Rich stakes races headline SunRay Park's opening weekend
FARMINGTON — A pair of big stakes races featuring New Mexico-breds highlight opening weekend programs at SunRay Park and Casino, with older thoroughbred fillies and mares taking center stage on Saturday and 3-year-old quarter horses topping the bill on Sunday.
An overflow field of 12 older fillies and mares were entered for Saturday's $100,000 Russell and Helen Foutz Distaff Handicap, which will be run at 6 1/2 furlongs.
Our Time To Shine has been installed as the 5-to-2 morning line favorite for trainer Nancy Summers and jockey Kelsi Purcell. The daughter of Laugh Track is coming off a second place finish in her most recent start at Sunland Park, when she was beaten two lengths by Flaxy Lady in the Peppers Pride Handicap on March 6.
Drawn in post eight, Our Time To Shine has three wins from 10 career starts with career earnings approaching $103,000.
Flaxy Lady drew post position three in the Foutz. The 7-year-old mare will be making her SunRay Park debut in the race, and has eight wins from 26 career starts. Owned by Amanda Sweeten and trained by Andres Gonzalez, the daughter of Firejack was off the board in her most recent start at Sunland Park on March 27 and will be ridden by Miguel Perez.
Also entered in the Foutz Handicap is lightly raced Bikini Time, who will be making her stakes debut after winning her most recent start at Sunland Park. Owned by Brian Mundell, the 4-year-old filly by Attila's Storm has won three times from four career starts and is the third choice on the morning line at odds of 4-to-1.
Bikini Time will be ridden by Rigo Sarmiento for trainer Bart Hone.
Ten runners will enter the starting gate for the Foutz, with Shugs Charlie and McGoldie making the also-eligible list.
Post time for the Foutz Handicap is scheduled for 5:27 p.m. and will go as the ninth race on Saturday's 10-race program.
On Sunday, the $100,000 New Mexico Breeders Stakes tops the program, with a dozen quarter horses entered for the 400-yard affair, headlined by Sunburst Stakes winner Daddys Mony.
Trained by Eric Valenzuela and owned by Julie Schoenhofer and Maricela Vasquez, Daddys Mony is looking for her third win in a row. The 3-year-old daughter of Big Daddy Cartel has amassed earnings of more than $131,000.
Daddys Mony will be ridden once again by Luis Flores-Garcia and will break from post five in the race.
Valenzuela, who will also saddle Wente in the New Mexico Breeders Stakes for owners Scott Branson and Jimmy Vasquez, finished the Sunland Park racing season with 18 winners, topping the quarter horse trainer standings.
Wish Bigg, also seeking his third straight victory, comes off a convincing score in the New Mexico Horsemen's and Breeder's Association Stakes at Sunland Park on March 12.
Trained by James J. Gonzales III for owner Sebastian Gonzales, the son of Big Daddy Cartel has won two races from six career starts and has earnings topping $96,000.
Wish Bigg will be ridden once again by Mario Delgado and breaks from post three in the New Mexico Breeders Stakes.
The New Mexico Breeders Stakes will be run at approximately 3:51 p.m. and is listed as the fifth race on Sunday's 10-race card.
Both the Saturday and Sunday programs at SunRay Park and Casino have a first post time of 2:15 p.m. Racing is held every Friday through Sunday through May 29.
For more information about the SunRay Park racing season, including entries and results, check out their official page at Equibase.com
Steve Bortstein can be reached via email at SBortstein@Gannett.com, via Twitter @DTSBortstein or on the phone at (505) 635-2680. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.