Horse racing: Observations from Sunray Park
FARMINGTON — Jockey Enrique Gomez has been on a bit of a hot streak lately.
On Saturday, Gomez won four races, including a pair for trainer Henry Dominguez.
The Gomez/Dominguez tandem scored in the second race aboard Shesourkindagal, then again in the nightcap with Montezuma Creek.
Gomez also picked up wins for trainer Jose A. Gonzalez in the third race aboard longshot Autumn's Girl, and again in the seventh race aboard the Justin Evans-trained Chibita.
Sunday, Gomez continued his winning ways with Dominguez, as they teamed up for a romping win with Black N Beauty in the day's seventh race.
An intriguing battle is brewing between Gomez and Alfredo Juarez Jr. for the thoroughbred riding title during this upcoming season.
The combination of jockey Frank Reyes and trainer Kevin Eikleberry scored back to back wins on Saturday, winning the fourth race aboard Holy Frac and the fifth race aboard You See That.
On Sunday, Jose Luis Enriquez scored a pair of wins.
Enriquez has been a bit of a revelation here during this current season, and he continued to impress with wins aboard Ken Grisham-trained Blazin Jessica in the fourth race, followed by a win aboard Emmie B Who in the sixth race.
HORSES TO WATCH: Most likely, Chasing The Heat will be very tough to beat at the 870-yard distance. He suffered a tough loss at the hands of multiple stakes-winning Alsono in Sunday's Marathon Handicap.
The Kentucky-bred son of Latent Heat went toe to toe with the winner down the lane, but was compromised on the turn for home when forced to swing to the outside of a tiring rival. He was well clear of the rest of the field crossing the wire, and may have deserved better than second place. He is one to follow next time out in the right spot for Dominguez.
LOOKING AHEAD: Trial races will be held here on Friday for the Four Corners Futurity, one of the richest quarter horse races of the season at Sunray.
Races 3 through 6 will feature some of the top two-year-olds from across the southwest. The ten fastest qualifiers from those races receive a berth in the Futurity, which will be held on Sunday Aug. 9.
Trainer Wes Giles will send out as many as eight horses in the four trial races, which will be run at a distance of 350 yards.
Wr Smooth Move is expected to be one of the favorites in the third race, the first of the trial heats.
Bred in New Mexico and owned by Rose Webb, Wr Smooth Move ran well in her local debut earlier this season. However, she missed by a length to Good Job Honey, who will be a major contender in the sixth race, which is the final of the trial heats.
Also coming up this weekend will be the $35,000 La Plata Stakes, a Grade 3 feature for older quarter horses racing 400 yards. Alis Jumpn, who won the race last year under Martin Bourdieu, is expected to be one of the contenders in the field of seven for the La Plata.
A five-year-old Texas-bred mare by Jumpn, Alis Jumpn is a perfect 4 for 4 over the Sunray strip and will likely be favored to continue her success over this course.
Racing resumes today at Sunray Park and Casino with an all-thoroughbred program that has a scheduled first post time of 1:30 p.m.
PLAYS OF THE DAY: Each day during the current racing season, track announcer Eric Alwan and paddock show host Steve Bortstein offer their best bets for that day's program.
Alwan's best bet is in the first race, at 4 1-2 furlongs, where he likes No. 2 Deb's Pretty Boy, who ran well to be a close third in his only local start last time out. A similar effort should be enough for him to get his first lifetime score.
Bortstein's best bet comes in the third race, a $7,500 claiming sprint, where he prefers No. 7 Skydreamin. He exits a key race, gets a hot rider on board and should get a perfect trip tracking the early speed.
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.