A field of 10 older quarter horses will go to post in the Grade 1, $200,000 Zia Park Quarter Horse Championship, the headline event of a big day of racing for shortliners on Sunday at Zia Park.
The 5-to-2 morning line favorite in the Championship is Major Bites, owned by Israel Bordier and trained by Jesus Carrete. The 5-year-old gelded son of Jesse James Jr is a multiple stakes winner and a three-time winner locally, most recently scoring an impressive win in the New Mexico Classic Championship on Nov. 4.
Major Bites is scheduled to break from post 3 in the Championship under jockey Jose Aldavaz. The race will be run at the classic distance of 440 yards and has a scheduled post time of 4:03 MTN as the 10th race on the program.
In addition to his most recent stakes triumph, Major Bites has also earned success in stakes company last summer at the Downs at Albuquerque, where he won the First Moonflash Maturity. Earlier this year, he also captured both the Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap as well as the Dona Ana County Stakes at Sunland Park.
In all, Major Bites has nine wins from 25 starts and earnings topping $551,000.
Major Bites figures to face stiff competition shipper Jess Bein The Hero, a winner of five straight races and a perfect 2-for-2 at the distance.
Here's the link to the full entries for the Zia Park Quarter Horse Championship, courtesy of Equibase: http://www.equibase.com/static/entry/ZIA120218USA10-EQB.html
Listed at 8-to-1 on the morning line, the Texas-bred son of Valiant Hero has recent stakes wins at Fair Meadows Tulsa, as well as Sam Houston Park and Evangeline Downs. A 10-time winner from 13 lifetime starts and earnings of $152,000, the Josue Ponce-trainee will be ridden by Manuel Gutierrez.
The 3-to-1 second choice on the morning line, Sf Hot Pass, is hamstrung on the also-eligible list, meaning the son of Ivory James would need help from scratches in order to make the body of the race. Trained by Jackie Riddle for owner Stormy Fisher, Sf Hot Pass has won four straight races, including three stakes in a row at Lone Star Park. He did break his maiden in his only start at Zia Park in Sept., 2016.
Hollywoodcrown leads strong field in Fillies and Mares Championship
Facing her own kind for the first time in at least 15 months, Hollywoodcrown appears to be sitting on a big effort in the New Mexico Quarter Horse Fillies and Mares Championship at Zia Park.
Owned and trained by Fred Danley, Hollywoodcrown is a 5-time winner from 17 career starts. The daughter of Heza Major Scooter most recently finished second over this course in the New Mexico Classic Cup Derby. Prior to that, she was second best in the New Mexico Breeders' Derby at the Downs at Albuquerque. The 3-year-old filly has only missed the board twice in her career and has been no worse in each of her last 12 starts.
Hollywoodcrown has been installed as the 5-to-2 morning line favorite in the 400-yard Fillies and Mares Championship, which will go as the 7th race on the card, scheduled to go postward at 2:42pm MTN. Hollywoodcrown will be ridden by her regular pilot Porfirio Cano and will break from post 2 in the 10-horse field.
Here's the link to the full entries for the New Mexico Quarter Horse Fillies and Mares Championship, courtesy of Equibase: http://www.equibase.com/static/entry/ZIA120218USA7-EQB.html
The main rival to Hollywoodcrown may be to her immediate inside. Mamacita Cartel, the 7-to-2 second choice on the morning line has herself also finished second in her most recent stakes efforts, including a local runnerup effort in the Grade 1 New Mexico Classic Cup Championship and at the Downs at Albuquerque, finishing second behind Major Bites in the First Moonflash Maturity.
A five-time winner from 15 lifetime starts, Mamacita Cartel is owned by David Bloomer. She will be ridden once again by Edgar Martinez for trainer Cynthia Gonzalez.
Three other stakes races are scheduled for the Sunday program at Zia Park, including the 870-yard King Rick Rack Stakes, the Grade 2 Lovington Stakes and the Grade 1 Southwest Juvenile Championship. Entries for the entire Sunday card can be found right here: http://www.equibase.com/static/entry/RaceCardIndexZIA120218USA-EQB.html
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