Rex Wells' Bigg Dee, the third-fastest qualifier and 2-1 favorite in a field of nine New Mexico-bred 3-year-olds, got up at the wire to win Saturday's $203,478 Zia Derby (RG2) at Ruidoso Downs.
Ridden by Mario Delgado for trainer James Gonzales II, Bigg Dee covered 400 yards in :19.604 while defeating second-fastest qualifier Fanncee by a nose. The bay son of Big Daddy Cartel earned $85,461 from his first graded stakes win.
“When he broke as well as he did, I knew that it was going to be a good day,” Delgado said. “He just takes him that moment to gather himself, but today he was ready when they kicked the gate."
Bigg Dee was bred by Mac and Janis Murray's MJ Farms at Veguita, New Mexico, and he was purchased by Wells as a yearling for $30,000 at the 2019 New Mexico-Bred Sale. Earlier this year, he ran second, a half of a length behind winner Icy Morning Breeze, in the 350-yard, $91,000 Mountain Top Derby (R) at Ruidoso Downs, and he ended his juvenile campaign with a second-place finish in the 350-yard, $360,000 New Mexico Cup Futurity (RG2) at Zia Park.
"He’s been so close to these good horses for so long that he deserves this,” Gonzales said. “We knew he would excel at 400 yards. He’s just so (physically) big that he needs the extra ground to be successful.”
Bigg Dee has won six of 11 starts, including last year's $50,000 Zia Juvenile Stakes (R) at Ruidoso Downs, and he has earned $198,741.
Hollyn Bootie ran third, a neck behind Bigg Dee. Woodys Gold, fastest qualifier Out N Gone, Icy Morning Breeze, Roll Big River, Leading Cartel, and Eagles And Dragons completed the order of finish. Eighth-fastest qualifier Your Easy Jess was scratched.
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