Wrangler Racing Aces Blog
Thumbs up for Albuquerque Downs!
By Martha Claussen and Denis Blake | September 21, 2016
Successful Albuquerque Downs Meet Concludes with a Huge Weekend
By Martha Claussen
Albuquerque Downs opened its 2016 live racing season on June 25 with many key improvements to the facility as well as the return of night racing to New Mexico. The renovation of the open-air grandstand, upgraded food and beverage offerings and 48-foot Jumbotron have all been well-received by racing fans.
As the 60-day meet nears its conclusion this weekend, handicappers have wholeheartedly endorsed the full fields and look forward to the rich stakes offering for both Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds on the Saturday and Sunday programs.
The ninth race on Sunday is the $224,558 La Fiesta Futurity for 2-year-olds. Trials were contested on September 10 with Machismo Moon setting the fastest time of :19.678 for 400 yards. The son of Heza Motor Scooter has been installed as the 3-1 morning line choice. He is bred by Dosi and Norma Alvarez, whose Handsome Jack Flash won the 2013 All American Futurity (G1) at Ruidoso Downs.
Following that stakes, a quality field of older horses will compete in the 440-yard, $250,000 Albuquerque Fall Championship. Among them are All American Futurity (G1) champion JM Miracle; TF Cajun Cartel; Glock and Osbaldo. AQHA leading conditioner Judd Kearl had nominated Jessies First Down as well as Fly Thru The Fire, but elected to run Jessies First Down in next weekend's Refrigerator Handicap (G1) at Lone Star Park. Jose Alvarez will ride Fly Thru The Fire for King Camden Running Horses. The 5-year-old Walk Thru Fire stallion has not raced since running second in the Sam Houston Classic (G2) on May 7.
In addition to the stakes action, the quest for the leading rider battle will likely go down to the wire with Jorge Bourdieu leading Jose Enriquez by just one win heading into the final weekend of the meet. AQHA champion jockey Ricky Ramirez and veteran stakes-winning pilot Cody Jensen will travel to Albuquerque as well. Ronald Stephens and Adam Tapia are neck and neck in the Quarter Horse trainer standings.
Congratulations to Albuquerque Downs director of racing Don Cook and racing secretary Jim Collins for assembling full fields throughout the meet.
Post time for the final weekend of live racing at Albuquerque Downs is 6:05 p.m. on Saturday, September 24 and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday's finale. Should be a dandy!
JM Miracle Poised for Big Score
By Denis Blake
Albuquerque Downs is set to pay out a track-record $1.25 million in purses over its closing weekend with a total of four stakes for American Quarter Horses and one for Thoroughbreds. Although the $250,000 Albuquerque Fall Championship at 440 yards is not quite the richest of the stakes, it’s certainly among the most intriguing.
This race figures to have a heavy favorite in Zoomin Effortlessly, but with a quality field of older runners in the gate there are some nice upset possibilities.
My top pick is #3 JM Miracle, winner of the 2014 All American Futurity (G1). The gelding by Volcom has been lightly raced since that rich victory but has been consistent with two wins and three seconds in six starts over the past two years. He excels at the 440-yard distance with three wins in five starts, and although he hasn’t run since April, he has performed well off layoffs in the past. At 8-1 on the morning line, he offers some solid value here.
#5 Zoomin Effortlessly would of course be no surprise at all after trouncing the field in the $200,000 All American Gold Cup (G1) at Ruidoso Downs. He normally has more than 21 days between races, and it might be hard to duplicate that big effort so soon and at another track. He’s the most likely winner, but at 6-5 on the morning line it might be better to look elsewhere.
#4 TF Cajun Cartel comes in off a victory at Albuquerque against softer company but has proven in the past to be a top-tier stakes horse. He’s also solid at the 440-yard distance and has hit the board in 12 of 17 career starts.
#10 Osbaldo has done most of his damage against New Mexico-breds, but with four career wins in Albuquerque he merits consideration in any exotic bets.
Wrangler Racing Ace Denis Blake's Selections: 3-5-4-10
Wrangler Racing Aces in September
Visit the Q-Racing Aces page on Facebook or follow them @HorseRacingAces on Twitter for timely updates on Quarter Horse racing across North America. The Wrangler Racing Aces are following the horses, jockeys, trainers and milestones at Los Alamitos, Lone Star Park, Will Rogers Downs, The Downs at Albuquerque, Indiana Grand and Zia Park.
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