FARMINGTON—Tuesday was a day for career firsts at SunRay Park and Casino.
For You've Been Duped, Tuesday's win in the $45,000 Totah Stakes was not only the first career win for the son of Premeditation, but he also picked up his first stakes win for Todd Fincher, one of the top trainers in the state of New Mexico.
As if there needed to be more to the story, the winning ride from jockey Ruby Gonzalez provided her with her first career stakes win.
Sold for $50,000 to the Reliance Ranches, You've Been Duped was one of the highest-priced yearling purchases at last year's Ruidoso Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred Sales. After a sluggish racing debut at Sunland Park in April, the gelding returned with a vengeance, inching away in deep stretch to beat another Fincher trainee, Born A Ruler, by three-quarters of a length.
You've Been Duped broke sharp from his mid-pack post under Gonzalez and sprinted to a short lead down the backstretch in the 4 1-2 furlong Totah.
Aldo Arboleda rode Born A Ruler up on the outside of the eventual winner, dueling to the top of the lane after a fast opening quarter mile timed in 21.92 seconds.
The two exchanged blows in their own private match race to deep stretch until Gonzalez found an extra gear aboard You've Been Duped, who crossed the wire with a final time of 51.86 seconds.
"He broke real well for me," Gonzalez said after the race. "I felt that other horse coming over on the turn and I was happy this one had something left in the tank for me."
Fincher, who also saddled the first and second-place finishers in last week's C.O. Ken Kendrick Memorial Futurity for 2-year-old fillies over this course, seems to have a good eye for top talent.
"We've been real fortunate with a lot of really good horses this season," Fincher said. "I was real disappointed in (You've Been Duped) in his debut run at Sunland, but the winner of that race (Malibu Rain) has come back to be a good one and hopefully good things are coming for this horse too."
Sent off as the third choice in the betting at odds of 3.10-to-1, You've Been Duped returned $8.20 to his backers at the windows. The victory was worth $27,000 to his connections, which increases his earnings to $27,418.
Born A Ruler saved second, more than 2 lengths clear of third-place finisher Lee Did It.
Across the wire behind Lee Did It were Uncle Fudge, Lunar Storm, Maries H And H and Record Heat. Handsome Amigo was scratched earlier in the day.
Uncle Fudge, the post time favorite at odds of 2.50-to-1, raced far behind the early leaders and was never a threat, beaten by more than 10 lengths when finishing fourth for trainer Jose Vargas and jockey Carlos Madeira.
On the day, jockeys Alfredo Juarez Jr. and Elvin Gonzalez had big days. Juarez struck three times and Gonzalez winning a pair. Trainer Brent Elston saddled three winners on the card as well.
The final three days of the 2014 season get underway Friday at SunRay Park and Casino. Highlighting closing weekend stakes action will be Saturday's $100,000 Four Corners Futurity for 2-year-old quarter horses and the traditional closing day feature, Sunday's $75,000 San Juan County Commissioner's Handicap for older thoroughbreds.
Post time for the final three days of racing is 1:30 p.m.