All-star cast lines up for championshhip

Steve Bortstein Special to The Daily Times
The Daily Times

ALBUQUERQUE — Jrc Callas First headlines a star-studded field in today's $200,000 Downs at Albuquerque Quarter Horse Championship on a stakes-laden card to wrap up the 2015 state fair racing season.

A multiple Grade 1 winner and last year's World Champion quarter horse as voted by members of the American Quarter Horse Association, Jrc Callas First is a 13-time winner from 22 career starts with earnings over $276,000. Owned by Dana and trainer Brian Stroud, the Texas-bred son of Winners Award brings a two-race win streak into the Championship. His race will be the ninth on today's 10-race card, which includes three stakes races both for quarter horses and thoroughbreds.

Jrc Callas First will break from post 7 and is scheduled to be ridden by Damian Martinez, who has been the regular pilot aboard the 4-to-1 second choice on the morning line. This will be the first time Jrc Callas First will be racing here, which may be the reason why he is not the early favorite.

That distinction goes to Rcj Major Storm, unbeaten in his two starts at Albuquerque and a winner in four straight races for owner/trainer Alfredo Sanchez. Listed at 3-to-1 on the official morning line, Rcj Major Storm was last seen winning the Grade 3 Lineage Championship over this course on May 10.

The New Mexico-bred son of Brookstone Bay has won four straight races, and has won 10 times from 32 lifetime starts. He has amassed earnings topping $548,000, with one of those wins coming over Jrc Callas First. The two met only once, in last year's Grade 1 Championship at Sunland Park.

Rcj Major Storm will break from post 5 with Jesse Levario aboard.

In all, the 10 horses signed up for the 400-yard dash with a scheduled post time of 5:14 p.m. have earned over $5 million, with 12-to-1 longshot Handsome Jack Flash the top earner in the field. Purse monies are currently over $1.5 million.

Trained by Wes Giles, who will also saddle Too Flash For You, the second-richest earner in the Championship, Handsome Jack Flash won the 2013 All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs. That win was easily the biggest in the career of the statebred son of First Moonflash.

Drawn on the far outside in post 10 with Ricky Ramirez slated to ride, Handsome Jack Flash brings a four-race losing streak into the Championship, most recently finishing off the board in the Grade 2 Zia Handicap on July 26 at Ruidoso Downs. Handsome Jack Flash has won three times in seven starts at this distance.

Too Flash For You, last year's All American Derby winner, has earned just over $1 million for his connections. The New Mexico-bred son of First Moonflash recently won the Grade 2 Zia Handicap at Ruidoso.

Breaking from post 8 under Adrian Ramos, Too Flash For You, a seven-time winner from 18 starts, has been listed ast the 5-to-1 third choice on the morning line.

The Championship is the featured attraction with a first post time of 1:30 p.m.

Also featured on today's program is the $146,000 First Moonflash Derby, in which Astica will be looking for her sixth straight win for Giles.

A perfect 2-for-2 over the course, Astica has been listed as the 5-to-2 morning line favorite for the Derby, which will be run as the sixth race with a post time of 3:50 p.m. Astica has already beaten four of her rivals in this race in her most recent starts, including second choice Pretty Woody Jesse.

Run at a distance of 400 yards, the First Moonflash Derby attracted a field of 10 runners.

Thoroughbreds are featured in the $205,000 Camino Real Futurity, for New Mexico-bred two-year-olds racing six furlongs and the $60,000 New Mexico Horse Breeders' Thoroughbred Handicap.


Shirley Grisham's Rg Miracle continues to make his claim as top two-year-old statebred quarter horse with a dominating score in Saturday's $214,768 Downs at Albuquerque Quarter Horse Futurity.

Trained by Ken Grisham and ridden to victory by Isaias Cardenas, Rg Miracle broke perfectly from his near-inside post, got on even terms with Chickaloni after 100 yards and gradually pulled clear to win by more than a length. He raced the 400 yards in a final time of 19.8 seconds.

"Once he broke from the gate all right, I felt good," Grisham said. "He hadn't always been the best away from the gate, but once he got out well, I was confident."

Rg Miracle, a son of Hearts Miracle has won two stakes races this year, including the New Mexico Breeders' Futurity last month at SunRay Park and Casino. He has been no worse than second in eight lifetime starts. The winner's share of the purse increases his career earnings to over $175,000.

Rg Miracle, sent off as the 9-to-5 favorite, returned $5.80 to his winning backers.

Chickaloni, with Jose Ortiz aboard, saved the place while Rocky El Roble and Martin Bourdieu finished just ahead of Major Bites for the third spot.

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


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