Mark and Annette McCloy’s Mister Riptide became a prime contender for the Grade 1, $3-million All American Futurity with a thorough domination of New Mexico-breds in the Restricted-Grade 1 $434,210 Zia Futurity on Sunday afternoon at Ruidoso Downs.
The Sunday program was the second of two days of Zia Festival racing at Ruidoso Downs. Each of the six stakes races on the Sunday program were for New Mexico-breds.
“He’s sound and we’re going to point him at the All American (Futurity) trials,” trainer Trey Wood said. Those 440-yard trials will be contested on August 16-17 at Ruidoso Downs.
The Zia Futurity was over at the start. Mister Riptide started extremely well from the third post position while the horses on each side of him gave Mister Riptide plenty of racing room.
“He stood perfectly in the gate,” jockey Ricky Ramirez said. “You couldn’t ask for a better start. I asked him and he took off.”
Mister Riptide crossed the finish line 2 1/2 lengths in front of $404,357 Mountain Top Futurity winner Colby James. Six Pack Fame was one-half length behind Colby James for third. The winner was timed in :19.687 for 400 yards.
The 11-10 favorite, Mister Riptide has been highly regarded by the Wood operation since his training began last fall on Blane Wood’s operation in Lubbock, Texas. Blane Wood trained last year’s All American Futurity winner Apocalyptical Jess and is Trey’s father.
Mister Riptide, a $22,000 New Mexico-Bred Yearling Sale purchase, started his career with a win in his Mountain Top Futurity trial and then sustained his only defeat when he was fifth in the Mountain Top Futurity.
A handsome gelding by Woodbridge, Mister Riptide came back from that defeat to establish the fastest-qualifying time of :19.483 to the Zia Futurity.
Rex Wells’ Colby James, trained by Rudy Valles, has been a solid stakes competitor. The Jesse James Jr-sired gelding was a close second in the $393,483 New Mexican Spring Futurity at Sunland Park before coming to Ruidoso Downs and taking the Mountain Top Futurity.
Alan Hernandez rode Colby James.
Diamond Racing Stables’ Six Pack Fame was fourth in the Spring Futurity before winning his Mountain Top Futurity and Zia Futurity trials.
The Jose Luis Muela-trained Six Pack Fame was ridden by Sergio Becerra Jr.
Zia Derby (RG2)
David Valdez and Byron Woodard’s No Mires A La Luna held off a bid by Cat Daddys Lil Girl to gain his first stakes victory with a time of :19.558 in the 400-yard, $197,725 Zia Derby (RG2).
No Mires A La Luna, ridden by Raul Ramirez Jr., finished neck in front of Cat Daddys Lil Girl while it was another two lengths back to third-place finisher Woodys Copy Cat.
Trained by K. Trey Ellis, No Mires A La Luna has shown class throughout his 12-race career. Last Labor Day, the gelding was third in the Grade 1, $3-million All American Futurity. The First Moonflash-sired gelding also had a close third-place finish in the 2018 $346,000 Mountain Top Futurity at Ruidoso Downs.
Jimmy Negrete and Jimmy Vasquez’s Cat Daddys Lil Girl, trained by Cynthia Gonzalez, gained her first stakes placing with the strong late run under Mauro Salcedo. She raced in last year’s $396,000 New Mexican Spring Futurity and the Mountain Top Futurity.
Enrique Barrera’s Woodys Copy Cat, also from the Gonzalez stable, won the $315,000 New Mexico Classic Futurity and was third in the $211,000 Shue Fly Stakes.
Manuel Gutierrez rode Woodys Copy Cat in the Zia Derby.
Zia 870 Championship
Victor Diaz’s Dan The Flashman held off a late surge from the Nancy Summers-owned and -trained Weappear (TB), the only Thoroughbred in the race, to win by a decreasing head while posting a :46.377 time in the $50,000 Zia 870 Championship.
The Tony Sedillo-owned and -trained D E Wagons Strawfly, a 10-year-old gelding, was two lengths behind Weappear for third
The Jose Enrique Ortiz-ridden Dan the Flashman made a four-wide move on the turn to gain the lead and appeared to have the race in hand until Weappear made his late bid.
Weappear was also a late-running second in the 2018 Zia 870 Championship.
Dan The Flashman, a 4-year-old gelding by First Moonflash, came off a game head win in an 870-yard allowance race at Ruidoso Downs. The Martin Orona Jr. trainee won back-to-back 870-yard allowance races at Zia Park last fall.
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