FARMINGTON — Trials for the Aug. 9 Four Corners Futurity will be held today as part of a live, nine-race program that gets underway at Sunray Park and Casino at 3 p.m.
The Four Corners Futurity, a Grade 3 race and traditionally one of the richest of the Sunray season, matches up some of the top 2-year-old quarter horses in the nation. The 10 fastest qualifiers out of the four trial races will receive an automatic berth into the starting gate for the 350-yard dash.
The trials will be held in races three through six, with trainer Wes Giles holding a strong hand in each of the trial heats.
Giles, who last won the Futurity in 2013, is scheduled to saddle eight horses in the four trial heats, which get underway at approximately 3:48 p.m.
Giles will have two entries in each of the four races, beginning in the third race with Wr Smooth Move expected to receive a lot of support in the first trial.
Owned by Rose Webb and scheduled to be ridden by Martin Bourdieu, Wr Smooth Move ran second in her local debut here on July 3. The New Mexico-bred filly is looking for her first win in her third lifetime start. She will break from post two in the eight-horse field as the second choice on the morning line at odds of 3-to-1.
The 5-to-2 morning-line favorite in the first trial is Messed Up, from the barn of trainer Ramon Rivera.
A California-bred son of Red Storm Cat, Messed Up was dismissed by the bettors here in his debut on July 5, finishing second at 32-to-1 odds. Rivera will employ the services of rider Albert Medrano again this afternoon. They will break from post seven.
Giles' best bet for a trial win comes in the second trial of the day, where Wagon Full Of Cash is expected to attract quite a bit of attention.
The New Mexico-bred daughter of Ivory James was a sharp maiden winner at the Downs at Albuquerque on May 15. She recently showed a strong workout in preparation for this outing and may be the one to beat under Bourdieu, breaking from post seven in the nine-horse field.
The multiple stakes-winning trainer appears to hold a strong hand again in the third trial heat, with An Agitator as the morning-line favorite.
The Oklahoma-bred son of American Runaway ran third in the $50,000 West Texas Juvenile in April at Sunland Park in El Paso, Texas. He broke his maiden in his next start at Albuquerque and could be sitting on another top effort in his local debut. He will break from post five in the nine-horse field.
The fourth and final trial heat may be the most compelling, with impressive local winner Good Job Honey looking to make it back-to-back scores over the course.
Trained by Ken Grisham, Good Job Honey beat Wr Smooth Move when they face each other on July 3. The Texas-bred daughter of Freighttrain B will be ridden by Alejandro Medellin from post four. They have been listed at 6-to-1 on the morning line.
Trainer Priscilla Leon will send out Pilota On Fire, the 5-to-2 morning-line favorite, in the fourth and final trial.
An Arizona-bred filly, Pilota On Fire was a narrow loser in her second lifetime start at Albuquerque. While still looking for her first career win, she gets the services of Manuel Gutierrez on board, breaking from post two.
Giles, who is still looking for his first win this season in a quarter horse race, will send out Gianni Modo, who broke his maiden in May at Albuquerque in his second career start.
Carnero will get the call aboard the Texas-bred gelding and will break from the outside post.
Plays of the day
Each day during the current racing season, Sunray Park and Casino track announcer Eric Alwan and Steve Bortstein offer their best plays for that day's program.
Alwan's best bet comes in the fourth race, the second trial for the Four Corners Futurity. Alwan likes No. 7 Wagon Full Of Cash, an impressive maiden winner last time out who may be getting better with each race.
Bortstein's best bet comes in the ninth race, a 400-yard allowance dash, in which he likes No. 8 Dashing Lili. Dashing Lili returns to the track where she broke her maiden last year and ran well in her last race.
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.