FARMINGTON — A trio of stakes races, beginning with Friday's $35,000 New Mexico Horseman's Association Stakes, will headline the closing week of the live-racing at SunRay Park and Casino.
A strong field of eight runners will contest the 870-yard featured event, which goes as the eighth race on the all-quarter horse racing program. Racing is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. with the NMHA Stakes set to post at 5:48.
Beau Wizer, an 8-year-old and multiple stakes winner trained by Jill Giles, has been installed as the 5-to-2 morning-line favorite for the NMHA Stakes.
Though winless during the last 14 months and without a start since Nov. 28, the New Mexico-bred Beau Wizer has been competitive in both quarter horse and thoroughbred stakes races in the past. He placed second behind Rollickin Red in the $60,000 Lobo Championship at the Downs at Albuquerque last year, and finished runner-up in the Sierra Blanca Handicap last summer at Ruidoso Downs.
An earner of more than $411,000 with eight career wins from 49 lifetime starts, the son of Premeditation is winless in six starts over this course. But in Beau Wizer's favor is hist four wins in six starts at the 870-yard distance.
Ry Eikleberry will jockey Beau Wizer from the No. 2 post in the NMHA Stakes.
Infinite Bull, the second choice on the morning line at 3-to-1, may be Beau Wizer's biggest challenge.
A five-time winner and earner of more than $161,000 for Tucumcari Thoroughbreds and trainer Greg Green, Infinite Bull is also returning from a layoff and looking to end an elongated losing streak. The son of King Bull last won more than 14 months ago at Albuqeurque, and has hit the board only once in four starts since. His most recent start came last April at Sunland Park.
Norberto Arroyo Jr. has been named to ride Infinite Bull, who drew the No. 4 post in the NMHA Stakes.
Two more major stakes races, Saturday's Totah Thoroughbred Futurity and Sunday's $81,000 Four Corners Futurity, will be featured during the final weekend of live racing.
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.