Dona Ana County Handicap

Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino
Saturday, January 19, 2019
by Eric Alwan

35-1 long shot Marcus Medallion wins $85,000 Dona Ana County Handicap

Dismissed at 35-1 odds, Marcus Medallion pulled off a huge upset to win the $85,000 Dona Ana County Handicap at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday.

The six-year-old gelded son of Jesse James Jr turned the tables on heavily favored Major Bites to win the 440 yard test for older New Mexico-bred Quarter Horses. Under jockey Adrian A. Ramos, Marcus Medallion produced a spirited rally in the final 200 yards to spring clear and win by one length in a fast time of 21.18 seconds. The upstart earned $51,000 for owner Karina Aldavaz of Dexter, New Mexico and claimed his first career stakes win in 14 outs. His fourth career win was a definitive one over Major Bites. The winner was trained by Jaime Aldavaz, and he earned a 101 speed index.

Marcus Medallion returned $72.40 on a $2 win ticket.

Major Bites, the 4-5 favorite, broke on top but could not stall the winner. The runner-up was ridden by Esgar Ramirez. The accomplished New Mexico-bred stakes winner was coming off a third place finish behind Jessies First Down in the $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (Gr. 1) on Dec. 30. He had won 5 of 7 stakes races in 2018.

Mr Klee tried hard and finished third, a nose in front of Rime Chimes.

Percyjones bobbled at the break and never threatened in fifth place.

Thunder Dome favored in $85,000 Albert Dominguez Memorial Handicap on Sunday

Live racing resumes on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. The featured 8th race is the $85,000 Albert Dominguez Memorial Handicap at one mile and one sixteenth. Johnie Jamison Stakes winner Thunder is the 8-5 morning line favorite for trainer Dallas Barton. Alfredo Juarez, Jr. will the probable choice. The 9-horse field has combined lifetime earnings of nearly $3 million. Go for a Stroll, Hute and defending champion Shining Source are some of the other leading contenders in the route feature.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography