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Zia’s richest day of racing offers $2 million in purses

November 8, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

Hobbs, NM (Nov. 8, 2006) – The $2 million New Mexico Cup Day offers the richest day of racing ever at Zia Park with the best New Mexico-bred horses chasing the record purses in 11 stakes races on Sunday afternoon.

First post time is 12:15 p.m. and the stakes-filled action starts with the first race. There is always free parking and free grandstand admission.

The record purses attracted New Mexico’s best Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses bred in the Land of Enchantment.

The $200,000 New Mexico Cup Classic Championship headlines the Thoroughbred action with the always dangerous Rocky Gulch riding three wins in his latest four starts.

Larry Teague’s Rocky Gulch, with $895,547 in career earnings, is in peak form to defend his title in the 1-mile New Mexico Cup Classic Championship. In his two most recent starts he was second in the 7-furlong E.T. Springer Stakes and won the 6-furlong Carlsbad Stakes for trainer Terry Walker.

If Rocky Gulch or a front runner doesn’t carry their speed into the final furlong, then Stan Fulton’s Some Ghost should be one of the horses making a late run. The gelding has been on the board in each of his five 2006 starts and rallied to grab second in a pair of stakes races.

The richest race on the afternoon’s stellar program is the $332,350 New Mexico Classic Futurity for Quarter Horses at 400 yards.

Gun Battle, runner-up in the Grade 1, $1.9 million All American Futurity, should be the prohibitive favorite in the New Mexico Classic Futurity with his excellent record against both open and New Mexico-bred company. Trained by Fred Danley for owners Robert and Del Rae Driggers, Gun Battle finished just a neck behind No Secret Here’s stakes record run in the All American Futurity as the 5-2 favorite.

Gun Battle, an earner of over $500,000, raced to a half-length win in the Zia Futurity against state-breds and set the fastest qualifying time to the New Mexico Classic Futurity with his trial victory in :19.803 for 400 yards. The top four finishers in his trial qualified for the New Mexico Classic Futurity.

One of those four was third-place finisher Mightys First Call, the fourth-place finisher in the All American Futurity. The filly was second to Gun Battle in the Zia Futurity.

Gun Battle is a short-list contender for 2005 national championship honors, as is $163,380 New Mexico Classic Derby fastest-qualifier Arealstraitheart, winner of the Grade 1, $406,299 All American Derby.

Arealstraitheart, owned by Stan Munro’s MJ Enterprises, has been sensational throughout his 11-race career with eight wins and three seconds while banking $828,794.

This is how his race record breaks out: six wins and a close second in the Zia Derby from seven starts against state breds, and two wins and two seconds in four outs against open company.

Against state-breds, Arealstraitheart raced to Grade 1 wins in the Zia Futurity and the Shue Fly Stakes.

Arealstraitheart’s races against open company have been at the highest level. He was second to champion Teller Cartel in the 2005 All American Futurity and returned this year to dominate the All American Derby by 1-3/4 lengths as the 7-5 favorite.

The Ben Torres-trained Arealstraitheart could be the shortest-priced favorite on New Mexico Cup Day after romping to a 1-length trial win while under a strong hold. His time of :21.829 was the fastest time from two 440-yard trials.

Jockey Esgar Ramirez could be set for a big afternoon in the Quarter Horse stakes with the mounts on Gun Battle in the futurity and Arealstraitheart in the derby.