Zia Festival Recap

A look at the four American Quarter Horse stakes contested at Ruidoso Downs on Sunday.

Q-Racing Journal

Fastest qualifier Percyjones (number 6) earned his first stakes win in the Zia Derby, one of four New Mexico-bred Quarter Horse stakes run at Ruidoso Downs on Sunday. PHOTO: Gay Harris

After qualifying for two New Mexico-bred futurities earlier this year, Too For Two's Bigg Daddy got his picture taken after Sunday's 400-yard, $370,820 Zia Futurity (RG1) at Ruidoso Downs.

 
Bigg Daddy (number 6) held off Jesse
Lane at the wire to win Sunday's Zia
Futurity. PHOTO: Gay Harris

Prepped by Wes Giles and ridden by G.R. Carter Jr., Bigg Daddy defeated Jesse Lane by three-quarters of a length in :19.929. The $155,745 winner's share of the purse -- the largest of Sunday's 10 state-bred stakes (including six Thoroughbred races) -- increased the Big Daddy Cartel gelding's earnings to $209,018.

Bigg Daddy was bred by Mac and Janis Murray's MJ Farms of Veguita, New Mexico. The gelding's dam, the First Down Dash mare Alice K White, was the sport's champion 3-year-old filly in 2009, and he is a half brother to 2015 champion sophomore filly Astica.

Bigg Daddy's second dam, the Lanes Leinster mare Champagne Lane, won the 1996 Diamond Classic Futurity (RG1) in Wyoming. The sixth-fastest qualifier to the Zia Futurity he sold for $25,000 at last year's Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale.

Bigg Daddy has won three of six starts, and he was a finalist in the April 8, 300-yard New Mexican Spring Futurity (RG2) at Sunland Park, and the June 17, 350-yard Mountain Top Futurity (RG3) at Ruidoso Downs.

Hy Ho Harvey finished third and was followed by Miles Of Flash, Jesse Klee, Riverside Flash, fastest qualifier A Passion For Flashn, Tempting Star Gazer, and Jessa Diva. First N Forever was scratched.

Zia Derby (RG2)
Terry and Irene Stennett's Percyjones was a prompt 11-10 favorite in Sunday's 400-yard Zia Derby (RG2).

Ridden by Ricky Ramirez for trainer Trey Wood, Percyjones defeated 5-2 second choice Running Dragon by one length while tripping the timer in :20.081. The $73,922 winner's share of the stakes-record $176,005 purse bumped the Jesse James Jr gelding's bankroll to $241,972 from nine outs.

Percyjones was acquired by the Stennetts as a yearling for $35,000 at the 2015 New Mexico-Bred Sale at Ruidoso Downs. The gelding was bred by Benny and Donna Smith and is out of Maggies Miracle Lx, a winning daughter of champion Dean Miracle and a finalist in the '03 New Mexico State Fair Senorita Futurity (RG3) at Albuquerque Downs.

The fastest qualiifier, Percyjones made his return to New Mexico with a one-length win in the last of four Zia Derby trials on July 15. He had been racing in Oklahoma and Texas, where he ended his 2-year-old campaign with a third-place finish, a neck behind winner High Plains Perry, in the 400-yard, $1-million Texas Classic Futurity (G1) at Lone Star Park.

Moonshine Milly and Mitey Man finished in a dead heat for third, 1 3/4 lengths behind Bigg Daddy. A Sure First, Pj Runaway Bunny, Me Like Daddy, Altitude Project, Yudes Jess Dashin, and Mystic Daddy completed the order of finish.

Zia Handicap (RG2)
Making just his second start against aged runners, longshot First Kool Moon sprinted to a neck victory in the $50,000 Zia Handicap (RG2) on Sunday.

First Kool Moon covered 400 yards in :20.078 and returned a $24.60 win mutuel. Rodrigo Vallejo rode the 3-year-old son of champion First Moonflash for owner Jose Luis Ozuna and trainer Judd Kearl.

Mike Abraham of Bosque, New Mexico, bred First Kool Moon, who was coming off of a fifth-place finish in a 400-yard open-condition allowance at Ruidoso on June 19. The brown gelding has won four of 10 starts and has earned $66,155, of which $53,027 has been pocketed this year, and his race record includes a third-place finish, 1 1/4 lengths behind winner Running Dragon, in the January 15, 400-yard Shue Fly Stakes (RG2) at Sunland Park.

Seeyalateralligator, the 7-2 second choice, finished second to complete a $2 exacta payoff of $181.40. Major Bites finished third, a half of a length behind First Kool Moon, and was followed by Machismo Moon, Too Flash For You, Dm Ada Kat, Flash Theory, 3-2 favorite Magnifico Dragon, and Carson City Girl.

Zia 870 Championship (R)
Reigning distance champion Coronas Boy earned the first win of his 8-year-old campaign in Sunday's $50,000 Zia 870 Championship (R).

Racing for Victor M. Diaz, Coronas Boy went 870 yards in :46.298, and his margin of victory was a neck from D E Wagons Strawfly. Jose Ortiz rode the homebred gelding for trainer Martin Orona Jr.

Coronas Boy has won 11 of 38 races, and he ended his 2016 season with a wire-to-wire, two-length victory as the 4-5 favorite in the New Mexico Cup 870 Championship (R) at Zia Park on October 30. The gelding has won six stakes while racing exclusively in New Mexico, and the $30,000 winner's share of the Zia 870 Championship purse pushed his bankroll to $553,426.

Tag Yur It ran third, 1 1/2 lengths behind Coronas Boy. Wyatt (TB), Weappear (TB), Swiss Chris, Oly Oly In Free, and Jess Excessive completed the order of finish.

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