Local Stakes Winners in Deep Zia Championship

November 29, 2012

Zia Park

Lovington Stakes (G2) winner DM Streakn Thru Fire, James Isaac Hobbs Stakes (G2) winner Zulu Dragon, Hobbs America Derby (G3) winner Jess Featureme Quick and Lubbock Stakes (G3) winner Candy Cartel each won those stakes this fall at Zia Park to assure a deep, competitive field in the $150,000 Zia Park Championship (G1) on Sunday during the closing racing week at the Hobbs, New Mexico, track.

Vying with that sharp foursome is champion Prospect To The Top – winner of the 2010 Hobbs America Futurity (G2) and the 2011 Hobbs America Derby (G2) – along with champion and 2011 Hobbs America Futurity (G2) winner Feature Mr Bojangles and defending Zia Park Championship winner Sir Seth.

Then there is the horse making his Zia Park debut who could be the favorite: Llano Teller.

Wootan Racing and Reed Land and Cattle Co.’s Llano Teller (Teller Cartel-Annie Eye Opener by Mr Eye Opener) won the Remington Park Futurity (G1) at 2 and then came back at Ruidoso Downs in 2011 to win the Ruidoso Derby (G1) and the All American Derby (G1). The gritty gelding is still in sharp form and comes off a second-place run in the $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) on October 27 at Prairie Meadows. He won the Bank of America Remington Park Challenge (G2) back in May. Llano Teller now is conditioned by J.J. Gonzales II, who will be his third trainer in three races.

Rick Sturdivant and Terry Wootan’s DM Streakn Thru Fire (Walk Thru Fire-Sashay N Six by Sixarun) won the Lovington Stakes by three-quarters of a length for trainer Mike Joiner in a quick :19.336 for the 400 yards. He was third behind Prospect To The Top in the All American Gold Cup (G3) at Ruidoso Downs.

Zulu Dragon (First Down Dash-Hidden Dragon by Dean Miracle), owned by 21 Partnership, took the James Isaac Hobbs by a neck as a 10-1 outsider in September and then was third in the November 4 Lovington behind DM Streakn Thru Fire while being beaten by a length.

Melissa Ann Miller’s homebred Jess Featureme Quick (Feature Mr Jess-One Quick Cookie by Royal Quick Dash) is a 3-year-old with a big upside for trainer Paul Jones. The gelding finished a surprising third in the All American Derby (G1) behind champion Ochoa and Los Alamitos Super Derby (G1) runner-up Hez Our Secret at 34-1 odds and then took the Hobbs America Derby by a neck with a late charge.

Carl Pevehouse’s homebred Candy Cartel (Corona Cartel-This Candys Special by Strawfly Special) has won four of six starts this year, including her latest two outs. The Clinton Crawford-trained mare took the Belles Stakes on June 30 at Fair Meadows and then won the October 7 Lubbock Stakes by a length as the 9-5 favorite.

Joel Tavarez’s Prospect To The Top (Coronas Prospect-Cream To The Top by Easily Smashed) excels at Zia Park with three wins from five local starts, headed by his victories in the Hobbs America Futurity and Hobbs America Derby. If he wins the Zia Park Championship, then he sweeps the major race for each age division at the track. Last year’s champion 3-year-old colt, Prospect To The Top won last summer’s All American Gold Cup (G3) and was second in the Mr Jet Moore Handicap (G3) at Ruidoso Downs for trainer Ralph Muniz.

R.D. Hubbard, Jim Helzer and Heysol Howlet’s Feature Mr Bojangles (Feature Mr Jess-Catch This Dash by First Down Dash) was last year’s champion 2-year-old colt after winning three futurities, including the Rainbow Futurity (G1). He is trying to break through with his first stakes win this year after moving to the Paul Jones barn in August.

Rodney Christiansen’s Sir Seth (First Down Dash-Quiet Courage by Heza Fast Man) is searching for his first win since his upset victory in last year’s Zia Park Championship at nearly 30-1 odds for trainer John Stinebaugh. His best effort from three starts this fall at Zia Park was a close third in an optional-claiming race on October 5.

Fans can watch all of Zia Park’s races live and free of charge on Q-Racing Video, a service of AQHA Racing and the Q-Racing Journal. Q-Racing Video offers horsemen and handicappers unparalleled access to American Quarter Horse racing. Users have unlimited access to the live simulcast signals of almost every American Quarter Horse racetrack in the United States and Canada. Q-Racing Video also provides unlimited access to race replays, which are available immediately following each race. The archive of past races goes back several years for most tracks. Fans can register at www.qracingvideo.com.