Randy Smith’s Shotgun Wedding raced to his first stakes win and third consecutive victory with a late-running score over seven-and-one-half furlongs in the $50,000 Land of Enchantment Handicap during the Zia Festival at Ruidoso Downs.
The Zia Festival stakes races for New Mexico-breds offered nearly $900,000 in purses on Sunday afternoon.
Shotgun Wedding raced in mid-pack going down the backstretch of the two-turn race, but maintained a striking position. He then advanced and took the lead in the stretch to get the two-length win over Hush’s Storm. Go For A Stroll finished third.
The Frank Reyes-ridden Shotgun Wedding was timed in 1:32.35.
A four-year-old gelding by Weather Warning, Shotgun Wedding easily won a pair of optional-claiming races in his two prior starts at Ruidoso Downs.
During the winter at Sunland Park, Shotgun Wedding climbed up the class ladder with consecutive wins for a $5,000 claiming price, a $7,500 claiming price and then a $12,500 claiming tag.
Shotgun Wedding has won seven of 13 career starts with six of those wins coming while racing around two turns.
Joe Dee Brooks, Scott Bryant and Derrol Hubbard’s favored Diabolical Dame made an impressive run through the stretch to pull away from pacesetting Tilla Cat and win the $50,000 Lincoln Handicap for fillies and mares.
The five-year-old Diabolical Dame was clocked in 1:09.65 for the six furlongs with Roimes Chirinos aboard.
Diabolical Dame crossed the finish line an easy three-and-three-quarter-lengths ahead of Tilla Cat. It was another one length back to Bryn’s Fancy Pants.
The Todd Fincher-trained Diabolical Dame has now won or finished second in four consecutive stakes races. The Diabolical daughter was second in the $85,000 New Mexico Racing Commission Handicap, won the $65,000 Bold Ego Handicap and was second in the $100,000 La Coneja Stakes before her Lincoln Handicap victory.
Road Runner Handicap
Owned by J. Rodney Brooks, Marty Brooks, E. Berry Glenn and Donnie Reid, Mr. Mooch took the lead over a field of three-year-olds and repelled all challenges to take the $50,000 Road Runner Handicap at five-and-one-half furlongs.
Mr. Mooch covered the distance in 1:03.53 to win by one-and-one-half lengths over Thunder Dome and it was another one-half length back to third-place finisher Ignored.
J.C. Villanueva rode Mr. Mooch for trainer Johnathan Lemons.
Mr. Mooch showed he was ready for the Road Runner Handicap after using similar tactics to win a five-and-one-half-furlong allowance race at Ruidoso Downs on July 16.
The gelding sired by Tin Can Sailor, who started his career as a $7,500 claimer, gained his first stakes win and has four wins from six 2017 starts.
Sierra Blanca Handicap
DE Lover, owned by trainer Tony Sedillo and Leroy Martinez, ran down odds-on favorite Stormin The Jewels in the stretch to defend his win in the $50,000 Sierra Blanca Handicap for three-year-old and older horses over five-and-one half furlongs.
The gelding won last year’s running by one-and-one-half lengths.
J & SM, Inc.’s Stormin The Jewels looked like a winner entering the stretch, however could not withstand the late rush by DE Lover.
DE Lover won by one length in 1:03.10 under Jorge Martin Bourdieu.
Stormin The Jewels was two-and-one-quarter lengths ahead of third place finisher Golly Gee.
DE Lover, a gelding by So Long Birdie, raced to his first win since taking the $170,000 New Mexico Sprint Cup at Zia Park last fall. He also won last year’s Ruidoso Thoroughbred Championship by six-and-three-quarter lengths.
Sierra Starlet Handicap
Wesley and Glenda Gray’s Waltzing Attila was three wide for virtually all of the five-and-one-half furlongs and still easily won the $50,000 Sierra Starlet for three-year-old fillies.
Sent off as the even-money favorite, jockey Duane Lee Sterling allowed Waltzing Attila to settle outside her rivals and then she rallied like a strong favorite. She pulled away without any pressure and crossed the finish line two-and-three-quarter lengths ahead of Heat Stroke, who was disqualified and placed seventh.
Waltzing Attila was timed in 1:05.12 for the five-and-one-half furlongs.
Following the disqualification, Pink Cadillac was awarded second place and Ivy Gimlet was moved up to third position.
The Nancy Summers-trained Waltzing Attila was making her Ruidoso Downs’ debut and was the strong favorite after dominating an allowance race by nearly five lengths at The Downs at Albuquerque. The Attila’s Storm daughter has won three of her latest four starts.