Horse racing: Standout performances highlight weekend at Sunray
FARMINGTON — Strong riding and training performances were seen during an all-shortliner program at Sunray Park and Casino Friday.
Jockey Martin Bourdieu scored a pair of wins on the day. First he rode Konas Best Dasher to an emphatic win in the fifth race for trainer Oscar Carrete, then won the ninth race aboard Hotdoggin Deputy for trainer J.R. Gonzalez Sr.
Carrete, who saddled two winners on the day, also got his picture taken with first-race winner A Dashin Man, ridden by Esgar Ramirez.
The family affair between rider Benito Baca and trainer Bernard Baca cashed in twice on Friday.
Benito rode two winners on the day, both for his father Bernard.
The pair teamed up in the fourth race with winner Heza A Slinky, then in the seventh race with Valient Prince.
An intriguing allowance dash at seven furlongs headlines today's nine-race program, which gets underway at 1:30 p.m.
Today at Sunray
Queen Lilly Kay, an invader from Iowa and the barn of the region's leading thoroughbred trainer Justin Evans, may be the one to beat from her inside.
A 6-year-old mare by Indy King, Queen Lilly Kay has won eight times from 18 starts, including multiple stakes wins.
She's earned more than $277,000 from her 18 starts for owner David Lebsock and is the 7-to-2 co-second choice on the morning line.
Queen Lilly Kay hasn't been to the gate in more 11 months but sports several fast workouts over this course for her return to action. Her most recent race was a fourth-place finish in the $95,000 Donna Reed Stakes at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa.
The 2-to-1 morning-line favorite in the race is drawn right next door. Joyful Tap, from the barn of Percy Leyba, will be looking to end a six-race losing streak.
The Kentucky-bred daughter of Pleasant Tap has won seven times from 27 starts, but hasn't been in the winner's circle since an allowance dash last September at the Downs at Albuquerque.
Owned by John and Kathy Leyba, Joyful Tap will be ridden by Isaias Cardenas from the two hole.
The featured race on the card, with a purse of $23,800, is scheduled to go to post at 4:18 p.m.
Today at Ruidoso
Bodacioius Eagle, the fastest qualifier for the $900,000 Rainbow Derby, goes postward in one of the richest quarter horse races in America at Ruidoso Downs.
Trainer Blane Wood will start both Bodacious Eagle and Sam Crow in the Derby, with Ricky Ramirez opting to ride the latter while Cody Jensen will get the call aboard Bodacious Eagle.
Owned by Johnny Trotter, Bodacious Eagle has won four times from nine lifetime starts. Despite amassing earnings of more than $324,000, the son of One Famous Eagle has yet to win a stakes race. Bodacious Eagle will break from post six.
Sam Crow drew the outside post in Saturday's Rainbow Derby, which will go as the 10th race on the card with a scheduled post time of 4:54 p.m.
Sam Crow is also looking for his first stakes win. The son of Valiant Hero has won five times from nine career starts, earning more than $245,000 and has been made the 3-to-1 second choice on the morning line.
Kiss My Hocks, the 5-to-2 morning-line favorite in the Derby, was an impressive winner in last year's Sam Houston Futurity in Texas, as well as the Ruidoso Futurity as a 2-year-old. He scored an emphatic win in his trial for the Rainbow Derby on July 5.
Owned by Conda Maze and Tyler Graham, and trained by Toby Keeton, Kiss My Hocks has earned nearly $695,000 in his nine-race career.
Kiss My Hocks won his trial by two lengths in a final time of 21.31 seconds, picking up his seventh career win in the process. He will break from post three in the 10-horse field.
Plays of the day
Each day during the Sunray racing season, track announcer Eric Alwan and paddock show host Steve Bortstein offer up their best bets for that day's program.
Alwan's best bet comes in the eighth race, in which he likes No. 1 Queen Lilly Kay. Returning from a long layoff, she appears to have a class edge over her rivals.
Bortstein's best bet comes in the second race where he likes No. 1 Shesourkindagal, a 21-time winner for a strong rider and trainer.
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.