Zia Festival Recap

Four Quarter Horse stakes were contested at Ruidoso Downs on Sunday.

Q-Racing Journal

Jess Fire Chick kept her record perfect and earned her second stakes victory in Sunday's $409,680 Zia Futurity at Ruidoso Downs. PHOTO: Gay Harris

Ruidoso Downs Racetrack's presented its annual Zia Festival Day on Sunday, as the track ran nine New Mexico-bred stakes -- five for Thoroughbreds and four for Quarter Horses -- worth a total of $950,617 in purse money.

Track management announced attendance at 4,933. A total of $488,544 was wagered on the 10-race program, which opened with a 350-yard, $10,100 maiden-special-weight dash for New Mexico-bred 2-year-olds. On track, $245,967 was wagered.

Following is a recap of all four Quarter Horse stakes:

Zia Futurity (RG1)
Jess Fire Chick, a homebred daughter of Jess A Chicks owned by Mike Abraham and Paul Blanchard, parlayed a sharp break into a half-length victory in the 400-yard, $409,680 Zia Futurity (RG1), the richest race on the program.

Ridden by Agustin Silva for trainer Wes Giles, Jess Fire Chick stopped the timer in :20.148 while racing under rainy skies and against a reported 16-mph head wind. The filly earned $172,065 to push her earnings to $322,040.

Jess Fire Chick has won all four of her starts, all at Ruidoso Downs, including the 350-yard, $346,000 Mountain Top Futurity (RG3) in June.

"She's got a huge heart," said Giles of Jess Fire Chick. "Not as many horses give as much as her.

"I thought going into her first start that she had a good chance to win," the trainer added. "She won, and I keep on waiting for her to get tired, and she doesn't."

Jess Fire Chick is out of Required Fire, a homebred stakes-winning 8-year-old daughter of Walk Thru Fire and a half sister to graded stakes winner One Hot Mecanic. Her second dam, the Jody O Toole mare No Tools Required, won three graded stakes in Texas from 2001-02.

Midnite Blu ran second and was followed by CD Mamas Boy, Regard The Sevens, Sister Sophia, Zee James, Kunde, No Mires A La Luna, June Bug Daddy, and Fireball Flash.

Zia Derby (RG2)
Bigg Daddy is picking up where he left off, as the sorrel son of Big Daddy Cartel and champion Alice K White scored a head victory in the $190,937 Zia Derby (RG2).

Bigg Daddy (pink cap) nipped
fastest qualifier Frankie James at
the wire to win the Zia Derby (RG2).
PHOTO: Gay Harris

Ridden by G.R. Carter, Bigg Daddy covered 400 yards in :19.635. Wes Giles saddled the gelding for the Too For Too partnership.

Bigg Daddy made his 3-year-old season debut with a three-quarter length victory as the 2-5 favorite in a Zia Derby trial on July 14. That race marked his first start since September 4, when he ran second as the fastest qualifier and 8-5 favorite in the 440-yard, $3-million All American Futurity (G1), Quarter Horse racing's richest and most prestigious race.

Bigg Daddy was bred by Mac and Janis Murray's MJ Farms at Veguita, New Mexico. The gelding won four of eight starts, including the 400-yard, $371,000 Zia Futurity (RG1),  and he banked $661,418 during his 2-year-old season.

Bigg Daddy was a $25,000 purchase at last year's Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale. All told, he has won six of 10 starts, including six of eight at Ruidoso, and he has earned $744,013.

Fastest qualifier Frankie James, First N Forever, Siximoons, Vietti, Tempting Star Gazer, Flashy Tres, Nolans Theory, Amsterdams Big Daddy, and Jesse Klee completed the official order of finish.

Zia Handicap (RG2)
Martin Orona Sr.'s Cartels Star Daddy was a prompt 5-2 favorite in the $50,000 Zia Handicap (RG2).

Prepped by Orona, Cartels Star Daddy went 400 yards in :19.607 while aided by a reported 8-mph tail wind. Raul Herrera rode the 4-year-old gray son of Big Daddy Cartel.

Cartels Star Daddy was bred by Jimmy Negrete, and he was claimed by Orona for $7,500 at Sunland Park on March 2. In his first out off the claim, the gelding scored a wire-to-wire, three-quarter length victory in a 350-yard, $26,000 open-condition allowance for New Mexico-breds at SunRay Park on May 4.

Cartels Star Daddy's career race record includes a third-place finish, three-quarters of a length behind winner Yudes Jess Dashin, in last year's 440-yard, $210,000 New Mexico Cup Derby (RG2) at Zia Park. The gelding has won six of 16 races, and the $30,000 winner's share of the purse from his first stakes victory increased his earnings to $133,044.

Cartels Star Daddy also was a finalist in the 2016 Zia (RG1) and New Mexico Cup (RG2) futurities.

First Note Medley finished second, one length behind Cartels Star Daddy, and was followed by Dream Bigg, Seeyalateralligator, First Kool Moon, Cinco Menudos, Mystic Daddy, and Princess Jessie Jane.

Zia 870 Championship (R)
DM Nate Dog, at odds of 25-1 the longest shot in the field of eight distance specialists, led at every call en route to a neck victory in the $50,000 Zia 870 Championship (R) for Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds.

Racing for Derrell Riggan, DM Nate Dog covered 870 yards in :45.775. Raul Herrera rode the homebred 5-year-old Gonna Ro Sham Bo gelding for trainer Cliff Lambert, a member of the Ruidoso Downs Racehorse Hall of Fame and longtime horseman who as a jockey won the inaugural running of the All American Futurity with Galobar in 1959.

DM Nate Dog has won four of 29 starts, including two of four at the 870 distance.

The lone Thoroughbred in the field, Weappear (TB) ran second. Super Quintons, Regards Miracle, 2-1 favorite Big Spurs, Tag Yur It, D E Wagons Strawfly, and Frank N Jesse completed the order of finish.

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