FARMINGTON — The results of Saturday's $35,000 SunRay Park and Casino Handicap might not have been what owner Tony Pennington and trainer Justin Evans wanted.
Or maybe it was exactly what they wanted.
Alsono, one of three entrants from those connections in the featured event at SunRay Park and Casino, proved best in deep stretch over the heavily favored Rebranded, narrowly prevailing in front of a raucous crowd of over 5,200 fans who also came out to watch California Chrome via simulcast win the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
Alsono, ridden to victory by Elvin Gonzalez, got first jump on Rebranded after putting away early pacesetter Cloud Harbor approaching the far turn. The 3-year-old son of Limehouse braced for the challenge of Rebranded at the head of the lane as they both cleared off from the rest of the field.
Rebranded, ridden by Ry Eikleberry and seeking his first stakes win since last December's Riley Allison Futurity, fought gamely to deep stretch but never could pull clear of Alsono, submitting to a second place finish, beaten by just a head.
For Alsono, sent off as the third choice in the wagering at odds of 6.30-1, the victory is his fifth from 11 career starts. The $21,000 winners share of the purse increases his lifetime earnings to over $154,000. Alsono ran the mile in 1:38.37.
Rebranded was 12 lengths clear of the rest of the field when finishing second. Behind that one were Ima Happy Strike, Harbor Fever, Boundtobespecial, Cloud Harbor and Lucky Coin.
Lucky Coin was the third of the uncoupled entry owned by Pennington and trained by Evans.
For the rider/trainer tandem of Gonzalez and Evans, they continue to put a stranglehold atop the local standings. The pair teamed up for two wins on the day, including Alsono and 5th race winner I'm Tops.
Backers of Alsono were rewarded with a $14.60 return on their investment.
'Quick Seeks Redemption In Marathon
Looking to remain undefeated in this calendar year, Im Royal Quick will also be seeking a measure of revenge when he goes to the post as the likely favorite in today's $35,000 Marathon Handicap at SunRay Park and Casino.
Im Royal Quick, a 7-year-old gelded son of Royal Quick Dash was slated to be the post time favorite in last year's renewal of this race. An unfortunate incident prevented him a fair start when the gates opened and thus, the Cal-bred was declared a non-starter.
Today, drawn in the No. 2 post and slated to be ridden by Alejandro Medellin, Im Royal Quick came back to win twice more in 2013 before a five-losing streak ended his year.
Trained by Jose Barron and owned by Jesus Garcia, Im Royal Quick returned from a near-three month layoff on March 1 and was very impressive, beating optional claiming rivals at Sunland Park.
Listed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the Marathon, Im Royal Quick has won 11 times from 40 career starts with earnings topping $235,000.
The Marathon, contested at 870 yards, features eight runners and will go as the eighth race on a program with a first post time of 1:30 p.m.
Barron will have another starter in the gate for the Marathon, in the form of Oh Jess Fly.
Listed as the second choice on the morning line at 3-1, Oh Jess Fly will be looking to end a four-race losing streak. The Oklahoma-bred son of Fly Jess Fly was a winner of last October's Herman Jefferson Stakes at Zia Park, but has settled for mainly minor awards since that win.
Oh Jess Fly will break from the outside post in the Marathon field of 8 runners and will be ridden by Esgar Ramirez.
Post time for the Marathon is scheduled for 4:18 p.m.