Kelly Perez’s Mi Amor Secreto, a 13-1 longshot, scored the biggest win of his career when he captured Sunday’s 440-yard, $300,000 Albuquerque Fall Quarter Horse Championship (G1), one of six stakes contested at Albuquerque Downs during the track’s rich closing-day program.
Mi Amor Secreto made his quarter-mile trip in :20.919, and his margin of victory was three-quarters of a length from Putinical. Jose Alvarez rode the 4-year-old son of The Louisiana Cartel for trainer Marcos Carrizales, who earlier this month won Quarter Horse racing’s richest and most prestigious race, the 440-yard, $3-million All American Futurity (G1) at Ruidoso Downs, with Mr Jess Jenkins.
Political Attraction, the 3-5 favorite and a three-time graded stakes winner during the 2019 Remington Park meet, finished sixth, 3 1/4 lengths behind Mi Amor Secreto after a sluggish start.
”I’m really excited; this win has been a long time coming,” said Perez, who also bred Mi Amor Secreto. “He’s just a special horse.”
Mi Amor Secreto was coming off of a fifth-place finish, 2 1/4 lengths behind winner CDS Wine N Dine, in the 440-yard, $200,000 All American Gold Cup (G1) on a sloppy and sealed track at Ruidoso Downs on September 1.
“I knew he was ready for this race,” Perez said. “I don’t think he liked the mud (in the All American Gold Cup.”
Mi Amor Secreto was winning for the first time in six starts this season, but the gelding had been facing top-flight Grade 1 company. On June 1, Mi Amor Secreto finished second, one length behind winner Political Attraction, in the 440-yard, $250,000 Remington Park Invitational Championship (G1) in Oklahoma.
Campaigned in four states, Mi Amor Secreto has won four of 16 races, and the $157,200 winner’s share of the purse from his second stakes victory pushed his bankroll to $348,737. In addition, the gelding earned a starting berth in the Championship at Sunland Park (G1) in December.
“We’ll take it race by race,” Perez said, when asked about future plans for Mi Amor Secreto. “We have a lot of options. We might come back here in October for the (Grade 1, $250,000) Bank of America Challenge Championship. We’ll see how it works out.”
Hold Air Hostage ran third and was followed by Rarin, Jacky Martin 21, Political Attraction, Howdy James, Hes Limitless, and Major Bites.
Albuquerque Downs paid a total of $1,574,114 in purses for the 10 races, including $1,496,614 in stakes purses. Following is a recap of the other four Quarter Horse stakes on The Downs’ closing-day program, listed in the order they were run.
La Fiesta Derby
Jess Saying earned her first stakes win in Sunday’s 400-yard, $154,552 La Fiesta Quarter Horse Derby for 3-year-olds.
Owned by Jimmy Vasquez and Angela D. Vasquez, Jess Saying defeated Showmethedoe by a neck in :19.658. Alfredo Sigala rode the daughter of 1994 champion 2-year-old Mr Jess Perry for trainer Cynthia Gonzalez.
“She got a pretty good break, and that was it,” said Gonzalez. “I was concerned before the start because a horse next to us was moving around in the gate, but my filly just stood calmly and then did her job.”
Jess Saying was bred by Jerry Windham of College Station, Texas, a longtime breeder of racing Quarter Horses who was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2006. A $27,000 purchase at the 2017 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale, the filly is out of First Down Sixes, a winning daughter of all-time leading sire First Down Dash who ran second in the ’05 Ford Central Juvenile Challenge Stakes (G3) at Canterbury Park in Minnesota.
Jess Saying has won three of 12 starts, and the $77,276 winner’s share of the La Fiesta Derby purse pushed her bankroll to $166,165. The filly’s resume includes a second-place finish, a nose behind winner Eagle Coast, in last year’s Grade 2, $344,000 Hobbs America Futurity at Zia Park.
Whole Lota Cheyenne ran third, a half of a length behind Jess Saying, and was followed by Taking The Stage, Sweet Temptation, New Moon Dynasty, Koolnfabulous, Calipso Cole, Lethal Moon, and Faster Then U.
New Mexico State Fair Derby (RG3)
Sent to post at odds of 6-1, Sister Sophia sprinted to a neck victory in Sunday’s $189,405 New Mexico State Fair Quarter Horse Derby (RG3) for state-bred 3-year-olds.
