FARMINGTON — A field of seven older thoroughbreds will race 6 1-2 furlongs in today's $35,000 Inaugural Handicap at Sunray Park and Casino.
Trained by Henry Dominguez and slated to be ridden by Enrique Gomez, Unfettered has been installed as the 3-to-1 morning-line favorite in the sprint. A six-time winner from 11 career starts, the Florida-bred son of Rockport Harbor won the 2013 Sunray Park and Casino Handicap in just his third lifetime outing.
Owned by the Solitaire Stable, Unfettered's career earnings top $155,000, the bulk of which were earned winning the Bill Thomas Memorial Handicap on March 22 at Sunland Park in El Paso, Texas.
Unfettered will break from the outside stall in the Inaugural Handicap, which goes as the 8th race on a nine-race card and has a scheduled post time of 5:48 p.m.
Warren's Knockout and Smack Ridge are the second choices on the track's official morning line, both listed at 7-to-2 odds and each looking to put an end to long losing streaks.
Smack Ridge, a Kentucky-bred son of Cactus Ridge, hasn't been in the winner's circle since November 30 at Zia Park in Hobbs.
Set to make his local debut in today's Inaugural Handicap, Smack Ridge has earned more than $257,000 for the Judge Lanier Racing Stables.
A 10-time winner from 36 starts, the Dan Dennison trainee will break from post 3 and will be piloted for the first time by Elvin Gonzalez. Gonzalez was last year's leading thoroughbred rider over this course.
Warren's Knockout, trained by Justin Evans — who will be looking to continue his stretch as one of the state's most dominant trainers — is also looking to end a winless drought dating back to the same race more than a year ago.
A California-bred son of Stormed, Warren's Knockout has amassed 10 wins from 38 career starts. His resume includes stakes wins in the 2014 Thomas Memorial Handicap, as well as the 2013 Budweiser Special at Zia Park.
Owned by Len Schermer, Warren's Knockout will break from post 6 and will be ridden by Alfredo Juarez Jr., who was also aboard for his last victory 15 months ago.
The complete field, with riders and morning-line odds for the $35,000 Inaugural Handicap are: He's A Bling, Isaias Cardenas, 4-1; Dreamcatcher, Frank Reyes, 8-1; Smack Ridge, Gonzalez, 7-2; Invasive Cocktail, Alejandro Medellin, 10-1; Timeless Indy, Irwin Rosendo, 5-1; Warren's Knockout, Juarez, Jr., 7-2; Unfettered, Gomez, 3-1.
The 2015 live racing season at Sunray Park and Casino features thoroughbreds and quarter horses four days a week and runs through Sept. 1.
Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday post times will be 1:30 p.m., with Friday racing programs set to begin at 3 p.m.
Sunray plays of the day
Each day during the Sunray live racing season, track announcer Eric Alwan and paddock show host Steve Bortstein will suggest their best bets on today's races.
Alwan's best bet comes in Race 6, a four and one half furlong maiden sprint, in which he likes No. 7 Larryslegacee. Alwan likes Larryslegacee because he's making his second start off a long layoff and switching to a stronger rider in Alfredo Juarez Jr.
Bortstein's best bet comes in Race 4, a four and one half furlong maiden claiming event, in which he likes No. 6 Amber Ale. Amber Ale is exiting a key race and gets last year's leading throughbred rider Elvin Gonzalez back in the irons.