FARMINGTON — Sent off as the co-longest shot on the board, Jose Luiz Chavez' El Tule posted a wire-to-wire upset win in today's $33,800 Totah Thoroughbred Futurity.
Trained by Phillip Sanchez, the New Mexico-bred colt by Touchdown Ky broke alertly from his outside post in the five-horse dash, sprinted to an early lead under jockey Ricardo Jaime and withstood a serious challenge from post-time favorite Ignored to deep stretch before prevailing by three-quarters of a length.
El Tule, a recent maiden winner at Ruidoso Downs in just his second career start, ran the four-and-a-half furlong race in 52.15 seconds. He returned $28.80 to his winning backers.
"I could feel the other horse (Ignored) coming up on the outside, but he just had another gear when I asked for it," Jaime said after the win.
Ignored, winner of the Copper Top Futurity last month at Sunland Park and sent off as the 1-to-5 favorite in the Totah, was always within striking range of the winner going into the far turn. The son of The Way Home got within a half-length of El Tule at the head of the lane, but never surpassed the stubborn winner.
El Tule earned $20,280 for his winning connections. It was his second win in three career starts, bringing his career earnings to nearly $28,000.
Ignored finished nearly three lengths clear of third-place finisher Happy Hennessy, with Stormtown Heat and Lucky Lou Who completing the order of finish.
Four Corners Futurity may belong to Russsian
White Russsian, the fastest qualifier in trials held here earlier this month, is the 3-to-1 morning line favorite in Sunday's $81,000 Four Corners Futurity, one of the richest stakes races of the 2016 live-racing season at SunRay Park and Casino.
Trained by Javier Roman Jr. and slated to be ridden by Alonso Rivera, White Russsian was a convincing two-length winner in his career debut at SunRay on June 3. Breaking from an inside post with Rivera aboard, the gelded son of Swissle Stick dominated his rivals to win by two widening lengths, racing 350 yards in a final time of 17.6 seconds.
Drawn in post No. 2 for Sunday's Futurity, White Russsian will try and make it a sparkling conclusion for the owners, Cuadra San Juditas LLC, who will be named as the leading quarter horse owners for this season.
The main rival for White Russsian may be the horse immediately to his inside, Fdd Ming Dynasty.
The daughter of Fdd Dynasty broke her maiden and qualified for the Futurity in her third-career start, which she won by nearly two lengths in a final time of 17.65 seconds. Martin Bourdieu, one of the region's leading quarter horse riders, was aboard for the trial and will be back on board Sunday for owners David and Ross Hinkins.
Fdd Ming Dynasty, trained by Emilio Cadena III, has been installed as the 5-to-1 third choice on the official morning line.
The Four Corners Futurity, with a full field of 10 runners, will go as the eighth race of a nine-race program and has a scheduled post time of 4:03 p.m.
The field, from the rail out with riders and morning-line odds for the Four Corners Futurity lines up like this: Fdd Ming Dynasty, Bourdieu, 5-1; White Russsian, Rivera, 3-1; Eagleistic, Jose Enriquez, 4-1; Pee Bee N James, Alejandro Medellin, 8-1; Bf Chasing Foose, 12-1; Rgr Fastlane Ta Fame, Porfirio Cano, 8-1; Wiplash, Jose Ruiz, 10-1; Kinda Hi, Ruben Calderon, 12-1; A Fancy La Jolla, Daniel Amaya, 8-1; Robi James, Jose Ortiz, 10-1.
Sunday and Monday are the final two days of live racing for the current SunRay season. First post time on Sunday is 1:15 p.m. with the closing day program set to begin at 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