Ridden by Raul Ramirez Jr., Sister Sophia covered 400 yards in :19.668. Mike Joiner trained the sorrel daughter of Big Daddy Cartel for owners Calder and Candy Ezzell of Roswell, New Mexico, who purchased the filly for $32,000 at the 2017 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale.
“She got a good break, and that’s what we were hoping for,” said Candy Ezzell, who has represented District 56, which includes Roswell, in the New Mexico House of Representatives since 2005. “When she pins those ears of hers back, she goes as fast as she can.”
Sister Sophia was bred by Mac and Janis Murray’s MJ Farms at Veguita, New Mexico. A finalist in last year’s $410,000 Zia Futurity (RG1) at Ruidoso Downs, the filly has won four of nine starts, and the $94,703 winner’s share of the purse from her first career stakes victory increased her earnings to $145,662.
Cat Daddys Lil Girl, the 3-5 favorite in the field of nine, finished second. Freedom Flash, Vintage Vaquera, Delighful Moon Flash, J R Bordeaux, Jess Fire Chick, Winerette, and Jessa Whistlin Dixie completed the order of finish.
La Fiesta Futurity
Trainer Mike Joiner and jockey Raul Ramirez Jr. earned their second stakes wins of the afternoon, as 3-2 favorite One Flying Dynasty captured the 400-yard, $245,946 La Fiesta Quarter Horse Futurity.
Racing for owners Joe David Yates, Richard Young, and Michael S. Bennett, One Flying Dynasty defeated Mister Mucho Gusto by a neck in :19.639. The sorrel son of champion FDD Dynasty banked $122,973 from his second win in four outs and first stakes victory.
One Flying Dynasty was bred in Arizona by Allred Bros. Ranch LLC. A $20,000 buy at last year’s Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale, the gelding is out of One Flying Cookie, a winning daughter of Strawfly Special who ran third in the 2006 Yavapai Downs Futurity (G3) at Arizona.
Campaigned exclusively in New Mexico, One Flying Dynasty has earned $128,333.
Dr Tool, Jimador, Favoriteuntoldstory, Valiant Astica, KJ Kiss This, Movin Dirt, and Book That Mount completed the order of finish.
New Mexico State Fair Futurity (RG3)
MJ Farms’ Donelli, the fastest qualifier and odds-on favorite, won Sunday’s $386,196 New Mexico State Fair Quarter Horse Futurity (RG3) for state-bred 2-year-olds.
Trained by Wes Giles, Donelli went 400 yards in :19.691, and her margin of victory was three-quarters of a length from Apollo Chicks. Alan Hernandez rode the homebred daughter of the Corona Cartel stallion Big Daddy Cartel.
Donelli made her local debut with a dominating 2 1/4-length victory in the second of five trials on September 5.
“This filly has been a hard trier and honest since the first day we gate-broke her,’ said Giles. “We were hoping she would repeat her performance in her trial today, but since her trial she got a hot foot on her and we were only able to put a shoe on it a few days ago. We were really concerned about that.
“But this filly is really game, and our team has worked hard with her to get her to this spot,” the trainer added.
Donelli’s dam, Tres Of Alice, is a winning homebred 8-year-old daughter of champion Tres Seis and a half sister to 2015 AQHA champion 3-year-old filly Astica. Donelli’s second dam, the homebred First Down Dash mare Alice K White, was the sport’s champion 3-year-old filly in ’09.
Donelli has won three of five starts and has earned $208,898. Her record includes a second-place finish in the 400-yard, $50,000 By By JJ Stakes (R) for New Mexico-bred 2-year-olds at Ruidoso Downs on July 27.
Mi Moonflash ran third, one length behind Donelli, and was followed by Finnley, Outta Debt, Crazy Cartel, Easters Regard, Girl With A Plan, Streaks Featured TF, and Daddies Superstar.
NOTES FROM THE DOWNS: The Downs will be dark for live racing until Saturday, October 26, when the track for the first time hosts the American Quarter Horse Association Bank of America Challenge Championships. This will mark the first time since 1993 that Quarter Horse racing’s premier event will be held in New Mexico. That year, the inaugural Challenge Championships were held at Sunland Park Racetrack.