New Mexico Cup headlines Sunday at Zia Park

Race One -- $140,000 New Mexico Classic 870 Championship
#2 DE WAGONS STRAWFLY is the 5-to-2 morning line favorite. An 11-time winner from 44 career starts, the son of Genuine Strawfly Bay is winless since a state-bred allowance score at SunRay last May, but has finished no worse than fourth in any race dating back to 2014. The Tony Sedillo trainee has won 10 times from 35 starts at the distance.
Give a long look to a horse trying this distance for the first time in #3 MACHISMO MOON for trainer Seth Ferguson and jockey Mauro Salcedo. Listed at 6-to-1 on the morning line, the son of Heza Motor Scooter hasn't raced since finishing off the board in the Grade 1 All American Derby at Ruidoso last month. The stakes-placed runner is facing significantly softer in this spot and could relish the opportunity to tackle the new distance.

Race Two -- $140,000 Distaff Sprint Championship
#4 DIABOLICAL DAME (shown above) deserves to be a very short price on the morning line. The even-money favorite is looking to win this race in back-to-back years. Last year, she scored easily in this spot, winning by more than six lengths. The daughter of Diabolical has won three of her last four for trainer Todd Fincher and appears to be sitting on another peak effort under Roimes Chirinos.

Race Three -- $140,000 Lassie Championship
#3 FAST GATOR (shown above) is looking to remain unbeaten in three starts for trainer Henry Dominguez and owners Kirk and Judy Robison.The 2-year-old daughter of Diabolical won both of her career starts last summer at Ruidoso Downs, including a stakes win in the Rio Grande Senorita Futurity over Orogrande, who will break from the inside post in the 11-horse field.Fast Gator is the 5-to-2 morning line favorite in the 6-furlong Lassie and will be ridden by Ry Eikleberry.  

Race Four -- $140,000 Juvenile Championship
#9 ON THE LOW DOWN took on open company last time out and faded to sixth in the Governors Cup Stakes over this course earlier this month. The son of Dome had finished no worse than second in six starts against state-bred company prior to that dull effort. Trained by Todd Fincher, he does figure to run better against more realistic company. He is the 5-to-2 morning line favorite and will again be piloted by Tracy Hebert.
I'm going to give a long look to the second choice on the morning line #4 HOLLYWOOD HENRY. The Henry Dominguez-trained son of Roll Hennessy Roll scored an impressive win over this course against state-bred allowance types and may relish the added distance.

Race Five -- $170,000 Rocky Gulch Championship
#4 CARSON CITY GIRL is the 3-to-1 morning line favorite, coming off a stellar effort when finishing second behind Jessies First Down in her most recent start, facing open company in the Albuquerque Fall Championship. The Fred Danley-trained daughter of Woodbridge is a multiple stakes winner and earner of more than $324,000.
I'm going to take a big look at #10 PRINCESS JESSE (above), coming off an allowance score last month at Albuquerque. Listed as the 7-to-2 second choice on the morning line, Princess Jesse is a multiple stakes winner in her own right. The Vance Mikkelson-trained daughter will get the services of jockey Esgar Ramirez in the irons for the first time in this spot. She's won over the course in the past, has been in the winners circle in five of her last six starts. Her main foe could be the 440-yard distance, at which she has never competed.

Race Six -- $140,000 Derby Championship
#4 MR. MOOCH is the lukewarm 7-to-2 morning line favorite, coming off a pair of stakes wins this past summer at Ruidoso Downs. The Mike Barber-trained son of Tin Can Sailor has won five of seven lifetime starts, but may be facing the toughest challenge of his career.
I'm going to look for a hint of a price with #3 MY MIRAGE (above) for trainer Dick Cappellucci, who will be piloted by Ry Eikleberry. A sharp winner of the Casino at the Downs Derby last month at Albuquerque, the son of Diabolical is seeking his fourth win from seven career starts. He'll have to show he can deal with what's expected to be a fast early pace. Eikleberry was aboard this colt when he broke his maiden last year in his career debut at Sunland Park.  

Race Seven -- $140,000 Oaks Championship
#2 SIPPIN may be the one of the shortest priced winners on the card if she runs to any of her most recent races. The Todd Fincher trainee has been no worse than third in nine lifetime starts and is a perfect 2-for-2 at Zia Park. The daughter of Swissle Stick was a tough luck second at short odds last time out in the NM Breeders' Oaks last March at Sunland. She's run well fresh and appears to have a distinct class edge here.

Race Eight -- $170,000 Sprint Championship
#2 CITIZEN GELLER (above) is versatile enough to win at several different distances, comes into the race riding a three-race win streak and has run well in the past over the course. The 5-to-2 morning line favorite comes off a hard-fought win at Albuquerque Downs last time out and is nearing $300,000 in career earnings.
Look for a big effort from #7 PERTY DIRTY DUDE, making his second start off a long layoff for trainer Dick Cappelucci. No worse than third in each of his last 12 starts, he closed a ton of ground to just miss in his most recent start over this course last time out, and should be aided once again by a quick early pace.

Race Nine -- $180,000 Classic Cup Championship
is the tepid morning line favorite at 9-2 odds. The son of Attila's Storm is one of five starters trained by Todd Fincher, and he may appreciate the added distance of this spot. He will be ridden once again by Roimes Chirinos while seeking his third win from as many starts over the course.
I'm looking for a big effort from another Fincher-trained runner, #4 HUSH'S STORM. No worse than second in each of his last five starts, the hard-hitting veteran has a liking for this trip and has run well enough over the course despite showing no wins from 11 starts here. Listed at 6-to-1 on the morning line, there will be enough action on several contenders, including two other Fincher trainees #1 STORMING BACK and #12 HIT A LICK, in this spot to assure wagering value. 

Race Ten -- $210,000 Classic Derby
 (above) was a convincing winner in his trial heat for this spot, drawing clear late to win by nearly two lengths under Mauro Salcedo, who gets back aboard for trainer Cynthia Gonzalez. The son of Zulu Dragon has win seven times from 13 career starts and is seeking his second stakes victory. The 7-to-5 morning line favorite is looking to pad his career earnings, which have topped $300,000 for his connections. 

Race Eleven -- $300,000 Classic Futurity
#9 A PASSION FOR FLASHN is still looking for his first stakes win, and has been installed as the 5-to-2 morning line favorite off a good looking trial score earlier this month. There are several contenders in this spot, but I'm going to take a look here at #4 JESSE KLEE, who had a visible excuse three starts back in the Zia Futurity last summer at Ruidoso Downs. The Michael Joiner trainee looked good in his trial win, is reunited with L. Salvador Martinez and may offer a hint of value in a wide open spot. 

Race Twelve -- $170,000 Peppers Pride Championship
 won each of her last two route races, including the Peppers Pride Handicap earlier this year at Sunland Park. The Bart Hone trainee has earned more than $372,000 in her career while winning eight times from 26 career starts. She appears to have a significant class edge over this field, and while she will likely be a short price on the board, she also has yet to win over the course and has lost twice coming off the bench in the past.
#10 TYLERS DIXIE CHICK comes into this race in good form, having hit the board in four of her last five starts for trainer Nancy Summers. Look for her to be closer to a moderate pace under Duane Sterling in the nightcap in hopes of springing a bit of an upset.


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