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Zuccardi Impresses With Easy Win In Mountain Top Futurity at Ruidoso

Amanda Greer

            RUIDOSO DOWNS, New Mexico (June 14, 2014) – Crowson Racing’s Zuccardi easily moved to the top of the New Mexico-bred two-year-old class with an impressive win in the $340,697 Mountain Top Futurity at Ruidoso Downs on Saturday afternoon.

            Under jockey Raul Herrera, who was substituting for injured Roman Chapa, Zuccardi found his stride at about the third jump out of the gate and had command of the 350-yard race by the halfway mark.

            Zuccardi rolled under the wire three quarters of a length in front of Fire The Queen and it was another neck back to third-place finisher Astica.

            The colt covered the 350 yards in :17.664 while running into a steady 17 mile-per-hour headwind.

            In a uniquely bet race in which many of the 10 horses had support, Zuccardi was the 2.60-1 favorite. Six of the competitors were at less than 10-1 odds.

            Zuccardi is stepping forward with each start. After a disastrous debut in which he flipped in the gate at Sunland Park, he matured when he arrived at Ruidoso Downs. The Anna Marie Crowson-trainee won his schooling race in early May and then was supplemented to the Mountain Top Futurity at a cost of $15,000.

            The investment paid off. Zuccardi romped to a two-and-three-quarter-length trial win with the top time of :17.258 from the 10 trials.

            A son of Jesse James Jr and Champagne Lane, Zuccardi is bred to have a bright future as the distances grow longer. Jesse James Jr is one of the leading sires in New Mexico and Champagne Lane is a blue-hen producer at the national level. She is the dam of champion Alice K White and former 440-yard world record holder Kendall Jackson.

            Evel Zubiate’s runner-up Fire The Queen also has a promising future. She won her career debut in the Mountain Top trials with the third-fastest time of :17.388.

            MJ Farms’ homebred Astica was third in her Mountain Top trial and squeezed into the finals with the 10th-fastest time of :17.577. The Matt Fales-trained filly won the Desert Classic Futurity consolation at Turf Paradise two starts ago.

            Astica is closely related to Zuccardi, being sired by Jesse James Jr and out of Champagne Lane’s champion daughter Alice K White.

            Located in Veguita, New Mexico, MJ Farms bred the top three finishers and four of the Mountain Top Futurity finalists.

            The top-three finishers all graduated from Ruidoso yearling sales. Zuccardi sold for $38,000, Fire The Queen brought $4,500 and Astica passed through the ring for $50,000.