Winning Merlot Takes New Mexican Spring Futurity

Filly leads a sweep of the exacta for sire Winners Version at Sunland Park.

Winning Merlot crossed the wire second in her March 14 trial for the $212,450 New Mexican Spring Futurity (RG2) at Sunland Park but became a winner via a disqualification. In the final on Sunday, she needed no such help from the stewards as she prevailed by a half-length in the 300-yard event for New Mexico-breds. Piloted by Francisco Calderon and trained by Jackie Riddle, the daughter of Winners Version earned $99,894 for the victory at odds of 6-1. The winner clocked 300 yards in :15.000 with a 16 mph tailwind.

Bred by MJ Farms out of the Dash Ta Fame mare Marilyn Merlot, Winning Merlot has now banked $104,994 in her two career starts. She became the fourth stakes winner sired by Winners Version and is now the leading earner by the Holland Ease stallion who ran in the 2008 All American Futurity (G1) and won the Hobbs America Derby (G3) the following year. All told, Winners Version qualified to seven Grade 1 races in his career.

Gary Thompson’s Dunagrees Version, a gelded son of Winners Version who came in with two wins from two starts, finished a game second. The Famous Lane filly Midevil Arrow, owned by Isidro A. Hinojos, took third. Fastest qualifier Quemados Version, a colt by Winners Version, lost his path and finished fifth as the 9-10 favorite.

On Saturday at Sunland, Gary Thompson’s Dunagrees Six captured the $45,225 New Mexican Spring Fling (RG3). The Sixes Royal gelding, who was bred by Holy Bucket LLC, dashed 300 yards in :15.144 with Esgar Ramirez up for trainer Emilio Cadena III.

That Blazin Belle crossed the wire second but disqualified and placed ninth for interference. That moved up VGC Brroom to second and Royally Cute to third.

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