J. Santos Espinosa and Marc Jungers’ Im A Moon Quest, a 14-1 longshot, held on by a scant nose to take the largest purse on the Zia Festival program, the $379,896 Zia Quarter Horse Futurity, during the final day of the two-day Zia Festival on Sunday at Ruidoso Downs.
The Zia Festival celebrates New Mexico-bred racing with each of Sunday’s nine stakes races for state-breds.
The Mike Joiner-trained Im A Moon Quest went to the front and looked like a sure winner 50 yards from the wire, however 23-1 longshot Wahoo Raider closed strongly to make the race a close photo finish.
The Omar Reyes-ridden Im A Moon Quest was clocked :20.177 for the 400 yards.
Jameson Jr finished third, three quarters of a length behind the top two finishers.
Im A Moon Quest, a gelding by First Moonflash, was overlooked in the wagering after finishing second in his Zia Futurity trial with the eighth-fastest qualifying time. He won his maiden at first asking before racing in the Zia Futurity trials.
Jacob Simmons III’s Wahoo Raider showed he has a bright future. The Cynthia Gonzalez-trained gelding made his first start in the Mountain Top Futurity trials and finished a lackluster sixth. The Jess A Chicks son then finished second in his Zia Futurity trial with the seventh-fastest qualifying time.
Mj Farms’ homebred Jameson Jr, trained by Wes Giles, won his maiden in his first start by one-and-one-quarter lengths and then was second in his Zia Futurity trial with the ninth-fastest qualifying mark.
Pierre and Leslie Amestoy’s homebred Storm Warrior took the largest purse for thoroughbreds on the 10-race program in the $194,672 Rio Grande Senor Futurity at five-and-one-half furlongs.
Storm Warrior pushed his record to three-for-three and gained his first stakes win in the Senor Futurity.
Diabolical King had the lead entering the stretch and then jockey Isaias Cardenas drove Storm Warrior along the rail to gain the lead and go on to win by one-and-one-quarter lengths. They were timed in 1:04.77.
Diabolical King, the 6-5 favorite, saved second by one length over Stormin The Jewels.
A gelding by Weather Warning, Storm Warrior won his maiden at first asking at The Downs at Albuquerque and then won his Senor Futurity trial by three parts of a length for trainer Ross Amestoy.
J. Kirk and Judy Robison’s homebred Diabolical King, trained by Henry Dominguez, won the $175,000 Mountain Top Futurity for New Mexico-breds by seven-and-one-quarter lengths two starts ago and was a head winner of his Senor Futurity trial at 1-5 odds.
In the Restricted Grade 2, $50,000 Zia Handicap for older quarter horses at 400 yards, All American Derby winner Too Flash For You prevailed by a head in the final strides over Dm One Hot Charmer.
Too Flash For You won under Adrian A. Ramos with a :19.469 time.
Reckless Wind finished two-and-three-quarter lengths back in third.
Trainer Giles won the race for the third-straight year. He trained Miracle Snow, who won the previous two runnings. The 11-year-old Miracle Snow was recently retired and led the post parade for the Zia Handicap.
Owned by Jim and Michelle Laird with Jose Espinosa, Too Flash For You won five of seven 2014 starts. He earned $914,834 last year with the majority of those earnings coming from his one-half length win in the Grade 1, $1.9 million All American Derby at Ruidoso Downs.
A gelding by First Moonflash, Too Flash For You was making his first start since a fifth-place finish in the Grade 1, $350,000 The Championship at Sunland Park back in December.
In the $50,000 Lincoln Handicap for older fillies and mares at six furlongs, Diabolical Dame went to the front and then easily showed she was the best horse in the 12-horse field with a dominating six-and-one-quarter-length victory.
Owned by Joe Dee Brooks, Scott Bryant and Derrol Hubbard, Diabolical Dame was timed 1:12.10 with Aldo Arboleda aboard.
Strawberry Bling, a 38-1 outsider, was second by one-half length over Seanics Song, who went off at 45-1 odds.
Diabolical Dame raced to her fourth-straight win as the 4-5 favorite in the Lincoln Handicap. She won the Bank of Albuquerque Stakes in May to start her winning streak and won the Foutz Distaff at SunRay Park in her start before the Lincoln Handicap.
Trained by Todd Fincher, Diabolical Dame has won seven off 11 career starts with four second-place efforts.
In the $50,000 Road Runner Handicap for three-year-olds at five-and-one-half furlongs, Maurcenia Cross and Jimmy Fox’s homebred Lonnie Ton pulled away at the top of the stretch and then cruised to his first stakes win.
The Gary Cross-trained Lonnie Ton had been second in the $60,000 Albuquerque Journal Stakes and third in the $100,000 Mine That Bird Stakes.
Lonnie Ton was timed in 1:04.44 under Irwin Rosendo.
A gelding by Attila’s Storm, Lonnie Ton finished two-and-one-quarter lengths ahead of the late running Golly Gee and it was another two-and-three-quarter lengths back to third-place finisher Southern Fire.
In the $50,000 Land Of Enchantment over seven-and-one-half furlongs, Randy Smith’s Vic Tories, at 12-1 odds, made a late run through the stretch to gain his first win in five starts. His previous win was an allowance race back in October at Zia Park.
Vic Tories was timed in 1:32.99 with Alfredo Juarez Jr. aboard.
The Joel Marr-trained Vic Tories finished one-and-one-quarter lengths ahead of Thunder Agard. It was three-and-one-quarter lengths back to third-place finisher That’s Who, the 7-5 favorite.
Vic Tories, a five-year-old gelding by Desert God, was third in the $60,000 Lineage Handicap two starts before the Land Of Enchantment.
In the $50,000 Sierra Starlet for three-year-old fillies at five-and-one-half furlongs, Larry and Harry Teague’s Tea Light raced to her first stakes win and third win from five 2015 starts with a gate-to-wire score.
Tea Light was timed in 1:05.28 for the two-and-one-half length win over She Devil. It was another three quarters of a length back to third-place finisher Hello Texas.
A homebred daughter of Right Rigger, Tea Light won back-to-back allowance races before finishing second in the $60,000 Bank of Albuquerque Stakes in her prior start.
Tea Light was second by a neck in the $85,000 La Senora Stakes at Sunland Park in January.
In the $50,000 Sierra Blanca Handicap for older horses at five-and-one-half furlongs, Tony Sedillo and Leroy Martinez’s De Lover proved best in the stretch to gain his second win in as many starts at Ruidoso Downs this summer.
The Brayan Velazquez-ridden De Lover was timed in 1:04.21 for the two-and-one-half length victory over favored Beau Wizer. Thermal finished third, a neck behind Beau Wizer.
A four-year-old gelding, De Lover came into the Sierra Blanca after a late-running allowance race win on June 6.
In the $50,000 Zia 870 Championship, the Sedillo-owned and -trained De Wagons Strawfly surged past frontrunners An Absolut Diamond and Storm Chasor to win his first start since October.
De Wagons Strawfly, an 11-1 longshot, was timed in :45.647 for the 870 yards with Adrian A. Ramos aboard. He finished one-half length ahead of An Absolut Diamond. It was another one-and-one-half lengths back to Storm Chasor.
De Wagons Strawfly closed out his 2014 season with a third-place finish in the $140,000 New Mexico Cup 870 Championship at Zia Park.