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Zia Trials Set for Friday

New Mexico-bred futurity will offer record purse at Ruidoso Downs.

July 8, 2012

Mountain Top Futurity (R) winner Junior June Bug and two-time futurity winner Rex Hill head the 87 2-year-olds trying to qualify for the record-setting $395,028 Zia Futurity (RG1) in nine 400-yard trials on Friday afternoon at Ruidoso Downs.

The $395,028 purse surpasses the previous record purse of $363,586 set in 2007.

This summer at Ruidoso Downs, record-setting or record-equaling purses have also been set in the Grade 1 Ruidoso Futurity, Rainbow Futurity and the Rainbow Derby. Plus, the Ruidoso Derby had the second-highest purse in the stakes’ history. The Grade 1 All American Derby is also expected to set an all-time record and could reach $2.3-million when it is held on Labor Day weekend. The Grade 1 All American Futurity will equal its record purse of $2.4-million when it is contested on Labor Day.

First post time for Friday’s full card of trials is 1 p.m. with free parking and free general admission.

The horses with the 10 fastest times from the trials qualify to race for the $395,028 on Sunday, July 29, during the Zia Festival program celebrating New Mexico-bred racing. A total of $1-million in purses is expected to be paid during the Zia Festival program with the Zia Futurity offering the largest purse on the stakes-filled card.

Richard McGehee’s Junior June Bug is one of the favorites after winning the $296,000 Mountain Top Futurity in his most recent start. The Jackie Riddle-trained son of Jesse James Jr was also second in the New Mexican Spring Futurity (RG2) behind PJ Chick In Black, who went on to win the $600,000 Ruidoso Futurity and is one of the favorites for the All American Futurity.

Junior June Bug drew into the seventh trial and will have Carlos Madeira aboard when they start from the ninth post position.

David and Ross Hinkins’ Rex Hill, another son of Jesse James Jr, is in superb form. The Carlos Sedillo-trained colt was third in his career debut and then reeled off three-straight wins, capped by the $168,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Futurity (RG3) in his most recent effort.

Rex Hill is in the sixth trial and drew the seventh post position with Ricky Ramirez riding.

There are three supplemental nominees whose connections each paid $15,000 to enter the Zia Futurity trials – Dashin Ta Sing, Tombstone and You Sexy Fame.

Dashin Ta Sing narrowly won his only start, Tombstone has placed in two futurities and You Sexy Fame was a troubled third in his only start.

For more information on Ruidoso Downs, go to www.raceruidoso.com and follow the Ruidoso Downs Press Box on Twitter (@RuiPressBox).