RUIDOSO DOWNS, New Mexico (July 29, 2018) —Wes Giles’ trained horses won the two largest purses during the Zia Festival program on Sunday at Ruidoso Downs when Jess Fire Chick took the $409,680 Zia Quarter Horse Futurity and Bigg Daddy won the $190,937 Zia Quarter Horse Derby.
The nine stakes races on the Zia program were for New Mexico-bred thoroughbreds and quarter horses.
Mike Abraham and Paul Blanchard’s Jess Fire Chick, the 5-2 favorite, remains undefeated from four starts with the one-half-length win in :20.148 for the 400 yards while facing a 16 mile-per-hour headwind.
Too For Two’s Midnite Blu, also from the Giles barn, finished second by a nose over Daniel Ramirez’s Cd Mamas Boy.
Jess Fire Chick, a $5,000 Ruidoso New Mexico-bred Yearling Sale purchase, went to the lead and showed her innate tenacity to get the win.
“She’s got a huge heart,” said Giles. “Not many horses give as much as her. I thought going into her first start that she had a good chance to win. She won and I keep on waiting for her to get tired and she doesn’t.”
A daughter of Jess A Chicks, Jess Fire Chick won her New Mexican Spring Futurity trial in her debut and then fought to a head win in the $346,000 New Mexican Spring Futurity.
Jess Fire Chick drew into a deep Zia Futurity trial and again showed her gameness with a head victory.
Runner-up Midnite Blu, a $45,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale purchase, was third to Jess Fire Chick in the New Mexican Spring Futurity and second to Cd Mamas Boy in their Zia Futurity trial.
The First Moonflash-sired gelding was ridden by G.R. Carter Jr.
Cd Mamas Boy, another First Moonflash-sired gelding, won a maiden race two starts ago and then took his Zia Futurity trial for trainer Juan Esquivel.
Jose Enrique Ortiz rode Cd Mamas Boy.
Too For Two’s Bigg Daddy got the job done in the $190,937 Zia Derby, however it was not easy for the strong 9-10 favorite.
Bigg Daddy slightly stumbled and then was brushed at the start before showing his class and running to the lead. Frankie James then made a huge late rush and came up a head short of catching Bigg Daddy. First N Forever was third.
Ridden by G.R. Carter Jr., Bigg Daddy was timed in :19.635 for the 400 yards.
Bigg Daddy, a $25,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale purchase, has now earned $744,013 with impressive performances against both New Mexico-bred and open company. Last year, the Big Daddy Cartel-sired gelding won the $371,000 Zia Futurity and then was second in the $3,000,000 All American Futurity.
He will probably make his next start in the trials to the $1,000,000 (est.) All American Derby on August 19.
$50,000 Land of Enchantment Handicap
Three-year-old and older thoroughbreds
R.D. Hubbard’s homebred Go For A Stroll held off a determined bid by 7-10 favorite Thunder Dometo take the Land of Enchantment Stakes, the only race contested around two turns during the Zia Festival.
The Roimes Chirinos-ridden Go For A Stroll won by a neck with a time of 1:31.66.
Thunder Dome was second by four-and-one-half lengths over Shining Source.
A gelding by Attila’s Storm trained by Todd Fincher, Go For A Stroll posted his first win since taking a $50,000 optional-claiming race back in February at Sunland Park. He prepared for the Land of Enchantment with a third-place run the $75,000 O. D. McDonald at Albuquerque Downs.
$50,000 Sierra Blanca Handicap
Three-year-old and older thoroughbreds
Kirk and Judy Robison’s Diabolical Gator kept his perfect record while sprinting intact with a crushing victory of his rivals in the Sierra Blanca Handicap in 1:02.87.
Mr. Mooch went took the lead out of the gate and Diabolical Gator caught him by the time they reached the turn. Diabolical Gator maintained his lead rounding the turn and then easily disposed of his rivals in the stretch with a rousing five-and-three-quarter-length win.
Regular rider Miguel Fuentes was aboard for trainer Joel Marr.
Mr Mooch held on for second, one-and-one-quarter lengths ahead of Four Star Saint.
Diabolical Gator, an older brother to Sierra Starlet winner Fast Gator, has only been defeated in his sole start around two turns in the New Mexico State University Handicap at Sunland Park. He now has five wins at distances ranging from five-and-one-half to six-and-one-half furlongs.
