Gator Heat fires in Diné Stakes

Steve Bortstein

FARMINGTON — Gator Heat bounced back in a big way, winning the $50,000 Diné Stakes under jockey Enrique Gomez on Tuesday at Sunray Park and Casino.

Trained by Henry Dominguez for owners Kirk and Judy Robison, the New Mexico-bred son of Southwestern Heat rebounded from a poor effort last time out at Ruidoso Downs in the Road Runner with a dominant, three-and-a-half length win over Picasso's Bro in the Diné, the featured event on the Tuesday card.

Gator Heat, a four-time winner from 10 career starts, battled for the early lead through a moderate pace with Weappear and jockey Nancy Summers. The two opened up a commanding lead approaching the far turn before Gomez began distancing himself from the rest of the field.

Gator Heat — sent off at 3.40-to-1 odds — surged clear at the head of the lane while swerving out a bit in midstretch and finished well ahead at the wire. Gator Heat finished in a time of 1:17.74.

Earning his first stakes win, Gator Heat increased his career earnings to more than $95,000 while returning $8.80 for his winning backers.

Picasso's Pro, ridden by Isaias Enriquez for trainer Eric Mikkelson, closed ground late and snatched the place spot ahead of Classey Cash. Behind Classy Cash were Atillas Gift, Weappear, Southern Fire, Golly Gee and Francisco.

Live racing at Sunray resumes on Friday with a 10-race, all-quarter horse program that has a first post time of 3 p.m.

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.