FARMINGTON — The final two days of the live racing season at SunRay Park & Casino are dotted with a trio of stakes races with a little in store for any type of racing fan.
Today, the quarter horse racing fan will get to see if Sandys Jesse can reclaim her winning ways when she is expected to go off as the favorite in the $65,000 Tommy Duke Smith Stakes, the third race on a 10-race card which will get underway at 12:55 p.m.
Sandys Jesse, a winner in five of her 12 lifetime starts for trainer Ramon Rivera, was tagged right on the wire last time out when finishing second best in last month's New Mexico Breeders' Stakes by Jess Rueben James.
Tanner Thedford once again gets back on the 3-year-old New Mexico-bred filly by Jesse James Jr, who has yet to miss the board in five starts this year, with wins in the April 13 Sunburst Stakes and the New Mexico Horsemens and Breeders Association Stakes on Feb. 17 at Sunland Park.
Listed as the 5-to-2 morning-line favorite for the Smith, Sandys Jesse will break from post 8 in the nine-horse field restricted to state-bred sophomore fillies racing 400 yards.
A major threat to Sandys Jesse may likely come from Aful Alibi and the meet's leading overall jockey Macario Rodriguez.
Listed as the fourth choice on the morning line at odds of 6-to-1 for owner/trainer Gabino Carrillo, the daughter of Genuine Strawfly has been close in both of her starts over the local course, finishing third behind Rebellious Wind two starts back against the boys on April 23, then most recently, again facing males, finishing a close second behind Maggie Get Down in a fast race for the level.
Tackling stakes company for the first time in her career, Aful Alibi is a winner in two of eight career starts and could be an interesting prospect at a hint of a price.
The field, for the Smith Stakes, from the rail out, with riders and morning line odds, looks like this: Get Down Bambi, Jaime Leos, 3-to-1; SLR Jessies Girl, Esgar Ramirez, 4-to-1; A Dashing Chick, 15-to-1; Afame, Jose Montoya, 10-to-1; Aful Alibi, Rodriguez, 6-to-1; Smafricate, Jarell James, 20-to-1; Ms James, Alonso Rivera, 8-to-1; Sandys Jesse, Thedford, 5-to-2; Posies Desiria, Albert Medrano, 10-to-1.
Sunday's closing day program features two stakes races, the $65,000 New Mexico Horsemen's Association Handicap for state-bred quarter horses racing 870 yards, followed by the $75,000 San Juan County Commissioners' Handicap, for older thoroughbreds at one and one-eighth miles.
A field of seven have entered for the Commissioners Handicap, with trainer Henry Dominguez having as many as four eventual starters, including multiple stakes winner Isn't He Clever, listed as the 2-to-1 morning-line favorite.
Rollickin Red, the morning-line favorite in the NMHA Handicap, has won six of his last seven starts for trainer Todd Fincher, including a convincing score in this race a year ago, and most recently, a pair of wins at Sunland Park.
In all, the son of Roll Hennessy Roll has amassed earnings over $250,000 for his owners, the Rollickin Red Partners.
The final day of the season on Sunday will also mark season awards to top riders, trainers and owners.
Jockeys Enrique Gomez and Macario Rodriguez will each win divisional titles, with Rodriguez easily taking the overall title.
Trainers Wes Giles and Henry Dominguez will most likely take home championships in their respective categories, with Dominguez winning the overall title.
Dominguez comes into the final weekend with 27 winners this season, well ahead of trainer Todd Fincher.