By Steve Bortstein/For The Daily Times
FARMINGTON— The old man still has a few tricks up his sleeve.
The 10-year-old Miracle Snow, one of the most well-regarded shortliners in the state of New Mexico, dominated his seven rivals in deep stretch Sunday at SunRay Park and Casino, inching away late under jockey Martin Bourdieu to win the $45,000 Jimmy Drake Stakes.
Trained by Wes Giles and owned by Melvin Neugebauer, Miracle Snow was no mystery to the bettors among the crowd of more than 1,200 fans, bet down from his 10-to-1 morning line price to the post time favorite at odds of 2.60-to-1.
Breaking from the outside post in the eight-horse field, the son of Dean Miracle got out of the gate well, wore down early race leader Rex Hill midway down the stretch and came away late to score by a widening three-quarters of a length. He raced the 400 yards on a fast track in a time of 19.29 seconds, just one-fifth of a second off the course record.
"He still has it, that's for sure," said Neugebauer after the race. "When they get to age 10, you're never sure if they still have that spirit, but he still has a lot of race in him."
Miracle Snow won for the 15th time in his 55-race career. The win snapped a four-race losing streak, dating back to last July in the Zia Handicap at Ruidoso Downs. A multiple stakes winner several times over, Miracle Snow also picked up his fifth win on the local course, increasing his career earnings to over $650,000.
"He really had an extra gear in the last part of the race," said Bourdieu, who continues to win races in bunches at SunRay Park and Casino.
Bourdieu came into Sunday's races having won 16 times in his last 38 mounts over the course of six race days. His win aboard Miracle Snow adds another stakes win to his already impressive resume.
"It's been a really good last couple of weeks," Bourdieu said. "Of course, you have to have the horses to do the job, and I've been very fortunate."
Miracle Snow is likely headed back to Ruidoso Downs to defend his Zia Handicap title next month.
Rex Hill saved the place spot despite drifting out some in the final yards, finishing a half-length in front of Sandys Jesse.
Following across the wire were Balderinas Fame CR, WDC Wendys Wine, Jess Reuben James, My Big Chief and Corona Southern Form.
On the day, jockey Alfredo Juarez, Jr. picked up three winners while jockeys Tanner Thedford and Aldo Arboleda each rode two winners.
Live racing resumes at SunRay Park and Casino on Tuesday, with a full slate of thoroughbred races set to begin at 12:30 p.m.
Special post time Friday:
SunRay Park and Casino's live racing program on Friday will feature an early first post time of 11 a.m. on Friday, in order to clear the way for a live concert by the band Little Texas that will follow the races later that evening.