SUNLAND PARK — Ridden brilliantly by Santos Carrizales, Zoomin Effortlessly took command of the $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino in the middle of the racetrack, then had enough left in the tank to hold off the late rally of heavily favored Jrc Callas First to win the richest quarter horse of the season for older horses.
Owned by Perrett Telesforo and trained by Edelmiro Carrizalez, Zoomin Effortlessly scored by a long neck while racing 400 yards in a quick final time of 19 minutes and 34 seconds.
Wagon Full of Gold broke fast from his inside post under Adrian Ramos, with Zoomin Effortlessly taking the lead from there, one midway down the stretch. Sent off as the second wagering choice at odds of 4-to-1, Zoomin Effortlessly held off a furious rally from the favorite and jockey Damian Martinez to pick up the win, the sixth in a row for the five-year-old son of Zoomin For Bux.
Bred in Texas by Tommy Charbula, Zoomin Effortlessly's win streak includes a graded stakes wins last year in his home state at Retama Park and Lone Star Park. Sunday's win pushes his lifetime earnings to over $280,000 while winning for the 12th time in 19 career starts.
The fans who supported Zoomin Effortlessly at the windows were rewarded with a $10 return on their investment.
Jrc Callas First, last year's American Quarter Horse Association champion quarter horse, settled for second, his second time coming up short in this race. In 2014, he ran fourth in the championship behind Rcj Major Storm.
Jrc Callas First was a length clear of third place finisher Dashin For a Prize, who was a length in front of Jess Featureme Quick.
Behind those top four were Alis Jumpn, Grc Justplainazoom, Eagle On The Fly, Wagon Full Of Gold, Mad About The Moon and Takiana Romanova.
BV Midnite Express scores in Invitational
Making his Sunland Park debut, Bella Vista Farms' BV Midnite Express made short work of his 10 rivals in the $250,000 Winter Juvenile Championship Invitational, scoring by 1 1-4 lengths under Russel Hadley.
An Oklahoma-bred son of Freighttrain B, BV Midnite Express broke a bit outward shortly after the starts, but held a lead from start to finish in the 400-yard dash, completing the distance in a time of 19.60 seconds in the inaugural running of this event.
Sent off as the 6-to-5 favorite in the Invitational, BV Midnite Express returned $4.40 to his winning investors.
"I had a feeling if he could get of the gate, he could do anything he wanted here," Willis said after the race.
BV Midnite Express picked up his fifth win from eight career starts. The lion's share of the $250,000 purse increases his career earnings to nearly $760,000. Last year, as a two-year-old, he picked up wins in the All American Juvenile at Ruidoso Downs, as well as the Grade 1 Heritage Place Futurity at Remington Park in Oklahoma City.
Burns Folly, with Jaime Leos aboard, finished second, with Queen Arabella and Streakinjess for Lmg rounding out the top four finishers.
Behind those runners were Memphis D Nasty, Sc Volcom, Game Changes, Apollitical Ok, Good Job Honey, Sweet Splenda and Pampered Jess.
Astica gets the break and the win
This time, there were no miscues at the start.
Getting away quickly from the gate in the 400-yard Lou Wooten & Sydney Valentini Handicap, Astica re-established herself as perhaps the top older filly in the state with a dominant win under Salvador Martinez.
Astica posted an impressive 1 1-2 length win in the $85,000 state-bred affair, racing the 400 yards in a swift time of 19.42 seconds to earn her seventh win from her last eight starts.
Last time out, the Jesse James Jr filly stumbled coming out of the gate in the New Mexico Filly and Mare Championship at Zia Park, before rallying late to finish second, her only loss in 2015.
Sunday, sent off as the overwhelming 4-to-5 favorite, Astica broke perfectly from her stall and was vigorously steered to the wire, well ahead of runnerup Get Down Bambi. Astica rewarded her many backers with a 3.60 return on investment.
Astica has won eight times from 12 lifetime starts, with lifetime earnings topping $308,000.
Get Down Bambi finished ahead of Pretty Woody Jesse, with Bankie Bay roundign out the top four.
'Strawfly makes it look easy in Challenger Six
Tony Sedillo's DE Wagons Strawfly loomed a foreboding presence coming off the pace at the Sunland Park stretch under Jose Ortiz, then swept past a pair of dueling leaders on his way to a convincing, 2 1-4 length score in the $85,000 Challenger Six Handicap.
The New Mexico-bred, seven-year-old gelded son of Genuine Strawfly ran the 870 yards in a final time of 45.65 seconds while being geared down a bit in the final yards. It was his second straight win.
Sent off as the 6-to-5 favorite in the Challenger Six, DE Wagons Strawfly returned $4.40 for each $2 win bet.
DE Wagons Strawfly's lifetime earnings now top $450,000. He's won five times in 10 starts at Sunland Park.
Tag Ur It held on for the place with Ruby Gonzalez on board, followed by Super Quintons with Never Tap Out rounding out the top four finishers.
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.