Astica Dominates Lou Wooten/Sydney Valentini Handicap

The homebred daughter of Jesse James Jr and champion Alice K White scores her fourth stakes win on Sunday.

Q-Racing Journal

MJ Farms' Astica wins Sunday's Lou Wooten/Sydney Valentini Handicap at Sunland Park. PHOTO: Coady Photography

Astica got back on the winning track with a dominating performance in Sunday's 400-yard, $85,000 Lou Wooten/Sydney Valentini Handicap (RG1) for New Mexico-bred distaffers at Sunland Park.

Racing for Mac and Janis Murray's MJ Farms at Veguita, New Mexico, and sent to post as the 4-5 favorite, Astica led at every call while defeating 18-1 longshot Get Down Bambi by 1 1/2 lengths in :19.428. Salvador Martinez rode the homebred daughter of Jesse James Jr and 2009 champion 3-year-old filly Alice K White for trainer Jason Giles.

Astica was making her first start since November 25, when a less-than-perfect start caused her to finish second to longshot BI Corona in the 400-yard New Mexico Fillies & Mares Championship (RG1), a loss which broke the now 4-year-old filly's six-race win streak. Astica's win on Sunday was worth $51,000, pushing her earnings to $308,923, of which $216,263 was banked during a sophomore season in which she won three stakes, including the 400-yard, $162,000 Zia Derby (RG2) at Ruidoso Downs in July.

Astica's 2015 campaign also included a track-record victory in the 400-yard Pelican Stakes (R) at The Downs at Albuquerque.

Astica returned a $3.60 win mutuel as the odds-on choice in the full field of 10 fillies and mares. Get Down Bambi completed a $1 exacta payoff of $22.50.

Pretty Woody Jesse finished third, 2 3/4 lengths behind Astica. Bankie Bay, Shes A Phoebe, Lady Secret Dash, BI Corona, Sandys Jesse, Genuine Kiss, and Penny Snatchin completed the official order of finish.

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