The Sierra Blanca is his first stakes win.
$50,000 Lincoln Handicap
Three-year-old and older thoroughbred fillies and mares
Michael Weatherly’s homebred Explosive Spy burst from a bunched field to pull out and win the Lincoln Handicap in 1:11.41.
Rappakuba went to the early lead and then was caught by nearly the entire field on the turn. Explosive Spy proved much the best in the stretch with a two-length victory over Bryn’s Fancy Pants. Mike And Trixie was more than five lengths back in third. Rappakuba held on for fourth.
Explosive Spy is trained by Simon Buechler and Frank Reyes was aboard.
A five-year-old daughter of Your Eminence, Explosive Spy is on a hot streak since finishing third in the $85,000 La Coneja Stakes at Sunland Park in March. She then won the $40,000 Foutz Distaff at SunRay Park and was third in the $30,000 First Lady Handicap at Ruidoso Downs.
Sierra Starlet Handicap
Three-year-old thoroughbred fillies
- Kirk and Judy Robison’s homebred Fast Gator outclassed the field with a her fourth stakes win from five starts in the Sierra Starlet Handicap
Sent off as the solid 11-10 favorite, Fast Gator was ridden like jockey Alfredo Juarez Jr. knew he had the best filly in the race. The filly went to the lead at the start and Gone Shoppin drew alongside on the turn. In the stretch Fast Gator exerted herself and easily drew out to the four-length victory. She was timed in 1:03.75.
Gone Shoppin finished three quarters of a length ahead of La Grange Lady.
A daughter of Diabolical, Fast Gator has been sensational for trainer Henry Dominguez. She was last year’s $135,000 Rio Grande Senorita Handicap at Ruidoso Downs, then the $140,000 New Mexico Cup La Senorita at Zia Park and concluded her juvenile campaign with a win in the $85,000 La Senora at Sunland Park. In her only start this year before the Sierra Starlet, she was steadied and finished fourth, her only career defeat.
$50,000 Zia Handicap
Three-year-old and older quarter horses
The Martin Orona Sr.-owned and -trained Cartels Star Daddy, a $7,500 claim in March at Sunland Park, validated that claim with a late charge through the final 200 yards and impressively win the Zia Handicap by one length as the 5-2 favorite.
The Raul Herrera-ridden Cartels Star Daddy was timed in :19.607.
First Note Medley was second by a neck over Dream Bigg.
Cartels Star Daddy was claimed when he was dropped into the $7,500 claiming race after running in the Dona County Stakes at Sunland Park. He is now three-for-three since the claim.
The gelding was third in the $210,000 New Mexico Classic Derby last fall at Sunland Park.
The son of Big Daddy Cartel now has six wins from 16 starts.
$50,000 Road Runner Handicap
Larry and Harry Teague’s Rig Time, smartly ridden by Frank Reyes, was able to save ground and rally on the inside to gain a decisive lead in the stretch and win the Road Runner Handicap with a 1:03.53 time.
Golden Band, who also made a late rally, finished second while never threatening the winner. He was one-and-three-quarter lengths behind Rig Time. Early leader Hollywood Henry was two-and-one-half lengths behind Golden Band for third.
The Right Rigger-sired Rig Time came into the Road Runner after only four career starts and gained his second win. The Weston Martin-trained gelding won his maiden in March at first asking.
Since that maiden victory, Rig Time ran in conditioned allowance races before stepping up to the stakes level in the Road Runner Handicap.
$50,000 Zia 870 Championship
Three-year-old and older thoroughbreds and quarter horses
Derrell Riggan’s Dm Nate Dog held off the late charge of Weappear, the only thoroughbred in the race, to win the Zia 870 Championship by neck at 25-1 odds.
Super Quintons was another one length back in third.
Dm Nate Dog, ridden by Raul Herrera, took the lead entering the turn and had a clear lead at the top of the stretch. Weappear then made his expected late run on the inside of the track and was still closing at the finish.
A gelding by Gonna Ro Sham Bo, Dm Nate Dog was timed in :45.775.
The Cliff Lambert-trained Dm Nate Dog scored his first win since taking an 870-yard allowance race against state-breds back in December at Zia Park. He had been racing against open company in his four starts between that win and the Zia 870 Championship.