RUIDOSO — Quickest and cleanest away from the gate, G. R. Carter Jr. guided Kiss My Hocks to a strong victory in Saturday's $900,000 Rainbow Derby at Ruidoso Downs.
Kiss My Hocks broke cleanly from the gate and led wire-to-wire to beat post-time favorite Sam Crow, who appeared to break flat-footed.
Kiss My Hocks, sent off as the third choice in the wagering at odds of 2.60-to-1, ran the 440 yards in 21.57 seconds while earning his second win this year.
The win in the Rainbow is the eighth win in 10 starts for Kiss My Hocks. The lion's share of the purse puts Kiss My Hocks over the $1.1 million mark in his career.
Sam Crow, the post-time favorite at odds of 2.30-to-1, didn't break alertly when the gates opened under Ricky Ramirez. The son of Valiant Hero had too much of a task to overcome, but finished well on the far side of the track to get the place over Moonin The Eagle. Moonin The Eagle would later be disqualified by track stewards for veering over onto the path of railsitter Glock.
Bodacious Eagle, who came into the Derby off the fastest qualifying effort when trials were held July 3-4, got outfinished. He was restless in the starting gate under Cody Jensen, but broke with the field and was in contention until the final 100 yards.
With the disqualification of Moonin The Eagle, the official order of finish shows Cobalt Creek getting the show, followed by Fire Fortune, Carters Last Straw, Streakin Regard, Bodacious Eagle, Jess Walking Thru and Glock.
Today at Sunray
Alsono will be looking for his second local win in as many starts today when he goes postward in today's $35,000 Marathon Handicap.
The 870-yard event, which goes as the eighth race on a nine-race card with a first post of 1:30 p.m., features a field of eight runners, but few of them have the credentials of the Justin Evans-trained son of Limehouse.
A multiple stakes winner and earner of more than $261,000, Alsono won his local debut last year when he narrowly prevailed in the Sunray Park and Casino Handicap at one mile.
Owned by Tony Pennington, Alsono has won at a variety of distances, from 870 yards to one mile while racking up eight wins from 19 lifetime starts.
Last year, Alsono won stakes races at the Downs at Albuquerque as well as Ruidoso Downs.
Compared to the rest of the field in the Marathon, which is a combined 0-for-8 over the local course, and you get the idea that Alsono might be a bit too good for the rest.
"(The distance) might be a little easier on him," Evans said. "He doesn't have to face some of the big guns around here in this spot, so the race could be good for him."
Alsono will break from post two in the eight-horse field. The Marathon has a scheduled post time of 4:18 p.m.
Fishin For Dough, who Alsono beat by half a length on June 11, has won four times from 25 career start and will be ridden by Albert Medrano and will break from the outside post in the Marathon.
Famous Edge of Glory, drawn on the rail for trainer Lonnie Vaughn, will be looking to end a long losing streak that dates back to the spring of 2014. The son of One Famous Eagle could be positioned on the front end under jockey Esgar Ramirez and could offer a lucrative price for those looking for an upset candidate.
Today at Ruidoso
The $1 million Rainbow Futurity presents an opportunity to see some of the nation's finest juvenile quarter horses and cash a lucrative wager.
Bettors will be asked to look past a favorite, First Valiant Sign, who despite having won the Rainbow Futurity on June 7, has also lost two of his first three career starts.
The same goes for the second choice on the morning line, Fine Oak Corona, a two-time winner from five career starts, but has yet to win a stakes race.
These are the challenges of the nation's richest quarter horse races, as well as the second jewel of quarter horse racing's All American Triple Crown.
A field of ten will face the starter in the Rainbow Futurity, the ninth race on a strong program at Ruidoso Downs. The field was made official after a two-day series of trial races were held earlier this month.
Tres Friends, the fastest qualifier for the 400-yard Futurity, will be ridden by Ricky Ramirez for trainer Blane Wood.
Tres Friends has been installed at 8-to-1 on the official morning line for the Futurity and will break from post three.
Roman Soldier Cd, drawn just to the inside of Tres Friends, may be the one to beat at a big number.
A New Mexico-bred son of Apollitical Jess and owned by James Marquez, Roman Soldier Cd also failed to qualify for the Ruidoso Futurity in his career debut. But he put it all together in his second start for trainer J.J. Gonzalez, narrowly winning his trial heat in a time of 19.65 seconds.
Roman Soldier Cd will be ridden today by Felipe Garcia-Luna.
Post time for the Futurity is scheduled for 4:28 p.m.
Plays of the day
Each day during the live racing season at Sunray Park and Casino, track announcer Eric Alwan and paddock show host Steve Bortstein offer their best bets for that day's program.
Alwan's best bet comes in the fifth race, an 870-yard allowance sprint where Alwan likes No. 2 Never Tap Out. Never Tap Out was claimed out of his last race by top quarter horse trainer Wes Giles. He could very well get the right trip in his first try at this distance.
Bortstein's best bet also comes in the fifth race where Bortstein likes No. 5 Cc Topher, who exits a productive race and may offer a bit of value with underrated rider Albert Medrano on board.
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.