Laugh It Up no joke in Fischer
FARMINGTON — Laugh It Up, ridden to perfection by Alfredo Juarez Jr., scored a gate-to-wire victory in Saturday's $30,000 Dr. O.G. Fischer Memorial Handicap at SunRay Park and Casino.
Owned by Duane Cugnini and trained by this season's leading thoroughbred horseman Justin Evans, Laugh It Up was elusive on the front end, despite carving out fast fractions of 45.99 seconds for the first half-mile of the seven-furlong journey.
Juarez and the four-year-old Florida-bred filly by Straight Faced were tested on the far turn and at the head of the lane by Mybabykim and Prettypriceygal, also representing Evans' barn. Both challenges were turned away as Laugh It Up scored a 1 1-4 length victory, clocking in at one minute, 24.74 seconds over a fast track.
Sent off as the second choice in the wagering at odds of 13-to-10, Laugh It Up won for the fifth time in her career. It was her fourth straight win, returning $4.60 to her winning backers while padding her lifetime earnings to nearly $93,000.
"She's pretty easy to train," Evans said about Laugh It Up inside the winner's circle. "She keeps herself going and she's gotten really good these last few races."
Prettypriceygal held onto the place, completing a 1-2 finish for Evans.
Ridden by Enrique Gomez, Prettypriceygal launched her late rally on the far turn. She wasn't as far back of the pace as she'd been in most of her previous races, but she still never really threatened the winner. Prettpriceygal was a half-length better than Mybabykim for the place.
Behind those runners were Joyful Tap, Always An Angel and Quinichette.
WHAT'S ON TAP: A pair of quarter-horse stakes races take center stage today. The $100,000 Four Corners Futurity is the highlight race of a nine-race program that has a first post time of 1:30 p.m.
The Four Corners Futurity field came together when trials were held here July 24. The 10 fastest qualifiers from those races were entered into the field along with Good Job Honey, who is looking for her third straight win for trainer Ken Grisham. She is installed as the 3-to-1 favorite with Albert Medrano aboard.
Good Job Honey, a Texas-bred daughter of Freighttrain B, is a perfect 2-for-2 over the local course, including the fastest trial heat of the day, when she ran 350 yards in 17.46 seconds.
Owned by Shirley Grisham and the Jay Bar 7 Ranch, Good Job Honey will break from post 6 in the Futurity, which has a scheduled post time of 4:18 p.m.
The Futurity, thus far, is the richest race of the season at SunRay Park and may well help determine the unofficial title of "Horse of the Meet."
Just prior to the Futurity, a strong field of nine older quarter horses will race 400 yards in the $45,000 Jimmy Drake Stakes.
Cinco Menudos, trained by Ron Stephens and slated to be ridden by Esgar Ramirez, has been installed as the 5-to-2 morning line favorite, coming off a strong allowance victory here on July 12.
An earner of over $151,000, Cinco Menudos has won seven times from 16 starts. A five-year-old son of Jesse James Jr., this will be only his second time in a stakes race. Last August 24, he was a well-beaten seventh in the Lineage Championship at the Downs at Albuquerque.
Cinco Menudos will break from post 7 in the Drake Stakes, which is restricted to New Mexico-bred shortliners. The race has a scheduled post time of 3:54 p.m.
PLAYS OF THE DAY: Each day during the current racing season, SunRay Park and Casino track announcer Eric Alwan and paddock show host Steve Bortstein offer their best bets for that day's program.
Alwan's best bet comes in the seventh race, the Drake Stakes. Alwan likes No. 3 Grant The Star, coming off a strong, rallying win last time out at Ruidoso Downs.
Bortstein's best bet comes in the fifth race, where he likes No. 3 Fly Foose Fly. She ran well from a negative inside post last time out and will offer value in a wide open allowance dash.
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.