once in his 6 race career, finishing a well beaten 5th in the Speed Horse Futurity at Fair Meadows. He is yet to race further than 350 yards, and will be facing his toughest challenge yet here. Tony Ray Bennett will retain the mount.
     4-1 3rd choice on the morning line, Sam Houston Futurity winner Sassmaster is looking to make it 3 in a row. After winning a trial for the Texas Classic Futurity at Lone Star Park, he came back to win the consolation Texas Classic Juvenile. The Shae Cox trainee has the most earnings out of the entire field, winning $227,478 in 7 starts. Francisco Ramirez will take the mount.

The field for the Grade I Southwest Juvenile Championship at Zia Park tomorrow is as follows:

11Dashin Ace (NM)2/GLJ Montoya122M W Joiner5/1
22A Dream to Remember (OK)2/FLG R Carter, Jr.122P C Jones3/1
33Whiteface Eagle (TX)2/FE Ramirez122J Aldavaz, Jr.6/1
44Rockin Disco (OK)2/GLR Hadley122M Wakefield10/1
55Secret Courage (TX)2/GLJ P Leos122R Ronquillo12/1
66Hurri Cartel (TX)2/GLT R Bennett122C Crawford7/2
77Sassmaster (TX)2/GLF R Ramirez, Jr.122S L Cox4/1
88Thequeenhasgonenuts (TX)2/FLA Silva122T Keeton8/1

The Southwest Juvenile is the 10th of 11 races at Zia on Sunday, and will go off at 4:09 PM Mountain Time, 6:09 PM Eastern.