Running Dragon Returns in Lou Wooten/Sydney Valentini Handicap

The multiple graded stakes winner is the 5-2 morning-line favorite for Saturday's feature race at Sunland Park.

New Mexico Horse Breeders' Association

Running Dragon, pictured here winning the November 22 New Mexico Filly and Mare Championship at Zia Park, is one of a dozen state-bred distaffers entered in Saturday's Lou Wooten/Sydney Valentini Handicap at Sunland Park. PHOTO: Coady Photography

A full field of a dozen New Mexico-bred distaffers, topped by morning-line favorite Running Dragon, has been entered in Saturday’s 400-yard, $85,000 Lou Wooten/Sydney Valentini Handicap (RG2) at Sunland Park.

Trained by Juan Carlos Gonzalez for the By By JJ LLC of El Paso, Texas, Running Dragon will be facing fillies and mares again off of her 10th-place finish in the 400-yard, $85,000 Jess Burner Memorial Handicap (RG1) on December 16. The homebred 3-year-old daughter of Zulu Dragon has earned $322,009 from nine starts this season, and her four wins include a neck victory in the 400-yard, $140,000 New Mexico Fillies and Mares Championship (RG1) at Zia Park on November 22.

Running Dragon drew the rail post and will be ridden by Adrian Ramos. Other prominent contenders include Mikkelson Racing LLC’s Princess Jesse and Daniel Nunez’s Princess Jessie Jane. Princess Jesse is a homebred daughter of Jesse James Jr trained by Vance Mikkelson, and the 4-year-old mare ended her sophomore season with a three-race winning streak that include a neck victory in the 400-yard, $85,000 Lou Wooten/Sydney Valentini Handicap.

Alfredo Sigala will ride Princess Jesse from post 7.

Princess Jessie Jane is coming off of a second-place finish to Running Dragon in the New Mexico Fillies and Mares Championship. Trained by Jose Luis Muela, the 3-year-old Jesse James Jr filly has banked $111,103 from six outs this year, and her season resume includes a second-place finish, a half of a length behind winner Yudes Jess Dashin, in the 440-yard, $210,000 New Mexico Cup Derby (RG2) at Zia Park on October 29.

Princess Jessie Jane drew post 8 and will be ridden by Jose Luis Enriquez.

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey and weight assignments and morning-line odds:
Running Dragon (Adrian Ramos, 126), 5-2
Lady Version (Edgar S. Martinez, 122), 15-1
First Moon Fire (Jaime Parga Leos, 122), 15-1
Sixie Won (Mauro Salcedo, 122), 12-1
First Vegas Moon (Manuel Gutierrez, 122), 10-1
Buildem Fast (Luis A. Apodaca, 123), 10-1
Princess Jesse (Alfredo Sigala, 125), 4-1
Princess Jessie Jane (Jose Luis Enriquez, 125), 5-1
Straw Fly Flower (L. Salvador Martinez, 122), 15-1
Carson City Girl (Esgar Ramirez, 124), 6-1
AE-Frost Dalena (Sergio Becerra Jr., 122), 15-1
AE-Call Me A Blazn Chic (Jaime Parga Leos, 121), 20-1

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