Zia Futurity Trials Draw 109 New Mexico-Bred Two-Year-Olds

Graded stakes winners Jess Fire Chick, Zee James head the list of top contenders.


Jess Fire Chick (black and yellow cap), pictured here winning the Mountain Top Futurity in June, will make her next start in the last of 11 Zia Futurity trials on Saturday. PHOTO: Gay Harris

A total of 109 New Mexico-bred 2-year-olds, headed by graded stakes winners Jess Fire Chick and Zee James, has been entered in Saturday’s Zia Futurity (RG1) trials at Ruidoso Downs.

The 10 fastest qualifiers from Saturday’s 400-yard trials will face off in the $400,000-est. Zia Futurity final on July 29.

Jess Fire Chick is a homebred Jess A Chicks filly trained by Wes Giles for owners Mike Abraham and Paul Blanchard. Jess Fire Chick has won both of her outs, including the 350-yard, $346,000 Mountain Top Futurity (RG3) at Ruidoso Downs on June 16.

Jess Fire Chick drew post 8 and will be ridden by Adrian Ramos in the last of 11 trials.

Zee James will face state-bred juveniles again off of her fourth-place finish, two lengths behind Blue Corazon, in a 350-yard Ruidoso Futurity (G1) trial on May 25. Trained by Wes Giles for owners Robert M. Driggers and Ben Lee Ivey, the homebred daughter of Jesse James Jr has earned $191,974 from three starts, and her two wins include a neck victory as the fastest qualifier and 7-5 favorite in the 300-yard, $396,000 New Mexican Spring Futurity (RG2) at Sunland Park in April.

Adrian Ramos will ride Zee James from post 7 in the eighth heat.

Other prominent state-bred 2-year-olds entered in the Zia Futurity trials include Delighful Moon Flash, Midnite Blu, Jess Versiontino. Delighful Moon Flash is coming off of a second-place finish, a head behind winner CM Rowdy James, in the 350-yard, $97,000 Four Corners Futurity at Albuquerque Downs. The homebred First Moonflash gelding drew post 5 and will be ridden by Adrian Ramos for owner Melvin Neugebauer of Manzanola, Colorado, and trainer Wes Giles.

Midnite Blu races for the Too For Two partnership and is trained by Wes Giles. A gelded son of First Moonflash, Midnite Blu will be making his first start since April 7, when he ran third, three-quarters of a length behind Zee James, in the New Mexican Spring Futurity.

Midnite Blu drew post 4 and will be ridden by G.R. Carter Jr. in the fifth heat.

Jess Versiontino is trained by Gaston Valenzuela for owner Orona Racing LLC. A sorrel son of Winners Version, the colt has banked $26,840 from three starts, and his resume includes a second-place finish in the 350-yard, $121,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Futurity (RG3) at SunRay Park on May 13.

Jess Versiontino drew post 3 and will be ridden by Federico Martinez in the sixth trial.

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