Larry and Harry Teague’s Dust Alert pulled away from a pair of fillies from the Todd Fincher stable to win the $165,771 Rio Grande Senorita Futurity before a boisterous crowd during the first day of the two-day Zia Festival on Saturday at Ruidoso Downs.
The Zia Festival is a celebration of New Mexico with programs filled with New Mexico-bred stakes races and vendors in the grandstand selling Southwestern wares.
Dust Alert, bred by Larry Teague, dueled between horses and then drew out in the stretch to win by two-and-three-quarter lengths in 1:06.22. Tijuana finished second by three quarters of a length over Blaze To Glory.
Irwin Rosendo was aboard the daughter of Right Rigger.
The Weston Martin-trained Dust Alert raised her record to three-for-three while gaining her first stakes win. She had won a maiden race at Ruidoso Downs in June and then took her Senorita trial by one-and-three-quarter lengths.
In the Restricted Grade 2, $162,412 Zia Quarter Horse Derby at 400 yards, MJ Farms’ homebred Astica, the 3-5 favorite, lived up to those odds when she outclassed her rivals to score her fourth-straight win.
A daughter of Jesse James Jr and champion Alice K White, Astica broke on the lead and had daylight on the field by the halfway mark. She then drew out to the one-and-one-half length win under Adrian A Ramos, who tapped her one time.
Major Moonflash was second by a neck over Quemados Version.
Astica was third in the $341,000 Mountain Top Futurity a year ago and has won every start since that race. She won her Zia Futurity trial and then was off until May at The Downs at Albuquerque.
The Wes Giles-trained Astica returned in stellar form at The Downs at Albuquerque when she won the Pelican Stakes by three lengths and set a new track record of :18.912 for 400 yards. She then won her Zia Derby trial by one-and-three-quarter lengths with the fastest-qualifying time of :19.595.
Astica could start in the trials to the Grade 1, $2.3 million (est.) All American Derby, but her connections would need to pay the supplemental entry fee of $50,000. She earned $68,213 for winning the Zia Derby. The All American Derby trials should include Grade 1, $815,000 Ruidoso Derby winner Bf Farm Boss and Grade 1, $1,067,000 Rainbow Derby winner Kiss My Hocks.
In the $20,000 By By JJ Overnight Stakes, for two-year-olds who did not qualify for the Zia Futurity, Wood Be Charming survived an inquiry to win his maiden in his third career start.
Wood Be Charming started from the inside post position and then drifted out and finished in the middle of the track. The inquiry sign was immediately posted, but was taken down after the stewards reviewed the race.
Owned by Joe Dee Brooks, Scott Bryant and Marc Jungers, Wood Be Charming covered the 400 yards in :20.079 to get his first win after a pair of second-place finishes for trainer Mike Joiner.
Wood Be Charming finished one-half length ahead of Sic Em Sixes and it was another one length back to third-place finisher Dyna O Mite.
In the $20,000 Bobby Dan Crenshaw Memorial at 1,000 yards for thoroughbreds and quarter horses, the quarter horse Jess A Hilbily Bone held off a rousing late charge from the thoroughbred Unfettered.
Rockin J Running Horses’ Jess A Hilbily Bone was timed in :53.395 for the diminishing neck win. Flyin Fish was another one-and-one-half lengths back in third.
The Tammy Kay Johnson-trained Jess A Hilbily Bone came off a neck win in an 870-yard allowance race at Ruidoso Downs.