ALBUQUERQUE — Yaneth Cabrera's Klassic Strawfly, under a powerful and alert ride from jockey Isaias Cardenas, proved an impressive winner in today's $100,221 First Moonflash Maturity at the Downs at Albuquerque.
Trained by Ronald Stephens, who also saddled runner-up Fire Stones, Klassic Strawfly dueled for the lead right out of the gate in the 440-yard dash for older New Mexico-bred quarter horses. To his inside, he battled with Dungarees Version and rider Benito Baca down the lane before pulling clear of that rival and winning by 1 1/4 lengths over a fast-closing Fire Stones and jockey Martin Bourdieu.
"He (Klassic Strawfly) was really sitting on tilt for this one," Stephens said. "Broke away from the gate perfectly."
A 10-year-old gelded son of Genuine Strawfly, the win in the Maturity is the 15th from 92 career starts for Klassic Strawfly, and his fourth in a row. He finished in a dead heat with Fire Stones in the fastest trial for the Maturity just 14 days prior.
"That's the only thing you worry about with these horses, is coming back so quick after a hard trial race," Stephens said, from the winners circle.
Earlier this year, Klassic Strawfly won the Jimmy Drake Stakes at SunRay Park and Casino.
Sunday's victory is his fifth from six starts in 2016, adding another $50,110 to his career bankroll, which tops $462,000 in his career.
Klassic Strawfly ran the 440 yards in a final time of 21.41 seconds as the slight second choice in the wagering. Sent off at 2.30-to-1, Klassic Strawfly rewarded his backers with a $6.60 return on investment.
Fire Stones finished well for the place, just ahead of Dungarees Version. Behind the top three were Heza Wild Dragon, June Bug Junior, Mister Brooks, Bl Corona, Major Moonflash, Jess Bourdeaux and Salt The Rim.
Mister Brooks, sent off as the slight post-time favorite after winning his trial race earlier this month, broke cleanly under jockey Jose Ortiz, but never threatened the winner in the race.
Next weekend, the world's richest quarter horse races take center stage at Ruidoso Downs, where the $3 million All American Futurity and $2.5 million All American Derby are held on that track's traditional Labor Day program.
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.