ALBUQUERQUE — Osbaldo's racing career could best be described as "feast or famine".
Coming into Sunday's $37,000, Grade 3 Lineage Championship at Albuquerque Downs, Osbaldo sported a career line of seven wins from 16 starts, which is quite an impressive feat. He was so good early in his career that he was undefeated in his first six starts, earning top honors as New Mexico's best two-year-old quarter horse.
As a three-year-old, the losses mounted, and they were often off-the-board performances. An eighth-place finish in last year's Jimmy Drake Stakes at SunRay, fifth in the New Mexico Breeders' Derby at Albuquerque and fifth in a separate Derby trial at Zia Park.
This year didn't start much better, but the four-year-old showed some promise winning an allowance at SunRay on May 14th before a better-than-looked sixth-place finish in the Drake Stakes last June.
Sunday, in front of a crowd of over 4,100 fans, Osbaldo and jockey Jose Ruiz feasted on his eight rivals, narrowly prevailing over WDC Wendys Wine in a stirring rendition of the restricted stakes event for state-bred older quarter horses.
Trained by Omar Gutierrez for owner Hubaldo Solis, Osbaldo was arguably one of the top juveniles in the state two years ago after winning multiple stakes races to begin his career. The son of Jesse James Jr only had one win since the start of 2012 coming into the Lineage, but ran well when showing speed before tiring late, beaten just a length in the Drake Stakes at SunRay on June 2.
Osbaldo, sent off at odds of 10.40-to-1, returned $22.80 to his backers, while WDC Wendys Wine, the morning line favorite in the Lineage, now shows four consecutive defeats, beaten less than three lengths in those combined starts.
The win increases Osbaldo's lifetime earnings to nearly $275,000, while picking up his second career win over the course. He ran the 400 yards in a fast 19.34 seconds, missing the track record set by FM Silver Mist in 2011 by just .012 seconds.
My Big Chief rounded out the top three, followed by In Famous Caper, Miracle Snow, Little Bit Southern, Iseeyoustaring, Klassic Strawfly, Maggie Get Down and Incoho Tes.
Miracle Snow, the post-time favorite at odds of 3-to-2, hopped at the start and lost all chance as the gates opened.
In other stakes races on Lineage Championship Day:
Corona Southern Form definitely has called Albuquerque Downs his favorite home.
Earning his second win over this course, and the first stakes win of his career, Corona Southern Form, under jockey Albert Medrano, scored a convincing, three-fourths length victory in the restricted Grade 3 Hard Twist Stakes.
Owned and trained by Martin Perez, Corona Southern Form, a three-year-old son of Southern Corona, was furthest outside a wall of horses as the field passed the 200-yard mark of the 400-yard dash. Always in the hunt from his path, he grudgingly got past the leaders in deep stretch, taking top honors in a final time of 19.88 seconds.
Sent off as the 2.40-to-1 second choice, Corona Southern Form returned $6.80 to win. The connections of Corona Southern Form increased his lifetime earnings to $40,000 while winning for the third time from eight lifetime starts.
There was a dead-heat for the place, as Saturday Nite Romeo and Chicksluvdiamonds couldn't be separated at the finish line. Behind that pair were Dashes Best, Jess Rueben James, who was sent off as the post time favorite, Justified By Chicks, with Easily A Gent rounding out the field.
Chalk up five straight wins for Dats Dee, taking his first career stakes as the son of Storm of Goshen wins the $37,000 John Augustine Stakes at Albuquerque Downs under Casey Lambert.
Dats Dee, trained by Weston Martin for owner K.W. Sharp, raced a bit off the early lead in the 870-yard dash, set by Leave N Legal, who dueled to the far turn with 8-to-5 post time favorite DE Wagons Strawfly.
Dats Dee, who was allowed to save ground from his inside post, quickly assumed the advantage at the head of the lane and was kept to her task to the wire, proving 2 lengths best over DE Wagons Strawfly, winning for the fifth time in his seven-race career. Dats Dee ran the 870 yards in a fast final time of 44.54 seconds.
The Augustine, for state-bred older short liners, is the first time Dats Dee has faced stakes company in his career. With the win, he improves his lifetime earnings to over $65,000. Sent off as the 2.30-to-1 second choice, Dats Dee returned $6.60 for each correct $2 win bet.
Post time favorite DE Wagons Strawfly wound up second, more than two lengths clear of Leave N Legal. He was followed across the wire by Pakea Bay, KC Royal Flush and Big Blaze.
The rail was the place to be for jockey Martin Bourdieu and Lady Secret Dash, who achieved her first career stakes win when taking the restricted Grade 3 Pelican Stakes on Sunday at Albuquerque Downs.
The daughter of Lordly Way picked up her second straight win in taking the Pelican, for state-bred 3-year-old fillies as she inched clear in the final yards from her inside post, defeating morning line favorite SLR Jessies Girl by a length.
Trained by Hector Hernandez for owner Cervando Molinar, Lady Secret Dash ran the 400 yards in 19.64 seconds. Sent off at odds of 2.70-to-1, Lady Secret Dash returned $7.40 to win.
The victory increases Lady Secret Dasher's career earnings to $43,000 while earning her third win from nine career starts.
SLR Jessies Girl narrowly held the place over Get Down Bambi. Behind her was Runaway Lioness, Get PK Down and Mariposa Jet, who flipped in the starting gate prior to the start, rounded out the field across the wire. Aful Alibi, the morning line favorite, was scratched earlier in the day.