FARMINGTON — Cinco Menudos played spoiler on Sunday afternoon at Sunray Park and Casino for the return of Miracle Snow.
Ridden to victory by Esgar Ramirez for trainer Ronald Stephens, Cinco Menudos broke alertly from the rail post in the 400-yard dash - dueled with Brotherman and jockey Alejandro Medellin for the length of the stretch - before prevailing by a determined neck.
Miracle Snow, making his 62nd lifetime start, battled with the top pair for much of the race but eventually had to settle for third under jockey Martin Bourdieu.
Cinco Menudos ran the 400 yards in a fast final time of 19.49 seconds while earning his seventh win from 16 starts. The son of Jesse James Jr. is owned by William McCarty, and earned $19,200 for the win, increasing his career bankroll to just over $151,000.
Brotherman stayed the course and finished second, more than a length clear of Miracle Snow.
Sunday was another good day for the rider/trainer combination of Frank Reyes and Justin Evans.
After recording four wins on Saturday, Reyes won a pair of races on the Sunday program, both of them for Evans, who is currently on pace to become the leading thoroughbred trainer at this track.
Reyes and Evans picked up wins in the seventh race aboard Lila Grace, and then again in the eighth race aboard the heavily favored Dreamcatcher.
Jockey Daniel Amaya also earned a pair of wins on Sunday.
Amaya won the second race aboard Departist for trainer Javier Roman Jr., then won the fourth race for trainer Zachary Quezada aboard Brook Runsmore.
Racing resumes today at Sunray Park, with an all-thoroughbred card that gets started at 1:30 p.m.
HORSES TO WATCH: There were a couple of notable performances this past weekend at Sunray, and these horses should be closely watched in their next outings.
Imapistol clearly wants more distance and was out of her element last time out when she finished fourth in a 6 1-2 furlong claiming race last Saturday.
The Camie Telford trainee was last early before winding up a non-threatening fourth under Nancy Summers. If she finds a race where she can go longer next time out, she's an interesting contender.
Cat Trap had every reason to not win Saturday's sixth race when coming back from a nine month layoff for trainer David Wolochuk.
The lightly raced three-year-old filly by Cowtown Cat didn't break alertly under Elvin Gonzalez and raced in last early on during a 4 1-2 furlong sprint comebacker. She rallied very well and was up in the nick of time for her second win from three starts.
Out of that same race, Free Roman Dolly might be an interesting playback in her next start. She showed good mid-race speed before tiring late in her return from a short layoff. She may be better at longer distances and could be an intriguing play in a 6 1-2 furlong spot down the road.
NOTES: At Ruidoso Downs this Sunday, First Valiant Sign will go postward as the morning line favorite in the $1 million Rainbow Futurity, the second leg of quarter horse racing's Triple Crown.
Trained by Michael Joiner and scheduled to be ridden by G.R. Carter, First Valiant Sign won the Ruidoso Futurity last month and is the only horse eligible to win the Triple Crown.
The two-year-old gelded son of Valiant Hero finished third in his trial heat for this race on July 4, but qualified for the race and will break from post 4 in the 10-horse dash set for 400 yards.
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.