Horse racing: Observations from opening week at Sunray
FARMINGTON — Each week during the live racing season at Sunray Park and Casino, we'll look at horses and storylines to follow that may give horseplayers and fans a glimpse at what's happening around the track.
This is merely one set of observations. By all means, do with them what you will.
Trainer Jose Silva made quite an impression on the local scene last weekend, running first and second with his first two starters.
Motor'n Mona and jockey Miguel Perez raced to a wire-to-wire victory in his local debut Sunday. Silva-trained Global Hart finished in second, well clear of the rest of the field.
Silva, who spent much of his training career in northern California, has been plying his trade in New Mexico and brought a decent amount of equine talent with him.
Silva has two starters set to go at Sunray Park on today's nine-race program, which starts at 1:30 p.m.
In the second race, Too Obvious, the co-second choice on the morning line, will be ridden by Martin Bourdieu. Later in the day, Silva will send out Grandma Connie, listed as the 5-to-1 third choice in the sixth race and ridden by Perez.
Many horseplayers will look with a keen eye at This Fire Is Cold's win in the $35,000 Animas Quarter Horse Stakes Sunday as a bit of a fluke.
A bad break by post-time favorite El Damazo left him with too much to do in the 400-yard dash, as he gamely chased the winner to the wire, coming up a length short.
I'll give El Damazo a chance to redeem himself. I'll also be curious to see what This Fire Is Cold is capable of next time out, even against arguably better company. Her final time of 19.53 seconds was as visually impressive as it was on the stopwatch.
Chances are good we haven't heard the last from Full Consent, winner of Sunday's eighth race for trainer Ed Kereluk.
A winner in each of his last two starts, the Tennessee-bred son of Southern Image held off a late challenge from Real Heat and could be turning a corner in his career.
The field that Full Consent beat on Sunday contained some hard-knocking types on the New Mexico racing scene, so he may be one to look for to get a third consecutive win.
One of my favorite horses to follow this season is Good Job Honey.
Making just her second career start for trainer Ken Grisham, the Texas-bred daughter of Freighttrain B ran 350 yards under Jose Luis Enriquez in a very fast 17.35 seconds.
Good Job Honey is eligible for the Grade 3 Four Corners Futurity, for which trials will be held at Sunray on July 24.
Plays of the day
Each day during the live racing season, track announcer Eric Alwan and paddock show host Steve Bortstein will offer a suggested best bet of the day.
Alwan's best bet comes in the fifth race, a four and one half furlong allowance sprint, where he likes No. 5 Be My Angel. With a win here last year, she ran well in her last outing, and coming back from a long layoff appears ready to fire under Ruby Gonzalez.
Bortstein's best bet comes in the seventh race, a six and one half furlong allowance sprint, where he likes No. 6 Malibu Mogul. Unraced since May 16, the son of Malibu Moon drops in after running into a very classy sprint stakes star in Dirt Monster. He takes the blinkers off for trainer Henry Dominguez and gets his regular rider Enrique Gomez back aboard.