Trainer Wes Giles should be a force when he sends out $345,655 Mountain Top Futurity winner Jess Fire Chick and $396,000 New Mexican Spring Futurity winner Zee James in the trials to the $410,000 Zia Futurity, and Grade 1, $3 million All American Futurity runner-up Bigg Daddy in the trials to the $191,000 Zia Derby on Saturday afternoon at Ruidoso Downs.
The Zia Futurity trials run as the first 11 races and the 12th through the 16th races are Zia Derby trials. All trials are at 400 yards.
First post time is 12 noon on Saturday.
The fifth race, a Zia Futurity trial with a full field of 10 competitors, offers $1,000 added to the trifecta pool.
The Zia Futurity and the Zia Derby will be contested as part of the Zia Festival on July 29. The 10-fastest horses from each set of trials qualify for their respective finals.
Breeder Mike Abraham and Paul Blanchard’s Jess Fire Chick has stepped up in each of her two starts for Giles, both at Ruidoso Downs this summer.
Jess Fire Chick, a daughter of Jess A Chicks, made her debut in the Mountain Top Futurity trials and easily handled her rivals by one-and-one-half lengths with the second-fastest qualifying mark of :18.051 seconds. She then showed her grit while battling to a head win in the Mountain Top Futurity over Raider 5 Racing’s Regard The Sevens.
A $5,000 Ruidoso New Mexico-Bred Sale purchase, Jess Fire Chick has earned $147,575.
Regard The Sevens will be facing Jess Fire Chick again on Saturday afternoon in the 11th Zia Futurity trial. The Blane Wood-trained Regard The Sevens, a gelding by Chicks Regard, won his Mountain Top Futurity trial by one-half length in the fourth-fastest time of :18.119.
Regard The Sevens, a $12,000 Ruidoso New Mexico-Bred Sale purchase, drew the second post position and Ricky Ramirez will be aboard.
Jess Fire Chick has the eighth post position and Adrian A. Ramos riding.
Breeder Robert Driggers and Ben Lee Ivey’s Zee James tries to rebound from a rough trip while taking on open company in her Ruidoso Futurity trial. The filly stumbled at the start as the 2-5 favorite and managed a fourth-place finish behind eventual Ruidoso Futurity winner Blue Corazon.
The Jesse James Jr.-sired Zee James went to the front of her division this spring at Sunland Park when she overwhelmed her New Mexican Spring Futurity trial competition by three-and-three-quarter lengths and then won the Spring Futurity by a neck as the 7-5 favorite.
Ramos rides Zee James from the seventh post position in the eighth race.
Too For Two’s Bigg Daddy, a $25,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale purchase, makes his first start since finishing second behind Fly Baby Fly in the All American Futurity on Labor Day. Before the All American Futurity, Big Daddy raced to three-consecutive wins, highlighted by his three-quarter-length win in the $371,000 Zia Futurity.
“I’m as ready for him to run and he is,” jockey G.R. Carter said. “He really looks good and is ready.”
Bigg Daddy, an earner of $661,418, worked 220 yards in :10.67 in preparation for his 2018 debut. That was the fastest time from 22 horses working on June 12.
A gelding by Big Daddy Cartel and out of champion Alice K White, Bigg Daddy and Carter start from the third post position in the third trial (15th race).