David and Sandra Barrett’s Carson City Girl brings fastest-qualifier honors and a bright future into the richest event, the Restricted Grade 1 $379,896 Zia Quarter Horse Futurity, on the ultimate day of the two-day Zia Festival this Sunday at Ruidoso Downs.
Sunday’s card is loaded with nine stakes races for New Mexico-bred thoroughbreds and quarter horses with a 1 p.m. first post time. There is always free parking and free general admission at Ruidoso Downs.
The Zia Festival celebrates New Mexico with Southwestern vendors selling their unique items. The vendors will be open before the racing begins. Also, the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund is holding a silent auction fundraiser with signed photos and prints of famous racehorses, including Secretariat and Zenyatta.
Carson City Girl, a daughter of Woodbridge, stood out in the second of 10 Zia Futurity trials for trainer Fred Danley after overcoming a troubled start. The $30,000 yearling purchase at the Ruidoso New Mexico-bred Sale rallied to win the trial and her time of :19.889 for the 400 yards stood out as the fastest qualifying mark. She was the 2-5 favorite in her trial and ridden by Joe Badilla Jr.
The $194,672 Rio Grande Senor Futurity leads the thoroughbred racing with the largest purse offered to Thoroughbreds during the Zia Festival.
J. Kirk and Judy Robison’s Diabolical King has been established as the 2-1 favorite for the five-and-one-half furlong Senor Futurity. The Henry Dominguez-trained son of Diabolical won the $175,000 Mountain Top Futurity by seven-and-one-half lengths two starts ago and then won his Senor Futurity trial.
The $50,000 Land Of Enchantment is one of the most popular races with older horses going around two turns at seven-and-one-half furlongs.
Sam and Latane Stevens’ Thunder Regard should be dangerous for trainer Joel Marr. He was won his latest two races and they were each stakes races. He won the $60,000 Lineage Handicap around two turns and took the University of New Mexico Handicap over seven furlongs. Each of those races was at The Downs at Albuquerque.
Top thoroughbred sprinters compete in the $50,000 Sierra Blanca Handicap at five-and-one-half furlongs.
P. Duane Cugnini’s Beau Wizer is a crack sprinter and was claimed by trainer Wes Giles for his current owner back in March at Sunland Park. He then came back in his next out to win the O.D. McDonald Handicap at seven furlong by four-and-one-half lengths.
The $50,000 Road Runner Handicap brings out three-year-olds sprinting five-and-one-half furlongs.
Scott Bryant and Joe Dee Brooks’ Atillas Gift won The Albuquerque Journal Handicap at The Downs at Albuquerque in May. The Todd Fincher-trained gelded son of Attila’s Storm has been a competitive second in each of his Ruidoso Downs outs.
The $50,000 Lincoln Handicap at six furlongs is for three-year-old and older fillies and mares.
Joe Dee Brooks, Bryant and Derrol Hubbard’s Diabolical Dame, trained by Fincher, is after her fourth-straight win and has been first or second in each of her 10 outs. She won the Foutz Distaff by two-and-one-half lengths at SunRay Park in her most recent out
The $50,000 Sierra Starlet for three-year-old fillies features the very talented Twixy Roll, owned by Dale Taylor, Carey Taylor and Jon Hogg.
The Fincher-trained miss only defeat from five starts was a second-place run at Ruidoso Downs in her latest effort as the odds-on favorite. She won last year’s $199,000 Rio Grande Senorita Futurity at Ruidoso Downs and the $140,000 New Mexico Juvenile Filly Championship at Zia Park.
The $50,000 Zia Handicap at 400 yards offers the leading older quarter horses, including Jose Luis Ozuna’s Moonstruck Love. The Paul Jones-trained gelding won the $95,000 Shue Fly Hnadicap the last time he faces New Mexico-breds and comes off a third-place finish in the $100,000 Mr Jess Perry against open three-year-olds in his latest start.
The $50,000 Zia 870 Championship for thoroughbreds and quarter horses has An Absolut Diamond as the 8-5 morning-line favorite.
Owned by Sandy Farris, Marc Jungers and Lisa McMinn, An Absolut Diamond won the $85,000 Challenger Six Handicap back in December and then was rested until the Ruidoso season started. The Ketel Won gelding was second by a neck in the Fine Loom Handicap and then second by the same margin in an allowance race. Each of those Ruidoso outs were against open horses.
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