Welcome to our extensive and exclusive coverage of the 2017 live racing season at SunRay Park and Casino.
Throughout the meet, we'll provide analysis, previews, features and recaps of all the happenings at your local racetrack.
We'll also have extensive coverage on the radio dial as well, with selections and analysis on FIRST SPORTS and THE FAST TRACK.
Let's see if we can't start the racing season off on a winning note with a play in the Early Pick Four, a 50-cent minimum wager in which you're required to have the winners in Races 2 through 5.
Post time for the second race on Friday, a 350-yard claiming event for older horses racing for a claiming tag of $8,000, is scheduled for 3:24 p.m. (MTN).
One angle I value very much in handicapping races here - especially early in the meet - is the "horse for course" angle, meaning I like to give a little credence to those who have raced, and had success here, in the past.
That said, I'll start off the Early Pick 4 looking closely at #1 FIRST TO MOON YOU and #4 JED EYE WARRIOR.
#1 FIRST TO MOON YOU hasn't been out since a 4th place finish on Feb. 10 at Sunland Park, but his form at that time was good enough to consider. He won his only start here last year, beating open claiming company under Jaime Leos, who once again finds himself aboard the 5-to-2 morning line favorite.
#4 JED EYE WARRIOR hasn't been out since finishing off the board last November at Zia Park. He was a perfect 2-for-2 over the course here last year and appears primed for a big effort from off the bench.
One other horse to consider in the race is #5 SIX EPISODES. He ran well enough last out going 440 yards coming off a brief rest. The turn back in distance should make him a viable contender.
The third race on the card, the second leg of the Early Pick 4, is an 870-yard claiming spot for older horses racing for an $8,000 claiming tag.
#1 STORM CHASOR is back doing what he does best, which is race around the hook. He did nothing at 440 yards last time out in January, but has come back to the races in what appears to be a softer spot, and has hit the board in 13-of-25 starts at this trip.
I believe this is the race which could go a number of ways. If you're able to spread those tickets a bit, consider #4 CHICKSLUVDIAMONDS, #5 WAR KHAL and #6 BLUE SIX PACK.
For a preview of today's $30,000 Animas Quarter Horse Stakes, which goes as the 8th race on today's card, click here:
The fourth race, the third leg of the Early Pick Four, is a 300-yard maiden claiming sprint worth a purse of $7,500.
The two top choices on the morning line might be the safe way to play, #4 BONNIE THE BARFLY seems to enjoy her time off between races, but she might have found a winnable spot here off her third place finish last out.
#5 SWEET YESS FLY showed some improvement in his second lifetime start and it won't require a lot more improvement to be a factor in this spot.
#10 CORONA AND FAME drops back into a maiden claiming spot and also rates a look in a wide open spot.
The final leg of the Early Pick 4, today's fifth race, is a 300-yard maiden sprint for 2-year-olds.
#5 JESSAPOLITICALDIVA, #6 BF FIRESTORM and #10 EAGLE APPROACH appear to be the ones to beat coming off notable debut efforts against futurity trial company at Sunland Park.
THE EARLY PICK 4 TICKET (Top selections in bold, in post position order)
Race 2 - 1,4,5
Race 3 - 1,6
Race 4 - 4,5,10
Race 5 - 5,6,10
Cost of Ticket $27
Good luck at the races.