FARMINGTON — This has been quite a summer for trainer Ken Grisham.
Two weeks removed from sending out Good Job Honey to a convincing win in the Four Corners Futurity, Grisham swept the biggest quarter-horse races of the season. In front of a crowd of over 1,600 spectators, Grisham sent out Rg Miracle to a convincing win in the $102,000 New Mexico Breeders' Futurity at SunRay Park and Casino.
Ridden to victory by Isaias Cardenas, the homebred son of Hearts Miracle popped right out of the gate. He dueled briefly with post time favorite Wood Be A Bullet, but pulled clear inside the final 100 yards to win by a length, stopping the clock in 17.31 seconds for 350 yards.
Rg Miracle, a two-time winner from six lifetime starts, had been second in all of his other races. He broke his maiden here in his fourth career start before finishing second behind the fastest qualifier - Wr Jessie - when trials were held here on Aug. 7.
"He's such a good horse," Grisham said after the race. "I felt like if he could get out of the gate, he could beat them. He's gotten out of the gate well a couple of times, and he's won both times."
Grisham's barn has been extraordinary this season, particularly with two-year-olds. In winning both the New Mexico Breeders' Futurity as well as the Four Corners Futurity on Aug. 9, with Good Job Honey, Grisham has put together a season that rivals that of the man he is battling with atop the trainer standings in Wes Giles.
Grisham was quick to point out in the winners circle that he has a lot of help along the way in keeping the operation moving forward.
"All the credit goes to my crew, including Daniel Apodaca," Grisham said after the race.
Rg Miracle, sent off as the 9-to-2 second choice in the wagering, returned $11 to win. His connections earned a check worth $47,940 for the win, which increases his career bankroll to over $70,000.
Wood Be A Bullet, ridden by Alex Bautista, broke well from the gate and dueled briefly with the winner, but was no match in the final yards. The son of Woodbridge narrowly held the place over Shes A Blazin Winner, with Princess Jesse rounding out the top four.
Behind those runners were My Mojito, Rapid James, Winners Rule, Chickaloni, A Blazin Flash and Wr Jessie.
NOTES: Cardenas won three races on the Sunday program, including back-to-back wins to start the day.
In addition to the win aboard Rg Miracle, Cardenas won the opener Silvers Due, then came back in the second race aboard Rocky El Roble, also trained by Grisham.
WHAT'S NEXT: Tuesday marks the beginning of the end to the 2015 racing season, with only five more racing days remaining before the meet concludes on Sept. 1.
Tuesday's all-thoroughbred program will be highlighted by the $35,000 SunRay Park and Casino Handicap, in which Dirt Monster will be looking for back-to-back wins over the course for leading thoroughbred trainer Justin Evans.
First post time on Tuesday is 1:30 p.m.
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.