Champion Astica Headlines Lou Wooten Sydney Valentini Handicap

The mare is the 8-5 morning-line favorite at Sunland Park.

New Mexico Horse Breeders' Association

MJ Farms' Astica will tote high weight of 130 pounds in Saturday's Lou Wooten/Sydney Valentini Handicap for New Mexico-bred distaffers at Sunland Park. PHOTO: Coady Photography

Astica, a homebred 4-year-old daughter of Jesse James Jr racing for Mac and Janis Murray’s MJ Farms and last year’s AQHA champion sophomore filly, has been assigned high weight of 130 pounds for Saturday’s 400-yard, $85,000 Lou Wooten/Sydney Valentini Handicap (RG1) at Sunland Park.

Astica is coming off of a dominating 3 1/4-length victory in the 400-yard, $140,000 New Mexico Filly and Mare Championship (RG1) at Zia Park on November 23. All told, the mare has won nine of 13 starts and has earned $392,923.

Astica drew post 6 and will be ridden by Salvador Martinez.

Princess Jesse, a homebred 3-year-old Jesse James Jr filly owned and trained by Vance Mikkelson of Belen, New Mexico, drew post 2 and will be ridden by Alfredo Sigala. Princess Jesse will be making her first start since September 25, when she scored a wire-to-wire, 1 1/4-length win in the 400-yard New Mexico State Fair Breeders’ Derby (R) at Albuquerque Downs.

Other contenders include Get Down Bambi, the runner-up to Astica in last year’s Lou Wooten/Sydney Valentini Handicap. A 6-year-old Get Down Perry mare owned and trained by Jaime G. Aldavaz Sr., Get Down Bambi has earned $71,149 from seven outs this season.

Get Down Bambi drew post 7 and will be ridden by J.R. Valenzuela.

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey and weight assignments and morning-line odds:
My Royal Highness (Bonifacio Perez, 123), 12-1
Princess Jesse (Alfredo Sigala, 125), 5-1
BL Corona (Raul Herrera, 124), 6-1
Sweet Splenda (Jose Luis Enriquez, 123), 10-1
Sixie Won (Adrian Ramos, 121), 20-1
Astica (Salvador Martinez, 130), 8-5
Get Down Bambi (J.R. Valenzuela, 125), 8-1
Teana Fay (Jaime Parga Leos, 123), 12-1
Corona Southerndream (Daniel Ruiz Amaya, 124), 10-1
Sandys Jesse (Esgar Ramirez, 124), 5-1

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