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Tall Order Top Qualifier for $345K Zia Futurity; Zia Derby Trials On Tap for Friday

July 10, 2008     E-mail this page to a friend!

3-to-5 favorite doesn’t disappoint

Denis and Julie Schoenhofer’s Tall Order raced to the fastest-qualifying time to a futurity for New Mexico-breds for the second-straight race when he raced to a :19.620 victory over 400 yards in the 12 trials to the Grade 1, $345,260 Zia Futurity at Ruidoso Downs on Thursday afternoon.

He also set the fastest-qualifying time to the Ruidoso Quarter Horse Sale Futurity.

Dealing with a sloppy racing surface after several days of monsoon rains, Tall Order drew out to an easy win in the 11th trial by three lengths under jockey Esgar Ramirez.

The Mike Joiner-trained son of top freshman sire The Down Side finished third in the Ruidoso Quarter Horse Sale Futurity behind the Blane Wood-trained pair of Hearts Runaway and Victoria Hotpants.

Victoria Hotpants also returns in the Zia Futurity after impressively setting the fourth-fastest qualifying time. She should vie for favoritism in the finals on July 27 after her overwhelming trial win and solid stakes credentials. In the eighth trial she parlayed a textbook start into a length and a quarter victory in :19.779.

Victoria Hotpants raced to her third win from five starts. She has two second-place finishes behind stablemate Hearts Runaway in the $181,000 Ruidoso Quarter Horse Sale Futurity and the $130,000 New Mexican Spring Futurity. Hearts Runaway passed on the Zia Futurity and will be pointed at the Grade 1, $2 million All American Futurity trials on August 14.

The Hugo Lee-owned and -trained Janos also thrived in the wet conditions to set the second-fastest qualifying time, :19.660. He won the ninth trial by a half length over Six Tunes.

Six Tunes turned in the third-fastest qualifying time of :19.725. Also reaching the finals on July 27 from that trial are Bluesboro and Run Regard Run. The Zia Futurity is the richest race on the stakes-filled Zia Festival program that offers more than $1 million in purses.

Janos was supplemented to the Zia Futurity trials after showing promise at Sunland Park and SunRay Park. He qualified for the finals of the $75,000 Spring Fling Futurity at Sunland Park and then stepped forward to finish second in the New Mexico Breeders Futurity at SunRay Park in his start prior to the Zia Futurity trials.

The ten qualifiers, in order of fastest times, are: Tall Order (:19620); Janos (:19.660); Six Tunes(:19.725); Victoria Hotpants (:19.779); Wild Wonder Child (:19.833); Man On The Move (:19.861); Butchs Gem (:19.932); Pass The Six Pack (:19.933); Bluesboro (:19.943); Run Regard Run (:19.952).

A First Caller heads Zia Derby trials

Trainer Blane Wood is having his usual strong summer at Ruidoso Downs, especially in the New Mexico-bred division, and he is well represented in Friday’s Zia Derby trials with Richard Shearer’s A First Caller.

First post time for the 10-race program is 1 p.m. and there is always free parking and free grandstand admission at Ruidoso Downs.

The 400-yard trials run as the first four races and the horses with the 10-fastest times from the trials qualify to race in the finals during the Zia Festival program on July 27.

A First Caller, racing in the third trial, is one of the horses with an excellent shot at making the derby lineup. The homebred qualified for last summer’s Zia Futurity and has shown flashes of stellar form this year. Two starts ago he showed his speed when he won the Grade 2 Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap at Sunland Park by a length and a half with an exceptional :17.02 time for the 350 yards. He then disappointed at .7-to-1 odds in his Ruidoso Derby trial when he finished fifth.

A First Caller has the fifth post position and regular rider Ricky Ramirez will be aboard.

The Mike Joiner-trained Gold Zime, racing in the first trial, started off his career near the top of his New Mexico-bred division a year ago when he was a very competitive second in the Ruidoso Quarter Horse Sale Futurity (G2). In that race he was bumped at the start but still battled to within a neck of the victory. The gelding has had his races well spaced this year and comes off a nose win in a 400-yard allowance race on June 13.

Owned by Butch Wise, James Pruitt and Lowell Neumayer, Gold Zime has the sixth post position and the services of jockey Alex Baldillez Jr.