Frankie James is Fastest Qualifier to Zia Derby

The Jesse James Jr gelding was a longshot winner of the last of five trials on Saturday.

New Mexico Horse Breeders' Association

Fastest qualifier Frankie James won the last of five Zia Derby trials on Saturday. Five of the 10 finalists came out of the fifth heat. PHOTO: Gay Harris

Bella A. Valenzuela’s Frankie James outran his 26-1 odds to win the last of five Zia Derby (RG2) trials at Ruidoso Downs on Friday, and the gelded son of Jesse James Jr posted the fastest qualifying time to the July 29 final.

Prepped by Juan Carlos Gonzalez and racing on a muddy and sealed track, Frankie James covered 400 yards in :19.827, and his winning margin was a half of a length from 3-5 favorite Tempting Star Gazer. The lightly raced gelding posted his second win in five starts while increasing his earnings to $28,825.

Frankie James was bred by Randy and Linda Schalla. The gelding was acquired as a yearling for $16,000 at the 2016 New Mexico-Bred Sale at Ruidoso Downs.

Five of the 10 qualifiers came out of the last trial.

Second-fastest qualifier Bigg Daddy made his season debut with a wire-to-wire, three-quarter length win in the fourth heat. Ridden by G.R. Carter for owner Too For Too and trainer Wes Giles, the Big Daddy Cartel gelding went 400 yards in :19.837 for his fifth win in nine races.

Bigg Daddy was bred by Mac and Janis Murray’s MJ Farms at Veguita, New Mexico, and he has banked $663,818. He was making his first start since September 4, when he ran second as the fastest qualifier in the 440-yard, $3-million All American Futurity (G1).

“It was every bit as much fun as it looked,” said Carter. “He won just like you want one to when they are coming back (off of a layoff).”

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