Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino
Saturday, March 16, 2019
by Eric Alwan
Major Bites speeds away in $85,000 Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap
The excellence of Major Bites shined brightly on Saturday as he sped away to another brilliant victory in the $85,000 Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.
The leading older New Mexico-bred Quarter Horse pulled away from a high quality field in the 350 yard feature and won confidently by three parts of a length. Jockey Hector Aldrete rode the 2-1 second favorite for winning trainer Jimmy Guerra. The six-year-old gelded son of Jesse James Jr. had placed in both the Championship at Sunland Park (Gr. I) and the Dona Any County Stakes this season. He was at the top of his game today and rattled through the 350 yards in a fast 17.48 seconds, good for a 91 speed index.
The prolific stakes star won 5 stakes races last year including the 2018 Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap. He earned $51,000 by defending his title in the New Mexico-bred restricted stakes. Major Bites has 11 wins from 29 starts for owner Israel Bordier. His career bankroll exceeds $771,000. He returned a generous $6.40 to win.
17-1 long shot Magnifico Dragon ran a bold race to get second place, but was no threat to the winner. The runner-up completed a $1 exacta worth $43.70. He was ridden by Mauro Salcedo for trainer Cynthia Gonzalez.
Marcus Medallion, winner of the Dona Ana County Stakes, wound up in third place beaten one and one-half lengths. Moon River finished in fourth followed by the 2-1 favorite Cd Mamas Boy in fifth.
Sunland Derby (Gr. III) post-position draw on Sunday at noon in Turf Club
The post-position draw for the 2019 $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) happens on Sunday, March 17 live in the turf club starting at noon. Post-positions and morning line odds for the finalists will be assigned. Sunland Derby (Gr. III) day including the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks is Sunday, March 24. The stakes filled undercard features over $1.5 million in purses.
Live racing resumes on Sunday at 12:50 p.m.
Photo Credit: Coady Photography