New Mexico-Breds Take the Spotlight in Zia Festival

Ruidoso Downs will present four Quarter Horse stakes on Sunday.

New Mexico Horse Breeders' Association

A Passion For Flashn is pictured here winning his Zia Futurity trial. The colt is one of 10 New Mexico-bred juveniles entered back in Saturday's final. PHOTO: Gay Harris

Ten stakes for New Mexico-breds -- six for Thoroughbreds and four for Quarter Horses -- will be contested on Sunday, Zia Festival Day at Ruidoso Downs Racetrack.

Sunday’s richest race, the 400-yard, $370,820 Zia Futurity (RG1) for 2-year-old Quarter Horses, has drawn a full field of 10, topped by fastest qualifier A Passion For Flashn. Trained by Martin Orona Sr. for owner RC Racing LLC, the brown son of champion First Moonflash is coming off of a dominating 3 1/2-length victory in the seventh of 10 Zia Futurity trials on July 15.

A Passion For Flashn was a $6,500 yearling purchase at last year’s New Mexico-Bred Sale. The colt has earned $36,560 from five outs, and his resume includes a fourth-place finish, 1 1/4 lengths behind winner Daddys Blushing, in the 350-yard, $393,000 Mountain Top Futurity (RG3) at Ruidoso Downs on June 17.

Mauro Salcedo will ride A Passion For Flashn from post 5. The colt’s nine opponents include Bigg Daddy, a gelded son of Big Daddy Cartel and 2009 AQHA champion 3-year-old filly Alice K White. Trained by Wes Giles for owner Too For Two, Bigg Daddy is a half brother to 2015 champion sophomore filly Astica, and he was a $25,000 buy at last year’s Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale.

Bigg Daddy has banked $53,273 from five races, and he ran third, one length behind Daddys Blushing, in the Mountain Top Futurity. Bigg Daddy drew post 6 and will be ridden by G.R. Carter Jr.

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds:
Miles Of Flash (Esgar Ramirez), 6-1
Tempting Star Gazer (Cipriano Vidana), 9-2
Jesse Lane (Rodrigo Vallejo), 15-1
Jesse Klee (L. Salvador Martinez), 15-1
A Passion For Flashn (Mauro Salcedo), 7-2
Bigg Daddy (G.R. Carter Jr.), 3-1
Hy Ho Harvey (Ricky Ramirez), 8-1
First N Forever (Raul Ramirez Jr.), 20-1
Jessa Diva (Alfredo Sigala), 10-1
Riverside Flash (Adrian Ramos), 12-1

Post time for the first Zia Festival race is 1 p.m. (MDT). Following is a preview of the other three Quarter Horse stakes on the program.

ZIA 870 CHAMPIONSHIP (R)
Purse, $50,000 -- 870 yards
3-year-olds & older
Weappear (TB), a 5-year-old son of Devon Lane (TB) owned and trained by Nancy Summers, will defend his Zia 870 Championship on Sunday.

One of two Thoroughbreds in the eight-horse field, Weappear is coming off of a one-length win in an 870-yard, $30,000 open-condition allowance race for New Mexico-breds at Albuquerque Downs on July 15. The gray or roan gelding’s season record includes a second-place finish, 4 1/2 lengths behind winner Not My Note, in the 4 1/2-furlong, $85,000 Mt. Cristo Rey Handicap (R) at Sunland Park on February 4.

Weappear drew the rail post and will be ridden by Duane Sterling. His seven opponents include Victor M. Diaz’s Coronas Boy, a homebred 8-year-old Mr Houston gelding and the reigning AQHA champion distance horse. A 10-time winner at the 870-yard distance, Coronas Boy drew post 3 and will be ridden by Jose Enrique Ortiz.

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey and weight assignments and morning-line odds:
Weappear (TB) (Duane Sterling, 124), 5-2
Tag Yur It (Ruby Gonzalez, 120), 6-1
Coronas Boy (Jose Enrique Ortiz, 123), 7-2
Oly Oly In Free (Mauro Salcedo, 119), 10-1
Wyatt (TB) (Frank Reyes, 122), 5-1
Jess Excessive (Oscar Cordova, 118), 12-1
Swiss Chris (Esgar Ramirez, 121), 8-1
D E Wagons Strawfly (J. Martin Bourdieu, 122), 9-2

ZIA QUARTER HORSE HANDICAP (RG2)
Purse, $50,000 -- 400 yards
3-year-olds & older
Daniel Balderrama’s Magnifico Dragon, a graded stakes winning 3-year-old son of Zulu Dragon, will make his first start against older sprinters in this race.

