FARMINGTON -- "Never mess with a winning streak."
One of the great theories in the sporting world is that if you're on a winning streak, you keep right on doing what's gotten you to that point.
For the connections of Feature Mr Snow, that includes adding a stakes win to your portfolio, as the Kansas-bred son of Feature Mr Jess and jockey Jimmy Coates posted a near wire-to-wire score in front of nearly 1,000 fans at SunRay Park and Casino in Sunday's $35,000 Marathon Handicap, the seventh straight win for the 7-year-old gelding.
Ridden strongly by Coates just a bit off the rail while nursing a short lead on the turn, Feature Mr Snow repelled an early challenge from morning line favorite Im Royal Quick, who was forced to check and steady under Alejandro Medellin.
Feature Mr Snow held eventual runner-up Oh Jess Fly at bay and scored by just over a length as the post time favorite at odds of 8-5.
Racing for the first time for trainer Ramon Gallegos and owner Pedro Carrillo, Feature Mr Snow beat $5,000 claimers at Sunland last time out on March 9. Prior to that, Feature Mr Snow was successfully campaigning against softer company before the jump into the stakes ranks.
Listed as the 8-1 fifth choice on the morning line, supporters of Feature Mr Snow apparently believed the horse was as good as his seven rivals in the Marathon.
"His times were just as good as anything running in the better ranks, so it made sense to try this spot," Gallegos said after the race.
Their confidence paid off as Feature Mr Jess rolled to his 12th win from 38 lifetime starts. The $21,000 winners share of the purse increases his career earnings to over $111,000.
Oh Jess Fly was nearly a length clear of third place finisher KC Royal Flush. The rest of the field was headed by JW A Royal Flirt, followed by Laugh At Life, Jessa Little Rusty, Valentino de Lao and Im Royal Quick.
Im Royal Quick may have deserved better than his last place finish. Attempting to secure position for a rail-skimming rally, Medellin found himself in tight quarters on the turn and was forced to check, losing all chance.
For their winning wagers, backers of Feature Mr Snow were rewarded with a $5.20 return on their $2 investment.
On the day, jockey Alfredo Juarez, Jr. scored a triple while Aldo Arboleda booted home two winners.
Juarez, Jr. won Sunday's third race in a mild upset score with Storming A.J., then came back to win the fifth race aboard 17-1 longshot Mysterious Storm before a strong ride captured the seventh race aboard the heavily favored Happy N Harmony.
Arboleda won the second race on the card aboard Geisha Nite, then got the job in the nightcap of the nine-race card with a win aboard Our Winning Bid.
Racing at SunRay Park and Casino resumes on Tuesday with a 9-race card scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.