Futurity highlights best in New Mexico
FARMINGTON — It takes a lot to win a quarter horse Futurity.
As the horse, there's the trial race, which you have to win or run a time fast enough just to qualify for the Futurity.
If you own, train or ride the winner of an early trial race, then you have to wait for the remaining trials to finish to ensure your horse has a spot at the starting gate.
Then there's the actual race itself 16 days later.
Today, a field of 10 New Mexico-bred 2-year-olds will battle for the richest prize of the season at SunRay Park and Casino, the $102,000 New Mexico Breeders' Futurity. It's the featured race of an excellent 10-race card that begins at 1:30 p.m.
The fastest qualifier for the Futurity, Wr Jessie, owned by Farmington's Rose Webb, has been installed as the 3-to-1 morning-line favorite for the 350-yard dash.
Wr Jessie broke her maiden when she won her Futurity trial race in just her third career start. The daughter of Jesse James Jr has never been worse than third in each of her prior starts. She'll from post 4 in the Futurity field, in her third career start over this course.
Trained by Wes Giles, Wr Jessie will be ridden by Martin Bourdieu, who's currently in a heated battle atop the jockey standings with Jose Enriquez in shortline races.
Bourdieu chose to ride Wr Jessie over the second-fastest qualifier Wood Be A Bullet, who might have been the flashiest of trial race winners on August 7.
Wood Be A Bullet will be ridden by Alex Bautista.
A total of seven-hundredths of a second separated the two fastest qualifiers. Wr Jessie ran her trial race in 17.42 seconds, while Wood Be A Bullet won his trial in 17.49 seconds.
Owned by HWD Racing Stables, Wood Be A Bullet is a two-time winner in three career starts. The son of Woodbridge broke his maiden in his second career start on June 12 at the Downs at Albuquerque.
His trial win was very impressive, as he scored by two-and-a-half lengths, which is a rather sizable margin of victory for a 350-yard race.
Wood Be A Bullet will break right next door to the morning-line favorite in post position 5 and has been installed as the 4-to-1 second choice.
The Futurity will run as the fifth race on the program, with a scheduled post time of 3:06 p.m.
The field, from the rail out, with riders and morning-line odds, for the Futurity are: Winners Rule, Enriquez, 8-1; Rapid James, Tanner Thedford, 8-1; Chickaloni, Porfirio Cano, 8-1; Wr Jessie, Bourdieu, 3-1; Wood Be A Bullet, Bautista, 4-1; Shes a Blazin Winner, Alejandro Medellin, 10-1; Rg Miracle, Isaias Cardenas, 5-1; A Blazin Flash, Brayan Velazquez, 10-1; My Mojito, Daniel Amaya, 10-1 and Princess Jesse, Ruben Calderon, 12-1.
Plays of the day
Each day during the current SunRay season, 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, the New Mexico Breeders' Futurity, where he likes No. 5 Wood Be A Bullet, who was impressive winning his trial race.
Bortstein's best bet comes in the second race, where he likes No. 9 Faster Than Jack, a recent maiden winner over this course and retaining the services of one of the top riders this season.
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.