Battle brewing on top of the leaderboard
FARMINGTON — Jockeys Albert Medrano, Esgar Ramirez and Hector Aldrete put on a show Friday at SunRay Park and Casino in a program specifically devoted to the shortliners.
Medrano, who came into the day sitting in fourth on the current roster of top quarter-horse riders, made a bold move to the top of the leaderboard with a three-win day. That put him in third place, and he's now only two wins behind Jose Enriquez and four behind Martin Bourdieu, the current leader of the pack.
Medrano's three wins, aboard Heza Perfect Storm (race six), My Coronita (race eight) and Dunit Bro Bro (race ten), now give him 10 wins this season.
Ramirez and Aldrete each rode a pair of winners on the card. The now crowded leaderboard makes for a little more intrigue heading into the final 11 days of the season, which ends on Tuesday, Sept., 1.
What's on tap
A strong, 10-race program gets underway today at 1:30 p.m., with the featured event being the SunRay Park Mile, a claiming stakes race worth a purse of $25,000.
A field of seven will go to the post in the Mile, all of which are eligible to be claimed for a tag of $8,000. The 2-to-1 morning line favorite, Lee's Gold, is attempting to become the first four-time winner of the current season.
Drawn on the outside and slated to be ridden by Alfredo Juarez Jr., for trainer Justin Evans, Lee's Gold is a nine-time winner from 40 career starts. He's won three times on this course and is a perfect 2 for 2 at the mile distance.
The Mile will go as the featured eighth race on the card, with a scheduled post time of 4:18 p.m.
Also on tap tomorrow is another carryover in the Super High Five Jackpot pool, which now stands at over $1400. The Jackpot race, as has been the case all season, is the ninth race on the card. Tomorrow's is a wide-open starter allowance sprint at 6 1-2 furlongs.
The object of the Super High Five Jackpot is to correctly pick the top five finishers in the race. The minimum wager is 50 cents, and with multiple combinations, the cost of the bet increases.
Last week, the Jackpot carried over for four straight days, resulting in a pool of over $13,000. That pool was shared by multiple bettors who correctly tabbed the results of last Tuesday's large carryover.
The morning line favorite in today's ninth race is Timeless Indy, who drops into a softer spot after finishing fifth in the Inaugural Handicap last month.
Owned and trained by Shawn Morrow and scheduled to be ridden by Irwin Rosendo, Timeless Indy is the 5-to-2 favorite and will break from post 4 in the eight-horse field.
The national highlight in racing will be at Arlington Heights, Ill., where the 33rd running of the Grade 1 Arlington Million is the staple of the summer turf racing season.
Plays of the day
Each day during the current season, SunRay Park 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, where he likes No. 3 Deputy's Echo, a good-looking first time starter who's showed a series of decent morning workouts leading up to this spot.
Bortstein's best bet goes in the 10th race, where he likes No. 8 Fierce Act, who might be the lone speed in the rave under last year's champion thoroughbred rider Elvin Gonzalez.
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.