'Paradise found in SunRay Mile
FARMINGTON — Jockey Luis Rodriguez confidently advanced Lewdawg N Paradise to the lead approaching the far turn and could not be caught, coming home as an upset winner in Saturday's $25,000 SunRay Park Mile.
Lewdawg N Paradise, trained by J.R. Gonzalez Sr., took advantage of a moderate pace setup, flanked on the outside of early leaders Yes It's Snowing and Detention through an opening half-mile timed in 46.99 seconds.
Rodriguez - sensing the oncoming Wed Too Quick advancing to his outside - wiggled Lewdawg N Paradise away from his rivals nearing the far turn. He then battled with that rival to the top of the lane before opening up inside the final furlong, easily prevailing three lengths ahead of Wed Too Quick. Even-money favorite Lee's Gold had to settle for third.
Lewdawg N Paradise, sent off at odds of 8.80-to-1, ran the mile in a final time of one minute, 38.71 seconds, earning the tenth win of his career from 54 starts. The win is his fifth from eight starts at SunRay and catapults his career earnings to over $109,000.
A California-bred son of Lost In Paradise, Lewdawg N Paradise returned $19.60 to his winning backers.
The Mile, a claiming stakes race in which all the participants were eligible to be claimed for $8,000, marks the fourth time in which Lewdawg N Paradise has won at this trip.
Wed Too Quick and jockey Jose Torres, who were also dismissed by a majority of players in the Mile at odds of 7.60-to-1, made an eye-catching move wide down the backstretch and through the turn. However that was no answer for the winner, late. But Wed Too Quick still finished nearly two lengths ahead of Lee's Gold, who had his three-race win streak snapped in the process.
Ridden by Alfredo Juarez Jr., Lee's Gold was looking to become the first four-time winner this season. He made a brief move down the backstretch between horses, but failed to sustain his bid inside the final furlong.
Behind Lee's Gold across the wire were Galiztianer, Eye For An Eye and Detention.
Trainer Justin Evans may not have had the winner in the Mile, but he did serve notice with a promising two-year-old when Concord Fast proved an impressive debut winner in Saturday's fifth race.
Bred in West Virginia, the son of Concord Point had been training well locally before his debut. He won with little doubt, setting the pace early and winning geared down, running 4 1-2 furlongs in 52.88 seconds under Alfredo Juarez Jr.
On the day, Juarez won twice, while jockey Frank Reyes overcame a scare earlier in the day to keep pressure on the top of the leaderboard for thoroughbred riders.
Juarez, in addition to his win on Concord Fast, won the nightcap on Saturday's card aboard Suancesong. Reyes was fortunate to walk away from an incident in the fifth race when his mount Candy an Wine was involved in a spill. He came back to win the seventh race aboard Zapped.
A look at the top of the standings in the thoroughbred riding colony shows Reyes and Juarez each with 22 winners, while Enrique Gomez, who rode three winners last Tuesday, remains on their their heels with 21 winners.
Another difficult challenge remained elusive again Saturday when no one was able to tab the first five finishers in the ninth race, thus increasing today's Super High Five Jackpot carryover pool to over $2,300.
The Super High Five carryover has begun to grow in popularity this season, particularly when the pool carries over after multiple days.
An interesting, though perhaps chalky ninth race, will set the stage for the carryover, as a field of seven older fillies and mares travel 7 furlongs.
The $23,000 allowance event is headlined by 3-to-1 morning line favorite Prettypriceygal, who ran second last time out behind Laugh It Up in the Dr. O.G. Fischer Memorial Handicap just 10 days ago.
Prettypriceygal is looking to get back into the winners circle for the first time since April 11, when she won the Czaria Handicap at the Downs at Albuquerque.
She will break from post three in the race and will be ridden by Alfredo Juarez Jr.
Perhaps the biggest threat to Prettypriceygal is My Max Regal, who will break from the rail under Enrique Garcia for trainer Ed Kereluk.
The daughter of Indygo Shiner has been no worse than third in her last five starts, most recently a wire-to-wire win locally against similar allowance company.
My Max Regal breaks from the rail in the ninth race, which has a scheduled post time of 4:42 p.m.
PLAYS OF THE DAY
Each day during the current racing season, SunRay Park track announcer Eric Alwan and paddock show host Steve Bortstein provide their best bets for that day's program.
Alwan's best bet comes in the eighth race, where he likes No. 3 Funnyoushouldask, dropping in for a claim tag for strong connections over a course she likes.
Bortstein's best bet comes in the third race, where he likes No. Cc Topher, who should be much tighter this time around after a speed-and-fade effort off the bench last time out.
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.