RUIDOSO DOWNS, New Mexico (July 26, 2014) – Twixy Roll pulled away from stablemate Diabolical Dame to win the $198,975 Rio Grande Senorita Futurity, sporting the afternoon’s largest purse, during the first of two days of the Zia Festival on Saturday afternoon at Ruidoso Downs.
The top-two finishers are trained by Todd Fincher, who saddled six of the 10 finalists in the stakes for two-year-old fillies.
The Zia Festival, featuring the top-tier New Mexico-bred thoroughbreds and quarter horses, continues on Sunday with a 1 p.m. first post time.
There is free parking and free general admission. The grandstand is filled with vendors offering their New Mexico-themed wares.
The TriSuper carryover for the Sunday program is $38,124.
Twixy Roll and Diabolical Dame set the pace in the five-and-one-half-furlong dash with a quick :21.58 first quarter and a fast :44.66 first one-half mile. Twixy Roll won with a 1:04.48 time.
The Alfredo Juarez Jr.-ridden Twixy Roll defeated Diabolical Dame by two-and-one-quarter lengths.
Muy Rapido, trained by Henry Dominguez, finished third. She was four-and-one-half lengths behind Diabolical Dame.
Twixy Roll pushed her record to three-for-three and gained her first stakes win in the Rio Grande Senorita Futurity. She won her maiden in her debut back in April at Sunland Park before winning her Senorita Futurity trial by two-and-three-quarter lengths.
The Saturday card provided a variety of stakes races.
Melvin Neugebauer’s incredible 10-year-old Miracle Snow defended his victory in last year’s Zia Handicap with a gallant late run to win this year’s $50,000 Zia Handicap by a game head over Jess Got Issues.
Making his 56th career start, Miracle Snow got a clean break from the starting gate and was in contention from the first jump. The West Giles-trained gelding then made a surge in the final few strides to secure his 16th career win. He also has 10 second-place finishes and 11 third-place runs. He pushed his career earnings to above $680,000 with the Zia Handicap win.
The son of Dean Miracle covered the 400 yards in :19.324.
Miracle Snow battled to a nose win in last year’s Zia Handicap and came into this year’s renewal off a victory in the $45,000 Jim Drake Stakes at SunRay Park.
Joseph and Debra Meridyth Jr’s Jess Got Issues came into the Zia Handicap off a pair of allowance wins at SunRay Park.
Third-place runner Rex Hill was three quarters of a length back and was second to Miracle Snow in the Jim Drake.
Zia Quarter Horse Derby
Pierre and Leslie Amestoy’s homebred Mighty Moonflash took control of the restricted Grade 2, $139,493 Zia Quarter Horse Derby at the halfway point and went on to his third straight win.
Mighty Moonflash covered the 400 yards in :19.359 with Tanner Thedford was aboard for trainer Ross Amestoy.
A gelding by First Moonflash, Mighty Moonflash won his maiden just two starts ago and then made leaps up the class ladder. He was the fastest qualifier to the Zia Derby with a :19.465 time and now is a stakes winner with his one-half length victory.
Bobby Simmons’ Foxy Moonflash finished second by another one-half length over Regal Racing Stables, LLC’s Heza Wild Dragon.
Foxy Moonflash, trained by Sleepy Gilbreath, was the third-fastest qualifier with a one-length trial win in :19.584. It was the second career win for the daughter of First Moonflash.
Heza Wild Dragon, a gelding by Genuine Strawfly, won last year’s $357,000 Mountain Top Futurity and was third in last year’s $409,000 Zia Futurity.
J. Kirk and Judy Robison’s That’s The Idea won a Zia Festival stakes for the second-straight year when she won the $50,000 Sierra Starlet Stakes for three-year-old fillies.
A year ago, That’s The Idea won the $194,000 Rio Grande Senorita Futurity during the Zia Festival.
That’s The Idea broke on the lead with Xtra Golden and those two raced side-by-side into the turn of the five-and-one-half-furlong sprint. Then Xtra Golden was pulled back from her inside position and odds-on favorite That’s The Idea went on to the three-and-three-quarter-length win under Ry Eikleberry. The winning time was 1:04.70.
Xtra Golden faded to fourth in the stretch with Be My Desert Angel and Gold Rush Hush making late runs.
Be My Desert Angel took second by one length over Gold Rush Hush.
The Henry Dominguez-trained That’s The Idea, a daughter of Diabolical, prepared for the Sierra Starlet with a nine-and-one-quarter-length allowance win at Ruidoso Downs.
In addition to her Rio Grande Senorita Futurity win last year, she took the $140,000 New Mexico Cup Juvenile Filly Stakes at Zia Park.
By By JJ
Santos Espinoza and Marc Jungers’ Stone Cold Diamond, a 10-1 outsider, ran away from his rivals in the $20,000 By By JJ for quarter horses who did not qualify for the Zia Futurity, which will highlight Sunday’s program.
Joe Badilla Jr. was aboard for the one-and-one-half length win in :19.733 for 400 yards.
The gelding by First Moonflash was easily the class of the field. He broke sharply from the starting gate and rolled to the easy win under a strong hand ride from Badilla.
A member of the Mike Joiner stable, Stone Cold Diamond won his maiden in his third start in the By By JJ. The improving gelding was fifth in his Mountain Top Futurity trial and then third in his Zia Futurity trial.
Essencia finished second by a neck over Heza Winning Version.
Zia 870 Championship
The thoroughbred Beau Wizer ran down the quarter horse Storm Chasor to score his fourth-straight win in the $50,000 Zia 870 Championship.
Joan Dale Hubbard’s homebred Storm Chasor took the lead with a sweeping move on turn, however was unable to hold off the late rush of MCM Racing, LLC’s Beau Wizer.
Beau Wizer finished one-and-one-half lengths ahead of Storm Chasor while the quarter horse Lionett finished third, another two-and-three-quarter lengths back.
Ridden by Casey Lambert, Beau Wizer was timed in :45.471 for the 870 yards.
Beau Wizer started his winning streak back in April at Sunland Park with a dominating win in an optional-claiming race at six-and-one-half furlongs. The Weston Martin-trained gelding then won back-to-back 870-yard allowance races at Ruidoso Downs.
Bobby Dan Crenshaw Memorial
Jockey Casey Lambert pushed Sugarintheevening through a hole along the rail entering the stretch and then prevailed in a battle with Homerun Berti to win the $20,000 Bobby Dan Crenshaw Memorial at 1,000 yards.
The Crenshaw was the only stakes on the program not restricted to New Mexico-breds.
MCM Racing LLC’s Sugarintheevening won by a neck in :52.896. Attila’s Hurricane was third in the seven-horse field.
The Weston Martin-trained Sugarintheevening was the 9-5 favorite after making a late run in an 870-yard optional-claiming race on June 13 at Ruidoso Downs.