Dandy Don Who survived a sharp pace duel and emerged a driving three-quarter length winner in the $95,125 Copper Top Futurity for colts and geldings. The Todd Fincher trainee was forwardly placed in the four and one-half furlong feature for New Mexico-breds.
The two-year-old son of Quinton’s Gold raced in between Weeping Aly and Fonzerilli and wrestled control of the lead heading into the stretch run. Emerging from the early battle, Dandy Don Who pulled clear but had to brace for a late rally from favorite Vernissage in deep stretch. The front runner had enough reserves to hold off the fast closing 6-5 choice. The winner was clocked in 52.21 seconds and paid $7.80 on a $2 win ticket.
Winning owners Sam and Sammy Stevens of Lamesa, Texas took home a $47,563 paycheck. Dandy Don Who remains unbeaten in two starts. He defeated Vernissage in the trials on March 19 by a nose. The chestnut gelding has ridden expertly by jockey Aldo Arboleda in both outings.
Vernissage suffered a very bumpy start and was forced into closing tactics under jockey Isaias Enriquez. The Going Wild gelding fought valiantly and closed with a wide run heading into the stretch. The runner-up finished with closing interest and just ran out of real estate. He earned $19,025 for owner Gary Thompson of Odessa, Texas. Fonzerilli held third followed by Roll Out the Band a half length back in fourth. Weeping Aly finished fifth.
Trained by Dallas Barton, Lady Genius rocketed to an emphatic 8 and 3/4 length win in the $88,389 Copper Top Futurity for fillies racing four and one half furlongs. Under jockey Carlos Madeira, the daughter of Quinton’s Gold left no doubt to her superiority in the freshman New Mexico-bred division. She took the lead right out of the gate, relaxed rounding the turn, and then unleashed another powerful display of speed through the stretch run.
Out of the blue chip stakes producing mare Miss Einstein, Lady Genius dominated a precocious group of fillies and was clocked in a fast 51.70.
The winner’s check was worth $44,195 to winning owners W.D. Carson, Sr., M.H. Carson and Leach Racing LLC of Brady, Texas. Lady Genius is unbeaten in two career starts and should be a major force in futurities at Ruidoso Downs this summer. She packs a tremendous early punch loaded with brisk acceleration. 36-1 long shot Cattle Act finished a distant second, followed by Tizzy Devil in third.
Sandys Jesse collected her second stakes win of the meet after scoring a smart win in the $85,000 Sunburst Stakes at 350 yards. The quick starting daughter of Jesse James sped to a neck victory over Runin Sixes in the three-year-old stakes for New Mexico-bred Quarter Horses. Ridden by Tanner Thedford, Sandys Jesse picked up a $51,000 payday for owner Chin Lee. Alonso Orozco trains the multiple stakes winner. Sandys Jesse won the NMHBA Quarter Horse Stakes earlier in the meet.
Gi Genes outran All About Tonight by three parts of a length to win the $50,000 West Texas Juvenile at 300 yards. Freddie Martinez rode the 8-1 long shot for trainer Roy Marcom, Jr. The two-year-old Azoom colt earned $30,000 for the Nogal Racing LP of Nogal, New Mexico.
Live racing resumes on Sunday at 1 p.m. The 55th running of the $284,461 West Texas Futurity (5th race) at 300 yards and the 54th running of the $75,000 Sunland Park Handicap (10th race) at 1 and 1/8 miles are the main events. Dynasty Edition was the top qualifier for the West Texas Futurity. Winsham Lad Handicap winner Forest Mouse looms large in the Sunland Park Handicap.