FARMINGTON — New Mexico's finest 2-year-old thoroughbreds are set to square off in a pair of $50,000 stakes races as part of a nine-race live program that begins at 1:30 this afternoon at SunRay Park and Casino.
Juvenile fillies will headline the four and a half furlong C.O. Ken Kendrick Memorial Stakes which will go as the seventh race on the card.
The Todd Fincher-trained Tlla Cat, who is still seeking her first career win after a pair of third-place finishes at Ruidoso, has been installed as the 3-to-1 morning-line favorite under jockey Ruby Gonzalez.
Tilla Cat, a daughter of Attila's Storm, finished third in a trial race for the Mountain Top Futurity on June 5. She came back 15 days later in the Futurity and showed good early speed, but faded to finish a well-beaten third.
In both the trial and the Mountain Top Futurity, Tilla Cat faced both males and females. Today, she will be racing exclusively against fillies.
Tilla Cat will break from post seven in the Kendrick, which has a full field of 10 horses set to go postward.
Fincher will also be represented in the Kendrick by Domesday Gal, a recent maiden winner over this course and slated to be ridden by Aldo Arboleda.
Domesday Gal could be sitting on another big effort as the 5-to-1 third choice on the morning line.
Arboleda and Domesday Gal will break from post five in the Kendrick.
Trainer Henry Dominguez will also have a pair of starters in the Kendrick, notably What A Flag, the second choice on the morning line with Enrique Gomez aboard.
The daughter of Diabolical broke her maiden in her third career start at Ruidoso on July 11. She has tackled stakes company in both the Rio Grande Senorita on July 25 and before that in the Mountain Top. In both races, she failed to light the board.
What A Flag will break from the rail in her local debut in the Kendrick, which has a scheduled post time of 3:54 p.m.
A similarly wide open affair is scheduled for the Totah, which will go as the eighth race on the card and will cover the same distance.
Casey Jones Who, a recent maiden winner here on July 7, is expected to be one of the post-time favorites in the Totah.
Casey Jones Who has been no worse than third in four lifetime starts.
The second- and third- place finishers from July 7, Happy Havta Go and Deb's Pretty Boy, are also expected to challenge Casey Jones Who in the Totah.
Seasalt N Vinegar, the 3-to-1 morning-line favorite, may have an edge over the rivals. Owned and trained by Barbara Brown, the son of Seacliff hasn't raced since finishing second last April in the Copper Top Futurity at Sunland Park in El Paso, Texas.
Seasalt N Vinegar will be ridden by Elvin Gonzalez, last year's leading thoroughbred rider at SunRay. They will break from post five in the Totah, with a scheduled post of 4:18 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 offer their best bets for that day's program.
Alwan's best bet comes in the third race, where he likes No. 2 Cowboy's Prayer, who was a romping winner last time out for Kentucky Derby winning trainer Chip Woolley.
Bortstein's best bet comes in the fifth race, where he likes No. 6 Mo Rock, who is looking for his third straight win and to remain unbeaten over the local course.
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.