FARMINGTON — Ill Stop The World could very easily have had his two-race win streak snapped at the start of Sunday's $35,000 La Plata Stakes at Sunray Park and Casino.
After a tardy getaway from the gate, jockey Esgar Ramirez and the mild 2.60-to-1 post time favorite Ill Stop The World rallied in the final yards to prevail in a driving photo finish. The top four runners in the race finished within a half-length of each other.
Ill Stop The World, owned and trained by Alfredo Sanchez, was slow out of the gate from his midpack post in the 400-yard La Plata, while TF Featured Effort and Alis Jumpn dueled for the lead.
Inside the last 110 yards, the New Mexico-bred son of Fdd Dynasty fired through between horses and got his nose down on the wire just ahead of longshot BP Takem Away. He was also slightly ahead of Alis Jumpn, who declared to be in a deadheat for second along with BP Takem Away.
Ramirez was confident that he would get his horse into the race even after the slow getaway.
"About four or five jumps after the start, I felt like he was giving me more," Ramirez said. "I kept asking and he kept coming."
Ill Stop The World, who came to Sanchez's barn earlier this year, has now won three straight races, including two in a row this past spring at the Downs at Albuquerque.
"He's been a real nice horse for us," Sanchez said after the race.
Sunday's win is the sixth from 19 career starts for Ill Stop The World. His lifetime earnings picked up another $21,000 for his efforts, increasing his total to over $226,000. He returned $7.20 to his winning backers.
Ill Stop The World ran the 400 yards in a quick time of 19.43. That time was just a nose ahead of Bp Takem Away, who rallied along the inside and just missed in the photo, and Alis Jumpn, who battled on the front end for much of the journey.
Bp Takem Away and jockey Hector Aldrete were unlucky to lose in the photo, but the Oklahoma-bred son of Corona Cartel has been very consistent of late, having finished no worse than second in five of his last six starts.
Alis Jumpn, ridden by Martin Bourdieu trainer Adam Tapia, tasted the sting of defeat for the first time in five trips over the local course. The Texas-bred mare was tagged in the final stride for all the money.
Behind the top three were Tf Featured Effort, Fly Thru The Fire, Jo Jo Hot Legs and Celebrar.
Live racing resumes at Sunray on Tuesday, with an all-thoroughbred program that gets underway at 1:30 p.m.
HORSES TO WATCH: There are a couple notable performances from this weekend at Sunray and Ruidoso Downs to keep tabs on as the racing season continues at Sunray.
Go back and watch the tape on Sunday's seventh race at Sunray and keep an eye on third place finisher Royal Meridian. Sent off as an overwhelming favorite on the toteboard, he was given no chance to win after hopping at the start and breaking last. Under Frank Reyes, Royal Meridian made a strong, midrace move to contest the early leaders, but flattened out late and was beaten five lengths by the top pair. A better getaway will give this one a much better result next time out.
At Ruidoso Downs on Sunday, Misscharlypotatoes had just about everything go wrong when taking fourth in the $50,000 Sierra Starlet Stakes.
After being squeezed back while dueling for the early lead under Miguel Perez, the Tony Klenakis trainee was forced wide into the lane by a riderless Stormy Day, who dumped Isaias Enriquez at the start. Misscharlypotatoes was floated widest into the lane and was never a threat to the impressive winner Tea Light, but she finished strong for fourth in a much better-than-looked effort.
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.