ALBUQUERQUE — The question which handicappers and horseplayers will be forced to tangle with today in the $53,000-added George Maloof Futurity is which version of Poblano will be in the gate when the field reaches the gate in one of five stakes races at Albuquerque Downs.
Poblano, listed as the second choice on the morning line for the Maloof Futurity at odds of 4-1, broke his maiden in a four and one-half furlong dash as easy as he pleased first time out last June at SunRay Park & Casino.
The son of Minister Eric was stretched out to 6 furlongs for his next start in the $100,000 Gold Rush Futurity at Arapahoe Park in Colorado. In that race, the Owen Bringhurst trainee showed pressing speed for a half-mile before fading badly, finishing sixth, beaten more than 11 lengths in a 12-horse field.
Today, making his third career start against what appears to be a bit softer cast, Poblano has a chance to redeem himself when he and jockey Brian Theriot will break from post 6 in the Maloof, which will go as the ninth race in a 12-race program set to begin at 1:30 p.m.
The morning line favorite for the Maloof, restricted to state-bred 2-year-olds, and the most experienced horse in the field is Vernissage, also making his Albuquerque debut for trainer Bart Hone.
Vernissage, with one win and three second-place finishes from five career starts, has the most impressive resume of the field, showing a runner-up effort last April in the Copper Top Futurity at Sunland Park. The son of Going Wild broke his maiden last time out at Zia Park under jockey Alejandro Medellin, who opts to get back aboard this afternoon.
Vernissage will break from post No. 9 and is listed at 3-to-1 on the track's official morning line.
The field for the Maloof, with a post time set for 5:15 p.m., with riders and morning line odds: Beaumont Time, Martin Bourdieu, 8-1; Runawayrick, Celso Rodriguez, 12-1; Up Here, Don Frazier, 5-1; Wild Thunder, John Rochabrun, 10-1; El Maximo, Luis Rodriguez, 12-1; Poblano, Theriot, 4-1; Fiji Gold, Carl Williams, 8-1; Some Dandy, David Cardoso, 10-1; Vernissage, Medellin, 3-1; Drip, Jimmy Coates, 8-1.
Stakes action will also be highlighted today by the restricted New Mexico State Fair Breeders Derby, which will go earlier in the day as the fourth race on the card.
Ofastsoutherngirl, winner of two straight and the fastest qualifier for the Derby when trials were held on Sept. 8, will break from the far outside post in the 10-horse field under jockey Porfirio Cano, and has been installed as the 3-to-1 morning line favorite.
Trained by Fred Danley, the daughter of Southern Corona will be making her 11th career start today and will be trying to run her record over this course to three wins from five starts.
She won her trial heat by one length, getting the 400 yards in a fast time of 19.613 seconds.
Her main rival in the Derby will likely be the one-time win machine Rex Hill and jockey Alonso Rivera.
Trained by Emilio Cadena, Rex Hill rattled off five wins from nine starts as a two-year-old last year. The son of Jesse James Jr has yet to win in five starts this year, with a pair of second place finishes the only highlights of this campaign.
Listed at 8-1 on the morning line, Rex Hill has yet to win in four starts at Albuquerque, but could easily find himself in the winners circle with anything close to his best effort today.
The field for the $49,000-added Breeders' Derby, with a scheduled post time of 2:45 p.m. with riders and morning line odds: Jess My Time, Flavio Lozano, 8-1; Jesses On The Run, Martin Bourdieu, 8-1; Smafricate, Elliott Bachicha, Jr., 12-1; King Kola, Jose Ruiz, 10-1; Balderinas Surprise, Albert Medrano, 5-1; Easily A Gent, Jimmy Coates, 4-1; Ms James S, Manuel Gutierrez, 10-1; Rex Hill, Rivera, 8-1; Vuvu Zela, Benito Baca, 12-1; Ofashionsoutherngirl, Cano, 3-1.
Express In scores in Senorita
A maiden no more, Express In picked up her first career win, scoring impressively in the $62,000-added New Mexico State Fair Señorita Futurity.
Trained by Kristopher Cordova for the Cordova Racing Stables, Express In and jockey Cody Jensen proved much the best in the final 100 yards, taking the lead midway down the stretch in the 400-yard affair after bumping a bit with outsider Mess Can, then inching clear in the final strides to win handily.
Express In finished third in her trial heat for the Senorita, held on Sept. 6. Prior to that, she was beaten a head when second best in a trial race for the Ruidoso Futurity on July 12.
AJ Hardwood finished second, outnodding Felicias Prettylucky for the third spot. Finishing behind those two were Cartier N Capris, Moonlight Whoopie, Mess Can, Miss Tessmocker, My Memory Lane, Flashie Jackie and Zoe.
Express In, sent off at odds of 3.70-to-1, ran the 400 yards in a fast final time of 19.96 seconds and returned $9.40 to her backers.
'Quickness is a gift in Senor Futurity
Downwiththequickness validated his status as the fastest qualifier for today's $76,000-added New Mexico Señor Futuirity with a dominating win under jockey Alonso Rivera.
Bred, owned and trained by Terry Smith, Downwiththequickness established his presence on the lead shortly after the start of the 400-yard dash, putting some distance on his rivals approaching the final yards. The son of Be Real Quick powered home to win easily in a quick final time of 19.62 seconds.
Sent off at odds of 3.50-to-1, Downwiththequickness has now won three straight races, picking up his first stakes win in the process and returning $9 to his backers. The win increases his career earnings to nearly $50,000.
Sassy Moonflash was second, with Threedeewoodee rounding out the top three. Behind that one was Mister Brooks, followed by Mighty Moonflash, Madams First Moon, Wager On Moonflash, Posies K Won and First Place Moonfast. Jess Corona Jr was scratched earlier in the day.
Rey Del Mar pulls 40-1 stunner
In what amounted to a stagger-fest in the final furlong of the $37,000 New Mexico State Fair Breeders' Stakes, 41-to-1 longshot Rey Del Mar scored an improbable upset, outdueling favored Jenson's Miracle in the final yards to win under jockey John Rochabrun.
Making only his fifth career start and coming off a fourth-place finish in a 7-furlong conditioned allowance race 98 days earlier, Rey Del Mar was going fastest of all in deep stretch of the 1 1-16 mile event while the early pacesetters were all getting tired.
The fast pace clearly did in the likes of pacesetter Sight Unseen and Dandy Guy, who had separated themselves by open lengths down the backstretch. After an opening half-mile in 45.99 seconds, the final 9-16ths of a mile were run in a drearily slow 60.68 seconds.
Rey Del Mar, trained by Eric Mikkelson for Gallegos Del Norte Racing Stables, has now won two of five lifetime starts. The son of Valet Man broke his maiden in his third career start at SunRay Park and Casino on May 5. If you were among those fortunate enough to have Rey Del Mar on top, you were rewarded with an $84.40 return on your $2 investment.
Post time favorite Jenson's Miracle inherited the lead from the tiring pacesetters at the head of the lane, but couldn't hold on for the win, instead settling for the place ahead of Mr. McCoy. Following those two across the wire were Dandy Guy, Sight Unseen, Hay Man Mark, Siempre Amigos, Jokers Touch, Leavin Early, Black Canyon and Uncle Claude.