FARMINGTON — The old axiom applies.
If you put enough pressure on something, eventually it weakens or begins to falter. On the oppostite end, if no pressure is applied at all, things can spiral out of control.
It's unfair to call Groushy Apadana's win in Saturday's $65,000 Jack Cole Handicap a matter of chaos, but it certainly can be attributed to a heady, wire-to-wire ride under Enrique Garcia in which the 8-year-old gelded son of Mr. Groush earned his biggest career payday.
Getting a front running trip right out of the gate, maintaining a slight lead through internal fractions of 23.48 seconds and 46.98 seconds for the first half-mile, Groushy Apadana got called on for more run as the field began to approach the far turn in the one-mile stakes event for older New Mexico-bred thorouhbreds.
Sent off as the third choice on the board at odds of 4.70-to-1, Groushy Apadana held off several challenges around the final turn and into the stretch before inching away from co-favored On Down The Road in the final yards on his way to a one and one-half length score in the Saturday feature in front of nearly 1,500 fans at SunRay Park & Casino.
Trained by Michael Valdez for 5 Star Racing, Groushy Apadana's final time for the mile was 1 minute, 37.34 seconds. His victory adds $39,000 to his bankroll, which now stands at over $159,000 with his eighth win from 19 career starts.
Just one year and ten days ago, Groushy Apadana was being entered in $5,000 claiming races. In fact, of his two prior races over the SunRay bullring, Groushy Apadana could have been bought for $12,500.
Recent big efforts in the ET Springer Handicap last summer at Albuquerque and the New Mexico University Handicap at Sunland Park last month seemed to indicate the old-timer had some renewed energy to him.
Groushy Apadana's supporters at the windows were rewarded with an $11.40 return on their investment.
On Down The Road and Attitude E Racer, both from the Joel Marr ban, were sent off at identical 9-to-5 prices on the board, with Attitude E Racer the slightest of favorites.
Coming off a pair of wins in the New Mexico Classic Cup at Zia Park and the A Dominguez Memorial Handicap at Sunland Park last year, On Down The Road was third in his most recent start, but seemed primed for a top effort under Carlos Madeira.
On Down The Road was always within striking range, racing three lengths behind the eventual winner down the backstretch. He made a bold move at the head of the lane, but flattened out in the deep stretch, winding up nearly two lengths clear of third place finisher Beau Wizer.
Attitude E Racer was never a threat in the race, finishing seventh under Alfredo Juarez, Jr., while beaten 13 lengths by the winner.
Last year's winner of the Cole Handicap, Our Choice, also raced midpack ealrly on and never launched a bid, finishing a well-beaten sixth under Ry Eikleberry.
For the day, Juarez won two races on the card, scoring in the sixth race aboard Persistantpleasure and the seventh race with Thibodaux
Jockey Macario Rodriguez also brought home a pair of winners. In the fourth race, Rodriguez scored aboard Tango Blue. In the nightcap, Rodriguez rode Desert Gulch to victory.
Two-time stakes winning filly Sandys Jesse has been installed as the 3-to-1 morning line favorite for today's $65,000 Four Corners Senora Stakes, which will be the headline race on a nine-race card set to begin at 12:55 p.m.
Trained by Alonzo Orosco for owner Chin Lee, Sandys Jesse enters the Senora Stakes off a sharp score last time out at Sunland Park in the $85,000 Sunburst Stakes. Prior to that win, Sandys Jesse was a close third in the Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap in March after winning the Grade 2 New Mexico Horsemen's and Breeders' Association Stakes last February.
Sandys Jesse is a five-time winner from 11 starts, with earnings topping $157,000. The daughter of Jesse James Jr. won twice at this course last year, breaking her maiden and winning a trial race for the New Mexico Breeders' Futurity, a race in which she would eventually place fifth.
That fifth-place finish is one of only two starts for Sandys Jesse in which she finished off the board. She ran perhaps the worst race of her career last summer at Ruidoso Downs before rebounding with her current string of races in which she has finished in the top three in each of her last six starts.
Sandys Jesse and rider Tanner Thedford will break from post five and face seven rivals in the Senora Stakes, which is for state-bred quarter horse fillies and mares racing 400 yards with a scheduled post time of 2:07pm.
WDC Wendys Wine is the 4-to-1 second choice on the morning line. She's faced males in her last couple starts, winning a trial heat before finishing third in the Grade 2 Sunland Championship Challenge for trainer Isidro Rodriguez.
For her career, WDC Wendys Wine has won four of 13 starts, with earnings approching $71,000. The daughter of Woodbridge will break from the outside post while making her local racing debut under jockey L.S. Martinez.
The field, from the rail out for the Four Corners Senora Stakes, with riders and morning line odds: Smafricate, L.A. Perez, 8-1; Sparklin Royal, Larry Gamez, 5-1; Desert Delight Cash, Jaime Leos, 6-1; Maggie Get Down, Macario Rodriguez, 8-1; Sandys Jesse, Thedford, 3-1; Gonna Dash, Efrain Vigi, 10-1; Incoho Tes, Manuel Gutierrez, 9-2; WDC Wendys Wine, Martinez, 4-1.