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Zia Festival Recap

Ruidoso Downs features more than a $1 million in purses for New Mexico-breds.

July 29, 2012

It was all about the money, nearly $1.2-million in purses, during the Zia Festival racing card on Sunday afternoon at Ruidoso Downs, and nearly 10-1 outsider Gonna Cha Cha took the biggest chunk of the cash - $165,912 - winning the $395,028 Zia Futurity (RG1). The 11-race Zia Festival card was filled with stakes races for New Mexico-bred Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds.

Gonna Cha Cha fought in the final 100 yards with The Four Js to win by a head in :19.927 for the 400 yards. It was three-quarters of a length back to third-place finisher Runin Sixes.

Owned by Norma Alvarez, Brenda Alvarez and Debra Laney, Gonna Cha Cha came into the Zia Futurity with only two starts and has stepped forward with each out to remain undefeated. After winning his maiden at first asking on June 3, he improved to take his Zia Futurity trial by two lengths as the 8-5 favorite for trainer Juan Gonzalez.

Bred by Norma and Dosi Alvarez, Gonna Cha Cha became the first stakes winner sired by the Real Runaway stallion Gonna Ro Sham Bo, who won of the 2006 Ruidoso Horse Sale Futurity (RG2).

Runner-up The Four Js, owned by David Barrett with J and SM Inc., won his maiden in his first start when he won his trial by 1 ¾ lengths. He finished fourth in the New Mexican Spring Fling Stakes (R).

Third-place finisher Runin Sixes scored his only win from five starts when he took his career debut on March 2 at Sunland Park. However, he has been on the board in each of his other outs.

It was a sweep for longshots with the one dollar trifecta paying $1,262.60.

In the $140,142 Zia Derby (RG3), Jaime Dominguez’ Fury Of The Storm raced to his fourth straight win and fifth win in his latest six starts with a convincing three-quarter length victory over Caliente Colt. Cheetah Woods was third, a head behind Caliente Colt.

Fury Of The Storm had a clean break and an open path on his way to the win in :19.818 for 400 yards with Esgar Ramirez aboard.

Fury Of The Storm started his winning streak in February when he won the New Mexico HBA Stakes (RG2) and he then won the New Mexico Breeders’ Stakes (RG2) before winning his Zia Derby trial by more than two lengths.

A son of Furyofthewind, Fury Of The Storm was a $2,000 Ruidoso Sale yearling purchase and has now banked $253,193. He was bred by Bill and Sandy Miller.

In the $50,000 Zia Handicap (RG2) over 400 yards, Fredda Draper’s Genuine American held off a determined bid by 13-10 favorite Here Kittykittykitty to get the head victory. Klassic Strawfly was a close third, just a neck behind.

The Carl Draper-trained Genuine American was timed in :19.782 with Esgar Ramirez aboard.

The 8-year-old Genuine Strawfly gelding won an optional-claiming race in February at Sunland Park and then came back to finish a close second behind Here Kittykittykitty in the Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap (RG2).

In the $50,000 Zia 870 Championship (R), Rollickin Red raced to his 3-5 favoritism with a 1 ¼-length romp while scoring his sixth-straight win.

Owned by Rollickin Red Partners and bred by Robert Gentry, the gelding by Roll Hennessy Roll (TB) was timed in :46.124 with Casey Lambert aboard.

Kokopellis Babycakes was second and Affluent Boy finished third in the full eight-horse field.

The Todd Fincher-trained Rollickin Red started his winning streak the first time he raced around the turn, a $12,500 maiden claiming race in February of 2011. He came into the Zia 870 Championship off a win in the New Mexico Horsemen’s Association Handicap (R).