The Racing Journal Logo

Zia Park season opens Saturday


September 18, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

World-Record holder in Hobbs Stakes
HOBBS, New Mexico (September 18, 2006) – The second season of racing at Zia Park in Hobbs, New Mexico begins on Saturday afternoon with world-record holder Planet Holland headlining the $60,000 James Isaac Hobbs Stakes, the 10th race on the 11-race program.

The 49-day meet runs through December 12 with racing on a Saturday through Tuesday schedule. There will be an additional day of racing on Friday, November 24, the day following Thanksgiving.

First post time is 1:15 p.m. daily with free parking and free grandstand admission.

The season features the inaugural running of the $300,000 Southwest Juvenile Championship on December 3 and New Mexico Cup Day on November 12. The Southwest Juvenile Championship brings together the top 2-year-olds from New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. Invitations to compete are offered to the winners of 10 grade 1 futurities. New Mexico Cup Day has the best New Mexico-breds racing for $1.8 million in purses during the stakes-filled program.

With an average daily purse distribution of $220,000, the top stables and their best horses are at Zia Park. That is evident in the opening day James Isaac Hobbs Stakes, which attracted Planet Holland from the barn of four-time defending national Quarter Horse champion trainer Paul Jones.

Planet Holland, owned by R.D. Hubbard and Johnny T.L. Jones Jr., should be the strong favorite after setting the world record for 350 yards, the distance of the James Isaac Hobbs Stakes, in his most recent start. He ran the distance in :17.006 to win the Higheasterjet Handicap at Ruidoso Downs on July 1. It was his 11th win from 26 career starts and pushed his total earnings to $762,885.

The 5-year-old gelding has shown his affection for the Zia Park track. Last year, he dominated the $111,000 Zia Park Handicap with a one-and-three-quarter length victory. He was also second in the Hobbs Stakes and third in the Lovington Stakes.

Planet Holland has always been one of the premier members of his age group. As a 2-year-old he won the Grade 1, $625,000 Rainbow Futurity and then came back as a three-year-old to finish third in the Grade 1, $307,000 Rainbow Derby.

Last year, as a 4-year-old, Planet Holland followed his win in the Zia Park Handicap with a second-place finish in the Grade 1, $400,000 The Championship at Sunland Park.

Trainer Carl Draper, who conditioned DM Shicago to the 2005 world championship, sends out the dangerous pair of Desirio and Look For Wranglers in the Hobbs Stakes.

Lola Willis and Joyce McBride’s Desirio returns to racing from a year-long layoff that began after defeating Planet Holland and 440-yard world-record holder A Long Goodbye in last year’s running of the Hobbs Stakes. In last year’s Hobbs Stakes, Desirio closed strongly to get the half-length win in :17.31 for 350 yards. The lightly raced four-year-old won the 2004 All American Juvenile at Ruidoso Downs.

Look for Wranglers was purchased in February by Draper for J and L Stables and it has proven to be an excellent acquisition. The colt has close seconds in the Grade 2 West Texas Derby and the Bayer Legend New Mexico Derby Challenge under Draper’s care. In the Bayer Legend New Mexico Derby Challenge, Look for Wranglers finished a neck behind Strawkins, who went on to win the Grade 1 Rainbow Derby while setting a Ruidoso Downs track record for 440 yards.

On Sunday afternoon, the southwest’s best Thoroughbred sprinters meet in the $150,000-added Premiere Breeders’ Cup Stakes over six furlongs.

On Monday and Tuesday afternoon, two popular meet-long promotions begin. Every Monday is “55 Plus Day” with everyone 55-years-old or older eligible for a racing program for one dollar, a lunch buffet for $5.50 and the chance to win $100 of free slot play after the races. Each Tuesday is “Dollar Day” with $1 hot dogs, $1 programs and a $1 discount on Bud, Bud Select and Bud Light.