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El Paso, TX — Raider Red pulled clear by 3 and ½ lengths under a virtuoso performance from jockey Alfredo Juarez, Jr. to win the $77,052 Copper Top Futurity for colts and geldings on Saturday at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino. The victory was the first part of a Juarez sweep of the Copper Top Futurities.
Under a thoughtful ride from Juarez, Jr., Raider Red employed a three wide stalking style in the four and one-half furlong feature as a winning strategy. Raider Red responded boldly on the far turn and swept from third to first and went on for an impressive score. Racing as the 5-2 second favorite, the two-year-old gelding by Diabolical left no doubts and won with speed in reserve in a time of 52.75 second through some very windy conditions. Raider paid $7.80 to win.
Trainer Todd Fincher won his fifth Copper Top title with the precocious gelding. Raider Red earned $38,526 and remains unbeaten in two starts. He is owned by Brad King and Dale Taylor.
Uncle Fudge closed with interest for trainer Dallas Barton to gain second. The runner-up finished a head in front of Maries H and H. The pace setting Scootin for Gold wound up fourth. The odds-on favorite Roll On Red Raider fizzled in the stretch and finished seventh.
Juarez, Jr. won his second Copper Top Futurity of the day with 29-1 long shot Miss B R H in the $77,953 Copper Top Futurity for fillies.
Legendary trainer Fred Danley had an ace up his sleeve and saddled the two-year-old New Mexico-bred daughter of Squall to a resounding upset win. Miss B R H took the lead away from Storming Who down the back stretch and would never relinquish control through the spring. Juarez, Jr. guided the improving filly through the stretch and she opened up at will to score by 3 and ¾ lengths. She paid $60.20 to win and earned $38,976 for longtime Southwest race horse owners Tom Williams and W.T. Stradley.
Despite a 7-wide journey, Diabolical Dame served notice to her talent by finishing a fast closing second. The runner-up closed with energy under jockey Dusty Shepherd and finished 1 and ¼ lengths in front stable mate Storming Who and jockey Ruby Gonzalez. The $1 trifecta paid a strong $596.30.
One Lethal Blaze remained sharp and won the $85,000 Sunburst Stakes by a neck over 21-1 long shot Sparkling Heart. Under jockey Sergio Becerra, Jr., One Lethal Blaze finished boldly to take first prize monies of $51,000. Red hot trainer Gene Burden conditioned the winner for owner David Valdez. The winner is a three-year-old New Mexico-bred daughter of Chicks A Blazin. She was fourth in the Shue Fly Stakes last January.
Becerra, Jr. and Burden also combined forces to win the $50,000 West Texas Juvenile Stakes with Redneck Baptism.
Live racing resumes on Sunday at 12:55 p.m. The Grade 1 $267,648 West Texas Futurity (5th race) at 300 yards and the $75,000 Sunland Park Handicap (10th race) at one and one eighth miles are the featured races.
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