SUNLAND PARK — On paper, Sunday's $85,000 Lou Wooten and Sydney Valentini Handicap at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino had the makings of a handicapping and wagering challenge.
Reality, as it turns out, resembled paper in more ways than one.
Sent off as the longest shot on the board, Desert Delight Cash got her nose on the wire first in a thrilling finish which saw the top seven finishers separated by a total of one and a half lengths.
Ridden by Larry Gamez for trainer Eduardo Gonzalez, Desert Delight Cash earned her first career stakes win, picking up her fifth lifetime victory for Red Fox Carriers, Inc.
Battling on or near the lead throughout from her near-outside post, Desert Delight Cash dueled with unlucky post-time favorite Jessiana right to the wire, getting her nose down on time after running the 400 yards in a final time of 19.4 seconds.
With the win, Desert Delight Cash earned $51,000, bringing her career bankroll to over $117,000. Her backers were rewarded with a return on investment of $42.20.
Jessiana lost all chance at the start. The eventual runner-up, drawn outside the eventual winner, broke outwards at the start and veered off towards the outside fence. Once she got straightened up under jockey L. S. Martinez, she finished strongly and just missed at the wire, tagging Runin Sixes for the place position.
Rounding out the order of finish were Sandys Jesse, Cmon Jesses Girl, Get Down Bambi, WDC Wendys Wine, Aful Alibi, Call Me A Blazn Chic and Incoho Tes.
In Sunday's other stakes race at Sunland Park, another longshot, High Test Gal made short work of her nine rivals in the $85,000 Enchantress Stakes for state-bred 2-year-old thoroughbred fillies.
The Hermengildo Aldavaz-trained daughter of High Octane, making her first start around two turns, dueled for the lead down the backstretch, put away post-time favorite That's The Idea heading into the and drew off to a comfortable win under jockey Francisco Giles.
High Test Gal, owned and bred by Denton Crozier, ran the mile in a final time of 1 minute, 39.35 seconds while returning $32.80 as a 15.40-to-1 longshot.
Both Lady Genius, the morning-line favorite and That's The Idea were no match for the winner, who increased her career earnings to over $91,000 while picking up her third win from six career starts.
Lady Genius, who tasted defeat for the first time in three races at Sunland Park, dropped back off the early pace, but rallied late for a non-threatening second under jockey Carlos Madeira.
Rounding out the order of finish were Rollsetroll, That's The Idea, Ilikewinnin, BB Looker, My Dandy Girl, Got Aces, Siempre Sol and Devious.