Zee James Returns in New Mexico Cup Futurity Trials

The graded stakes winning filly is one of 69 state-bred juveniles entered in seven heats at Zia Park.

New Mexico Horse Breeders' Association

Zee James will make her next start in Saturday's New Mexico Cup Futurity trials at Zia Park. PHOTO: Coady Photography

Zee James, a homebred daughter of Jesse James Jr racing for Robert M. Driggers and Ben Lee Ivey, is one of 69 state-bred 2-year-olds entered in Saturday’s 400-yard New Mexico Cup Futurity (RG2) trials at Zia Park.

Zee James has earned $216,074 from six starts, and her four 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 on April 7. The bay filly drew post 6 and will be ridden by Adrian Ramos for trainer Wes Giles in the fourth of seven trials.

Legend Of The Vine, the upset winner of the 400-yard, $325,000 New Mexico State Fair Futurity (R) at Albuquerque Downs on September 22, drew post 6 and will be ridden by Justin Shepherd in the third heat. A $57,000 purchase at last year’s Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale, the gray daughter of Big Daddy Cartel is trained by Fred Danley for owner J & SM Inc. of Fort Stockton, Texas.

Other prominent New Mexico-bred juveniles entered in Saturday’s trials include stakes winners Saul and Jess Versiontino. Trained by Wes Giles for owners Jill B. Giles, Megan Hourigan, and Cory Taylor, Saul will be making his first start since May 13, when the gray Sign To Be A Runaway gelding scored a wire-to-wire, 1 1/4-length win in the 350-yard, $121,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Futurity (RG3) at SunRay Park.

Saul drew post 10 and will be ridden by Adrian Ramos in the fifth trial.

Jess Versiontino is a sorrel son of Winners Version trained by Gaston Valenzuela for owner Orona Racing LLC. A $4,000 purchase at last year’s New Mexico-Bred Yearling Sale at Ruidoso downs, the colt has banked $61,895 from seven outs, and his two wins include a half-length victory in the 400-yard, $50,000 By By JJ Stakes (R) at Ruidoso Downs on July 28.

Federico Martinez will ride Jess Versiontino from post 10 in the seventh trial.

The 10 fastest qualifiers will meet in the $300,000-est. New Mexico Cup Futurity final on Sunday, November 4.

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