Zia Futurity, Derby Trials Set for Saturday

A total of 120 New Mexico-bred 2- and 3-year-olds will race Saturday at Ruidoso Downs.

New Mexico Horse Breeders' Association

Running Dragon, pictured here winning the New Mexican Spring Futurity at Sunland Park, is one of 87 state-bred juveniles entered in Saturday's 400-yard Zia Futurity trials at Ruidoso Downs. PHOTO: Coady Photography

New Mexico-bred Quarter Horses will take over the spotlight at Ruidoso Downs on Saturday, as the track presents nine Zia Futurity (RG1) trials and four Zia Derby (RG2) trials.

A total of 87 state-bred 2-year-olds, topped by multiple graded stakes winner Running Dragon, has been entered in the 400-yard Zia Futurity trials. The 9-5 morning-line favorite in the sixth heat, Running Dragon has won all four of her outs and has earned $300,768, and her resume includes a half-length victory in the April 24, 300-yard New Mexican Spring Futurity (RG2) at Sunland Park, and a neck win in the 350-yard, $364,000 Mountain Top Futurity (RG3) at Ruidoso Downs on June 18.

Running Dragon is a homebred daughter of Zulu Dragon trained by Juan M. Gonzalez for owner By By JJ Limited Partnership. Jose Enrique Ortiz will ride the filly on Saturday.

Astorga Racing LLC’s Big Spurs, a colt by freshman sire Big Daddy Cartel trained by Ron Stephens, will be ridden by Ivan Carnero from post 7 in the second trial. Big Spurs has banked $73,219 from four races, and her record includes a second-place finish to Running Dragon in the New Mexican Spring Futurity.

Percyjones, a sorrel son of Jesse James Jr racing for Terry and Irene Stennett of Odessa, Texas, is the morning-line favorite in the fifth heat. A $35,000 buy at last year’s New Mexico-Bred Yearling Sale, the gelding is coming off of a second-place finish to Running Dragon in the Mountain Top Futurity.

Percyjones drew post 6 and will be ridden by Ricky Ramirez for trainer Blane Wood.

Stan Munro’s Starz Power, an undefeated homebred Heza Motor Scooter gelding trained by Larry Chavez, drew post 3 in the first trial. Starz Power has won both of his outs, including the 300-yard El Moro de Cumpas Futurity at Douglas, Arizona, on May 22, and he has earned $25,120.

Esgar Ramirez will ride Starz Power in the gelding’s Zia Futurity trial.

The 10 fastest qualifiers will meet in the $400,000-est. Zia Futurity final on July 31.

Saturday’s 400-yard Zia Derby trials have drawn 33 state-bred 3-year-olds. Graded stakes winners Chickaloni, Carson City Girl, and Teana Fay will square off in the first of four trials.

Chickaloni is a homebred Jess A Chicks filly trained by Larry Chavez for owners Ross Hinkins and David Hinkins of Orangevale, Utah. Chickaloni is coming off of a 2-year-old campaign during which she won the 400-yard, $281,000 New Mexico Cup Futurity (RG2) at Zia Park. Albert Medrano will ride the filly from post 4.

Carson City Girl races for David and Sandra Barrett of Alto, New Mexico, from the barn of trainer Fred Danley. The Woodbridge filly will be making her first start since May 13, when she scored a neck victory in the 400-yard, $40,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Stakes (RG2) at SunRay Park. Jaime Parga Leos will ride Carson City Girl from post 5.

A $25,000 purchase at the 2014 New Mexico-Bred Yearling Sale, Teana Fay is trained by Juan M. Gonzalez for owner Jimmy Negrete. The Winners Version filly is coming off of a Sunland Park meet during which she won the 400-yard, $85,000 New Mexico Horse Breeders’ Association Stakes (RG2) on February 28. Teana Fay drew post 8 and will be ridden by J.R. Valenzuela.

Other prominent New Mexico-bred 3-year-olds entered in the Zia Derby trials include Im A Moon Quest, a First Moonflash gelding racing for J. Santos Espinosa and Marc Jungers and the winner of last year’s $380,000 Zia Futurity (RG1); and Mark and Annette McCloy’s Datona Doll, a Jesse James Jr filly who ran third against open company in the June 4, $370,000 Heritage Place Derby (G2) at Remington Park.

The 10 fastest qualifiers will meet in the $150,000-est. Zia Derby final on July 31.

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