RUIDOSO DOWNS — It is safe to say that if there's a top 2-year-old thoroughbred running in the state of New Mexico, it is most likely trained by Todd Fincher.
In a year that has seen Fincher-trained juveniles win stakes races throughout the state, his newest stakes winner Twixy Roll might be the best of the bunch.
Dueling for the early lead in Saturday's $198,975 Rio Grande Senorita Futurity with stablemate Diabolical Dame, Twixy Roll put away her rivals at the head of the lane and was kept to her task to win comfortably under jockey Alfredo Juarez, Jr., in the highlight race on the opening day of the Zia Festival at Ruidoso Downs Racetrack and Casino.
Unbeaten in three career starts, the daughter of Roll Hennessy Roll was one of six starters in the gate for Fincher, who has won virtually every 2-year-old thoroughbred stakes race since the start of the SunRay Park and Casino season in April.
Twixy Roll, owned by Dale Taylor, Casey Taylor and John Hogg, was sent off as the second choice in the wagering in the Senorita, her first career stakes race. She was giving away experience to several of her rivals, including fillies in her own barn, like Missing Reba, winner of last month's Ken Kendrick Memorial at SunRay Park.
That didn't have any bearing on Juarez, who steered Twixy Roll to the front right at the start of the 5 1-2 furlong dash. She dueled with post time favorite Diabolical Dame to the far turn, then fought off a second challenge from that one in upper stretch before inching clear in the final yards to post a 2 1-4 length victory in a final time of 1:04.48.
The win in the Senorita was worth over $99,000 for the connections of Twixy Roll, who pads her lifetime bankroll to just under $115,000.
Sent off at 3.10-1 odds, those of the 6,400 on-track fans who invested in Twixy Roll at the windows were rewarded with an $8.20 return on their $2 investment.
Diabolical Dame was well clear of the rest of the field while finishing second, with Muy Rapido and Desert Gambler, another of the six Fincher-trained runners in the Senorita, rounding out the top four finishers.
Today's 11-race card is the second and final day of the Zia Festival, with six stakes races on tap, including the $392,000 Zia Quarter Horse Futurity. First post today is scheduled for 1 p.m., with the Futurity, the final race on the card, slated to go postward at 5:20 p.m.
That's The Idea makes it look easy
Sent off as the overwhelming 2-5 favorite in the $50,000 Sierra Starlet Handicap, the Henry Dominguez-trained That's The Idea rolled to a dominant score under jockey Ry Eikleberry.
Owned and bred by Kirk and Judy Robison, That's The Idea dueled for the early lead with Xtra Golden through a fast opening quarter mile of 21.64 seconds. That's The Idea put away her pace challenger with ease and opened up a commanding lead through the far turn.
Eikleberry geared down the winner as the finish line approached, coasting home to a 3 1-2 length victory in a final time of 1:04.70.
A 3-year-old daughter of Diabolical, That's The Idea has now won five times from eight career starts. The $30,000 winners share of the Sierra Starlet purse pads her career earnings to over $276,000 while returning $2.80 to her backers at the windows.
Be My Desert Angel was a well-beaten second, with Gold Rush Hush and Xtra Golden rounding out the top four.
Mighty Moonflash takes Zia QH Derby
Proving to be a horse-for-course at Ruidoso Downs, Mighty Moonflash validated his supporters who bet him down from a 12-1 morning-line long shot to an impressive winner of the $139,483 Zia Quarter Horse Derby.
Owned and bred by Pierre Amestoy and trained by Ross Amestoy, Mighty Moonflash has recorded all three of his career victories over this course. The Zia QH Derby is the first stakes win in his career and his third straight score, all under the riding talents of Tanner Thedford.
Mighty Moonflash, a 3-year-old gelded son of First Moonflash, broke perfectly from the gate and never trailed throughout the 400-yard journey, getting home a half-length ahead of Foxy Moonflash in a career-best final time of 19.35 seconds.
The connections of Mighty Moonflash earned nearly $59,000 with the win in the Zia QH Derby, padding his career bankroll to over $77,000. Bet down to 3.80-1 on the tote board, the winner returned $9.60 for each $2 win bet of his backers.
Foxy Moonflash was a half-length in front of Heza Wild Dragon for the place, while Jet Version wound up fourth.
The 9-5 post time favorite Kia Won had no excuse and finished a no-threat seventh.
Miracle does it again in Zia Cap
Miracle Snow continues to excel at the age of 10, narrowly prevailing in a thrilling duel to beat Jess Got Issues in the shadow of the wire for his second consecutive win in the $50,000 Zia Handicap under jockey Martin Bourdieu.
The Melvin Neugebauer-owned homebred son of Dean Miracle broke alertly from his mid-pack post, rallied late and was up in time to win for the 16th time in his 56-race career.
Trained by Wes Giles, Miracle Snow was last seen winning the $45,000 Jimmy Drake Stakes at SunRay Park and Casino. Saturday's win is his seventh stakes victory. The $30,000 winners share of the Zia Handicap purse pads his career earnings to over $680,000.
Bourdieu, coming off consecutive quarter horse riding titles at Turf Paradise in Phoeniz and most recently at SunRay, urged Miracle Snow home to win by a head in a fast time of 19.32 seconds for the 400 yards.
Sent off as the 2-1 favorite in the Zia Handicap, Miracle Snow returned $6 to his winning backers.
Jess Got Issues finished a narrow second, with Rex Hill and RCJ Major Storm rounding out the top four finishers across the wire.
Wizer a winner in 870 Championship
Picking up his fourth straight win for trainer Weston Martin and the MCM Racing Stables, heavily-favored Beau Wizer proved much the best in the Zia 870 Championship under jockey Casey Lambert.
The recipient of another perfect trip, Beau Wizer sat chilly off the early pace tracking Taleas Fury and Storm Chasor as the field raced to the far turn.
Lambert urged the son of Beau Wizer to close in on the leaders midway around the turn and slowly wore down Storm Chasor inside the sixteenth pole before posting a 1 1-4 length win. Beau Wizer ran the 870 yards in a swift time of 45.47 seconds over a fast track.
His win in the 870 Championship was a mirror image to his most recent win here on July 6, a race in which he defeated both Lionett and DE Wagons Strawfly, who once again found themselves chasing the winner. Beau Wizer has now won three of five races at Rudioso Downs.
Sent off as the 7-10 favorite, Beau Wizer returned $3.40 to his backers while earning $30,000 for his connections. The son of Premeditation has now won eight times from 40 lifetime starts, increasing his total earnings to over $311,000.
Storm Chasor held the place, with Lionett nosing out Coronas Boy for third place.