SUNLAND PARK — Prospect To The Top, looking to rebound off a troubled-trip effort in last month's Grade 1 Zia Park Championship, will attempt to eclipse the $1 million earnings mark while defending his crown in today's $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park.
Owned by Joel Tavarez and trained by Brandon Muniz, Prospect To The Top saw his four-race win streak snapped last time out at Zia Park as the 4-to-5 favorite when he lost any chance at the start, getting bumped around before winding up seventh.
That four-race win streak actually started when the 5-year-old son of Coronas Prospect won the Zia Park title in November of 2012 and included a half-length score in the Championship at Sunland Park, a course where he has won twice from six starts in his career.
Texas-bred Prospect To The Top is scheduled to be ridden by Ramon Sanchez and is listed as the 4-to-1 second choice on the morning line. He is one of several contenders in the Championship, which will go as the 10th race of a strong racing program that includes the Albert Dominguez Memorial Championship for state-bred thoroughbreds. First post for the 11-race card is scheduled for 12:15 p.m.
The Championship at Sunland, which runs at a distance of 400 yards for older quarter horses, is annually one of the strongest races for older horses every year. With his win in this race last year, as well as a strong 2012 campaign, Prospect To The Top was named champion older stallion by the American Quarter Horse Association. He comes into the Championship with 12 wins from 25 lifetime starts and lifetime earnings over $981,000.
Last year's AQHA champion, 3-year-old Hez Our Secret, is the morning line favorite for the Championship at odds of 7-to-2. Hez Our Secret looks to end a five-race losing streak for owner Johnny Trotter and trainer Trey Wood.
A son of First Down Dash, Hez Our Secret is making his first start over the Sunland strip and will be piloted by his regular rider Ricky Ramirez. A winner in six of his 19 lifetime starts, Hez Our Secret was a well-beaten ninth in the Grade 1 Challenge of Champions last time out at Los Alamitos Park in Cypress, Calif. The winner of that race, Last To Fire, is expected to be named a near-unanimous choice as this year's AQHA World Champion.
Drawn on the outside in the 10-horse field is Feature Mr Bojangles, another horse looking to end a long losing streak.
Owned by R.D. Hubbard and Heysol Howlet, the Paul Jones-trained son of Feature Mr Jess hasn't won a race in 19 months, but the Texas-bred colt has been a neck shy of winning each of his last four races, including near-misses to three horses running in today's Championship.
Slated to be ridden by Cody Jensen, Feature Mr Bojangles will break from the No. 10 post and is listed at 5-to-1 on the morning line.
Post time for the Championship is scheduled for 4:04 p.m.
The field, with riders and morning line odds for the Championship, looks like this: Feature Mr Who, Esgar Ramirez, 10-1; First In Class DBS, Jaime Leos, 15-1; Hez Our Secret, Ramirez, 7-2; Cold Cash 123, G.R. Carter Jr., 9-2; DM Streakn Thru Fire, L.S. Martinez, 5-1; Prospect To The Top, Sanchez, 4-1; Jess Lips, Jimmy Brooks, 12-1; Jess Featureme Quick, Saul Ramirez, Jr., 10-1; Jess Cuervo, 15-1; Feature Mr Bojangles, Jensen, 5-1.