Running Dragon Returns in Mountain Top Futurity Trials

Running Dragon hopes to keep her perfect record intact in Friday's 350-yard Mountain Top Futurity trials at Ruidoso Downs. PHOTO: Coady Photography

Running Dragon, a graded stakes winning daughter of the First Down Dash stallion Zulu Dragon racing for the By By JJ Limited Partnership, is the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the last of 10 Mountain Top Futurity (RG3) trials at Ruidoso Downs on Friday.

This year’s 350-yard Mountain Top Futurity trials have drawn 96 New Mexico-bred 2-year-olds. The 10 fastest qualifiers will meet in the $350,000-est. final on June 18.

Trained by Juan M. Gonzalez, Running Dragon has earned $145,380, and her two wins in as many outs include a wire-to-wire, half-length victory in the April 24, 300-yard New Mexican Spring Futurity (RG2) at Sunland Park. The filly drew post 9 and will be ridden by Jose Enrique Ortiz.

Big Spurs, the runner-up to Running Dragon in the Spring Futurity, drew the rail and will be ridden by Ivan Carnero in the second trial. A gray son of the Corona Cartel stallion Big Daddy Cartel trained by Ron Stephens for Astorga Racing LLC, the colt has banked $58,981 from two outs.

Other prominent juveniles entered in the Mountain Top Futurity trials include Dramatic Moon and Famous Big Daddy. A graded stakes placed son of First Moonflash and a $22,000 buy at last year’s New Mexico-Bred Yearling Sale, Dramatic Moon ran third, 1 1/2 lengths behind Running Dragon, in the Spring Futurity for owners Jose M. Espinosa, Jim Laird, and Ezra Lee.

Dramatic Moon will be ridden by Adrian Ramos for trainer Wes Giles in the fifth trial.

Famous Big Daddy will be making his first start in New Mexico on Friday. A Big Daddy Cartel gelding trained by Kasey Willis for owner Darling Farms, Famous Big Daddy will be making his first start since March 26, when he ran fifth, 1 1/4 lengths behind winner Senator Teller, in the 300-yard, $50,000 Oklahoma Juvenile Invitational Stakes at Remington Park.

Famous Big Daddy drew post 6 and will be ridden by Cesar Gomez in the seventh heat.

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