Q-Racing Blog: Chris Zamora is a Winner

The longtime horseman and his family have always been about winning.

Q-Racing Journal

Trainer Chris Zamora sends out fastest qualifier Mojo Perry in next week's West Texas Derby at Sunland Park.

Chris Zamora has always been about winning races. Actually, the entire family is about winning.

Zamora was right there and supportive when his wife Jamie fought breast cancer and won. She founded and is the continuing powerhouse driving force behind the Pink Days at the New Mexico tracks. Pink Days raise money to battle breast cancer and educated people about the horrid disease. The entire Zamora family is on board and putting in hours of work for these most worthy fundraising days of racing. If a track does not have a Pink Day or equivalent, then they should start one.

On my desk is a cup nearly filled with soda can pop tops that I’ve been collecting since the middle of last summer’s Ruidoso meet. Jamie told me that she was collecting them and they could be used to raise money for children to get free chemotherapy treatments. Jamie talks, I listen.

Chris Zamora has made the transition from jockey to trainer. He officially began riding in 1982 and was first listed as a trainer in 2012. Jamie was a trainer for many of the years Chris was riding and he, of course, rode virtually all of those horses.

Chris Zamora reached the pinnacle of American Quarter Horse racing when he won the $1-million All American Futurity (G1) in '94 aboard Noblesse Six. He has worked for everything he has achieved and shows up for work every day. He retired from riding with 1,231 quarter horse wins, including 88 stakes wins. Also, a body that is evidence of a jockey’s career.

Back in 2008 at Zia Park, Zamora was involved in a spill that nearly killed him. The first person on the scene — outrider Mike “Mitch” Mitchell — told me he thought Zamora was dead. He sustained a fractured skull, four vertebrae, pelvis and all of his ribs. He also had collapsed lungs, a lacerated liver and a compressed heart. Backed by his faith and family, he fought for his life and won. He even continued his riding career.

Now the trainer Zamora is sending out the fastest qualifier, Mojo Perry, in the $162,600 West Texas Derby (G3) at Sunland Park on April 2. Owned by Frosty Gilliam’s LMG Racing, Mojo Perry ran a sensational trial. The key to the filly in many races has been her start. Zamora had also added a flipping halter in the race before her trial.

Mojo Perry got a good start in her trial, and she can finish. The daughter of Mr Jess Perry steadily drew away to win by 1 3/4 lengths and recorded the top time of :19.644 for 400 yards.

It was also the first time that L. Salvador Martinez rode Mojo Perry.

“Sal did an excellent job,” said Zamora. “He just left her alone.”

Zamora believes having three weeks between the trials and finals will be to Mojo Perry’s advantage.

“I think it takes more time for a filly to get back into shape," he said. "Colts and geldings can come back quicker."

Mojo Perry didn’t miss a meal and returned to the track three days after the impressive trial victory.

 “I’m looking forward to the final,” said Zamora. “If she gets a break she’ll be alright, and Sal knows her. It would be great for her to get some graded stakes black type.”

The filly has also matured.

“It seems that all of a sudden she just grew up (mentally),” said Zamora.

 Zamora is also looking forward to the summer at Ruidoso Downs and the 440-yard derbies — the $1.2-million Rainbow Derby (G1) and the $1.5-million All American Derby (G1).

“I really think that she will like the extra 40 yards," Zamora said. "She showed that in her (West Texas Derby) trial."

The Zamora stable had an excellent day during the West Texas Derby trials. In addition to fastest qualifier Mojo Perry, they had the 12th and 13th fastest qualifiers.

Inaugurated in 1964, the West Texas Derby has been won by such horses as Hank’s Dial Doll, Little Blue Sheep, Real Wind, Love N Money, Kendall Jackson and PJ Chick In Black.

If Mojo Perry wins, it would be a big win for a family of winners.

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