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Chickaloni returns the favor in Futurity

Steve Bortstein
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Turning the tables on her biggest rival coming into Sunday's $280,000 New Mexico Classic Cup Futurity at Zia Park in Hobbs, Chickaloni scored an upset victory over heavily favored Jess Cruzin On By, earning her first career stakes win in the process.

Jockey Hector Aldrete gives a look at his rivals as he and Cinco Menudos cross the wire in front, winning the $17,000 New Mexico Classic Cup Quarter Horse Championship at Zia Park in Hobbs.

Chickaloni, a daughter of Jess A Chicks and ridden by Jose Ortiz, didn't get away perfectly, getting bumped around a bit after the start. But she rallied strongly on the inside to prevail by a neck over Frank N Jesse, racing 400 yards in a quick time of 19.75 seconds.

Owned by David and Ross Hinkins, Chickaloni came into the race with three wins from seven starts, but was without a stakes win, having finished off the board at SunRay this past summer in the New Mexico Breeders' Futurity. She had minor showings in the Albuquerque Futurity and earlier this year took third behind Jess Cruzin On By in the New Mexico Spring Futurity at Sunland Park.

Jess Cruzin On By, a winner in four of five career starts for trainer Juan Gonzalez, came into the Classic Cup as the fastest qualifier after trials were held on Oct. 17.

Sent off as the 7-to-10 favorite in the Futurity, Jess Cruzin On By was never a factor, finishing seventh under Adrian Ramos in the worst race of his career.

Chickaloni, sent off at odds of 7.5-to-1, returned $17 to win.

The Futurity was the richest of a 12-race, all-stakes program featuring the best state-bred quarter horses and thoroughbreds at Zia Park. With purse monies totaling nearly $1.5 million, it's one of the richest race cards in America featuring all state-bred competition.

Among the highlights on the Classic Cup Day program were Major Moonflash's impressive score in the $199,000 Classic Cup Derby for trainer Wes Giles.

The three-year-old son of First Moonflash, sent off as the 2.1-to-1 favorite, broke perfectly under jockey Adrian Ramos before eventually inching clear in deep stretch to win by a length over Dark Moonflash.

Owned by Leslie and Pierre Amestoy, First Moonflash won for the third time in his 14-race career. He picked up more than $95,000 in the process, which brought his career earnings to over $178,000 .

First Moonflash ran the 440 yards in 21.78 seconds and returned $6.20 for his winning backers.

In the $170,000 Classic Quarter Horse Championship for older horses, Cinco Menudos scored a mild upset win, scoring for the 10th time in his 20-race career.

The son of Jesse James Jr., Cinco Menudos has won five times in his last six starts, with his most recent stakes win coming at Albuquerque Downs in the New Mexico Breeders' Championship.

Cinco Menudos ran the 400 yards in 21.58 seconds, winning by a neck over Jess Got Issues.

The post time favorite, three-year-old Mad About The Moon, finished third in his first race facing older company.

Owned by William McCarty, Cinco Menudos picked up $102,000 with the win, increasing his lifetime earnings to over $317,000. For his winning efforts at odds of nearly 7-to-1, Cinco Menudos returned $15.80.

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.