'Humor no laughing matter at SunRay
FARMINGTON — It would be safe to say trainer Justin Evans has a strong hand in Monday's $30,000 SunRay Park and Casino Handicap here.
Of the eight thoroughbreds lined up for the one-mile event, four of them will come from Evans' barn, currently the leading one on the local backstretch.
Earl Neugebauer's Redneck Humor, the 5-to-2 morning-line favorite in the Handicap — which will go as the eighth race — is looking for his third straight victory, as well as his third straight stakes score.
Coming off wins in the Inaugural Handicap last time on this course and a win in the Bill Thomas Memorial Handicap in March at Sunland Park, the 5-year-old Florida-bred son of Da Stoops is a six-time winner from 16 career starts, with earnings topping $174,000.
Breaking from the 7 post in the Handicap and scheduled to be ridden by leading thoroughbred jockey Alfredo Juarez Jr., Redneck Humor will race over a distance of ground for the first time in more than a year.
Both of Redneck Humor's most recent wins have been at 6 1-2 furlongs.
"I've wanted to stretch him out for awhile now," Evans said of the expected post-time favorite. "He's kind of a free running horse, that, when he's cleared off, he's at his best."
In addition to the morning-line favorite, Evans will also saddle Big Tall Paul for owners Jackie and Sylvia Herron.
Big Tall Paul, an 11-time winner from 62 career starts, is the 7-to-2 third choice on the morning line. The 9-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Big Country has two wins from four starts this year and comes off a third-place finish over this course on May 9.
Drawn in the outside post, Big Tall Paul is scheduled to be ridden by Alejandro Medellin.
Evans will also send out Alley Oop Oop and Watch Me Go in the Marathon, which has a scheduled post time of 5:48 p.m.
Donna Eaton's Overland Park, the 3-to-1 second choice on the morning line, has finished first or second in each of his last eight starts.
Trained by Nancy Summers and scheduled to be ridden by Elvin Gonzalez, the Texas-bred son of Snow Ridge has amassed career earnings of more than $67,000 while winning three times from 11 starts.
Monday's all-thoroughbred card wraps up the fifth week of the current racing season, which runs through June 20. The first post time on Monday is 3 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.