 
Magnifico Dragon will face aged
sprinters for the first time in Sunday's
400-yard, $50,000 Zia Handicap.
PHOTO: Coady Photography

Trained by Cynthia Gonzalez, Magnifico Dragon has banked $296,021 from 11 races, and his six wins include a wire-to-wire, 1 3/4-length win in last year’s 400-yard, $310,000 New Mexico Cup Futurity (RG2) at Zia Park. The sorrel gelding’s resume includes a second-place finish, one length behind winner Imperial Eagle, in last season’s 440-yard, $200,000 Southwest Juvenile Championship (G1) at Zia Park.

Magnifico Dragon drew post 5 and will be ridden by Mauro Salcedo.

Seis Menudos, a 6-year-old Southern Corona gelding trained by Michael Megariz III for owner Eloy Humberto Pena, is coming off of a 1 1/2-length win as the 6-5 favorite in the 400-yard, $40,000 Jimmy Drake Stakes (RG3) at SunRay Park on May 26. A one-time $5,000 claimer, Seis Menudos drew post 8 and will be ridden by Raul Herrera.

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey and weight assignments and morning-line odds:
Major Bites (Esgar Ramirez, 122), 8-1
First Kool Moon (Rodrigo Vallejo, 120), 12-1
Machismo Moon (Agustin Silva, 121), 15-1
Flash Theory (Ricky Ramirez, 121), 15-1
Magnifico Dragon (Mauro Salcedo, 121), 3-1
Too Flash For You (Adrian Ramos, 122), 6-1
Carson City Girl (Alfredo Sigala, 123), 10-1
Seis Menudos (Raul Herrera, 124), 7-2
Seeyalateralligator (L. Salvador Martinez, 124), 9-2
Dm Ada Kat (G.R. Carter Jr., 120), 20-1

ZIA DERBY (RG2)
Purse, $176,005 -- 400 yards
3-year-olds
A full field of 10 sophomores has been entered back in this race, which will offer a stakes-record purse.

Running Dragon, the 3-1 morning-line favorite, is trained by Juan M. Gonzalez for owner By By JJ LLC. A homebred gray daughter of Zulu Dragon, the filly has won three graded stakes this season, including the January 15, 400-yard Shue Fly Stakes (RG2) for state-bred 3-year-olds at Sunland Park. All told, Running Dragon has won 10 of 13 starts and has banked $573,041 while racing exclusively in New Mexico.

Running Dragon drew post 3 and will be ridden by Adrian Ramos. Percyjones, the fastest qualifier, races for Terry and Irene Stennett from the barn of trainer Trey Wood, and the Jesse James Jr gelding is coming off of a one-length victory as the 3-10 favorite in the last of four Zia Derby trials on July 15.

Percyjones has won five of eight outs and has earned $168,050, and he ended his 2-year-old campaign with a third-place finish, a neck behind winner High Plains Perry, in the 400-yard, $1-million Texas Classic Futurity (G1) at Lone Star Park. The sorrel gelding drew post 6 and will be ridden by Ricky Ramirez.

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds:
Mystic Daddy (Larry Payne), 8-1
Pj Runaway Bunny (Agustin Silva), 15-1
Running Dragon (Adrian Ramos), 3-1
Moonshine Milly (G.R. Carter Jr.), 10-1
Mitey Man (Raul Ramirez Jr.), 6-1
Percyjones (Ricky Ramirez), 7-2
A Sure First (Tanner Thedford), 12-1
Yudes Jess Dashin (L. Salvador Martinez), 15-1
Altitude Project (Oscar Cordova), 20-1
Me Like Daddy (Jose Alvarez), 9-2

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA Racing on Twitter, "like" Q-Racing on Facebook, and visit www.aqha.com/racing.