Karina Aldavaz’s Marcus Medallion gave his owner back-to-back Zia Festival stakes wins when he held off favored Ryansmanonthemoon to win the $50,000 Zia Handicap on Saturday afternoon at Ruidoso Downs.
Aldavaz also won the Bobby Crenshaw Memorial in the race before the Zia Handicap.
Marcus Medallion, at 9-1 odds, got a clean start under jockey Adrian A. Ramos and then was able to hold off 9-5 favorite Ryansmanonthemoon to win by a nose. Magnifico Dragon was one-and-one-half lengths back for third.
A six-year-old gelding, Marcus Medallion was timed in :19.569 for the 400 yards.
“We expected a lot from this horse,” trainer Jaime Aldavaz Jr. said. “He’s honest and always gets the money. He tries.”
Marcus Medallion, a gelding by Jesse James Jr, won the $85,000 Dona County Handicap on January 19 and then finished third in the $85,000 Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap on March 16. Those were his two previous starts and each came at Sunland Park.
Jimmy Negrete and Jimmy Vasquez’s Ryansmanonthemoon came off three consecutive wins. They included the $211,000 Shue Fly Handicap and then the $85,000 New Mexico Horse Breeders Association Stakes.
A three-year-old gelding by First Moonflash, Ryansmanonthemoon is trained by Cynthia Gonzalez and was ridden by Mauro Salcedo.
Daniel Balderrama’s Magnifico Dragon, also trained by Gonzalez, had Jaime Parga Leos aboard.
The Zulu Dragon-sired Magnifico Dragon won a $52,000 allowance race at SunRay Park on May 10.
Zia Festival racing continues on Sunday with six stakes races for New Mexico-breds featuring the $434,210 Zia Futurity and the $197,725 Zia Derby. They offer the two largest purses during the two-day Zia Festival racing program.
First post time is 1 p.m. with free parking and free general admission.
$20,000 Bobby Dan Crenshaw Memorial
Three-year-old and older thoroughbreds and quarter horses
Midevil Hero gave owner Karina Aldavaz her first of the two wins. He took the lead from Sherree Meridyth’s Executive Trust leaving the turn and then held off a late rally from determined early leader Executive Trust to gain her second consecutive win.
Midevil Hero is trained by trained by Jaime Aldavaz Sr., father of the trainer of Zia Handicap winner Marcus Medallion.
Midevil Hero grabbed the head win in :54.135 under Casey Chavez at 13-1 odds.
The Tony Sedillo-owned and -trained Oraale was third, one-and-one-quarter lengths behind Executive Trust.
A thoroughbred daughter of Everyday Heroes, Midevil Hero came into the Bobby Crenshaw off a five-and-one-half-length win in a conditioned allowance race at Ruidoso Downs.
$50,000 Sierra Starlet
Three-year-old thoroughbred fillies (New Mexico-bred)
The combination of owners R.D. Hubbard and Shaun Hubbard, along with trainer Todd Fincher, came through with the top-two finishers when Flight Song prevailed in a stretch battle over Let It Roll.
Each of the horses was bred by R.D. Hubbard.
Jerry Cannon’s Shug’s Best set the pace from the outside post position and held the lead until the top of the stretch. Flight Song and Let It Roll made their moves through the stretch with Flight Song winning by a neck. Shug’s Best maintained third place, one-one-half lengths behind Let It Roll.
The Atilla’s Storm-sired Flight Song covered the five-and-one-half furlongs in 1:04.41 under Alfredo Juarez Jr. for her second consecutive stakes win.
Flight Song won the $80,000 Petticoat Stakes at Albuquerque Downs in her previous start and now has four wins from eight outs.
$50,000 By By JJ
Two-year-old quarter horses who did not qualify for the Zia Futurity (New Mexico-bred)
Jesus T. Carrasco’s Don Chuy C, a 13-1 outsider, held off a determined bid by Donelli to gain his first stakes victory and second win from three career outs.
The Paul Osbaldo Garcia-ridden Don Chuy C raced to a sharp start and went to the lead. Mj Farms’ homebred Donelli bobbled at the start and then made a late run to get within a nose of Don Chuy C.
Don Chuy C was timed in :19.853.
Amanda Rocha’s Koochi Koo finished third, three quarters of a length behind the top-two finishers.
The Jose Ramos-trained Don Chuy C is improving with each start. He began his career with a troubled last-place finish in his trial to the $403,985 Mountain Top Futurity. The First Moonflash son then stepped forward with a neck win in his trial to the $433,129 Zia Futurity.
Don Chuy C was a $10,000 New Mexico-bred Yearling Sale purchase.
$50,000 Sierra Blanca Handicap
Three-year-old and older thoroughbreds (New Mexico-bred)
Owned by J. Rodney Brooks, D.R. Reid, M.L. Brooks and E. Glen Berry, Mr. Mooch prevailed in a stretch battle to give jockey Casey Chavez his second stakes win on the Zia Festival program.
Chavez was also aboard Midevil Hero in the Bobby Dan Crenshaw.
Mr. Mooch raced in an early duel and then pulled away only to be confronted by D E Lover, who was in a stalking position, in the stretch. Mr Mooch was able to hold off Tony Sedillo and Leroy Martinez’s D E Lover safe to win by one length in 1:04.19.
The late running Michael Weatherly homebred Four Star Saint finished third.
Mr Mooch raced to a two-length win in a Ruidoso Downs allowance race in his previous start.