Busy week of racing at Sunray Park
FARMINGTON — A bevy of stakes races are scheduled for this weekend at Sunray Park and Casino, with some of the nation's top two-year-olds ready to fight it out in Sunday's main attraction — the $100,000 Four Corners Futurity.
Ten of the fastest juveniles will line up in the starting gate in Sunday's Grade 3 Futurity, led by Good Job Honey, the fastest qualifier. The 350-yard dash also features five starters from the barn of Wes Giles, a multiple-time winner of the prestigious race, which will be the eighth race on a star-studded Sunday program.
Giles, who last won the race in 2013 with Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle, will send out trial winners Wr Smooth Move and Made To Dash, as well as three additional runners in the Futurity.
Also on Sunday, the $30,000 Jimmy Drake Stakes will feature a field of nine older state-bred quarter horses racing 400 yards. As is the case in the Futurity earlier in the day, Giles may hold a strong hand there as well with Grant The Star, who will be seeking his fifth win from his last six starts.
Grant The Star finished off the board in his only other stakes race, the Grade 3 Lineage Championship at the Downs at Albuquerque last May.
The son of Attila's Storm has won four times from 14 career starts, including three in a row at Sunland Park in a streak that dated back to late 2014.
Grant The Star is slated to be ridden for the first time by Adrian Ramos.
The stakes race action gets started this weekend on Saturday with the 7 furlong Dr. O. G. Fischer Memorial Handicap. The Handicap is worth a purse of $30,000 and features a strong pair of starters trained by Justin Evans.
Prettypriceygal, a stakes winner earlier this year and five-time winner from 25 career starts, is the 2-to-1 morning line favorite in the Fischer. She was a well-beaten fourth behind the very talented African Rose in the Albuquerque Distaff Handicap on May 23.
Prior to that, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Scat Daddy was victorious in the Czaria Handicap at Sunland Park on April 11.
Prettypriceygal will break from post 6 in the Fischer with Enrique Gomez aboard.
Evans will also send out Laugh It Up, a winner of three straight races, including a most recent win over this course on July 7.
Laugh it Up, a four-year-old Florida-bred filly, will be making her stakes race debut in the Fischer. Listed at 7-to-2 on the morning line, Laugh It Up will break from the inside post in the six-horse field with Alfredo Juarez Jr. in the irons.
On tap today
A late pick four pool guaranteed at $1,500 and a massive carryover in the Super High Five Jackpot are the wagering highlights for a strong, nine-race, all-thoroughbred program that begins today at 1:30 p.m.
The late pick four, which begins with the sixth race, is a minimum 50 cent wager that requires bettors to correctly tab the winners of the final four races on the card. The guaranteed pool of $1,500 will certainly attract fans from all over the country who are able to wager on races from Sunray from racetracks and casinos.
The Super High Five Jackpot, also a minimum 50 cent wager, is in a carryover for the third straight day. The wager, which is featured in the ninth race every day, requires bettors to pick the first five finishers in order. The wager has not been hit for three days in a row and has hit well over $1,000. The lure of the carryover pool will also attract both local and national fans.
Plays of the day
Each day during the racing season, Sunray Park track announcer Eric Alwan and paddock show host Steve Bortstein offer their best bets for that day's program.
Alwan's best bet today comes in the eighth race, where he likes No. 3 Colinda Dawn. She will be turning back from a route-to-sprint for trainer Ty Garrett after a romping win in the Colorado Derby last time out.
Bortstein's best bet comes in the third race, where he likes No. 3 Provable, who lost all chance with a slow start last time out in his first start with winners. A better getaway makes him very difficult to beat under one of the meet's leading riders.
Steve Bortstein hosts "First Sports" and "The Fast Track" on Fox Sports 1340 AM and 93.9 FM and on iHeartRadio. He serves as paddock show host at SunRay Park & Casino and is a voting member of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. Follow him @fox1340am on Twitter.