Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino
Saturday, January 18, 2020
by Eric Alwan
Two Stepper pulls off upset score in $100,000 La Senora Stakes
Taking advantage of a quick pace as well as the misfortune at the start for the heavy post time favorite, Todd Fincher-trained Two Stepper scored an improbable, late-running win in Saturday’s 20th running of the La Senora Stakes at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.
The complexion of the La Senora was changed dramatically as the gates opened when Count Them Again, who was sent off as the heavy post time favorite, appeared to bobble and stumble out of the gate. That put the previously undefeated filly in a compromised position from the start.
Ridden to perfection by Roimes Chirinos for owners R.D. Hubbard and Paul Blanchard, Two Stepper raced well off the pace, more than eight lengths behind dueling frontrunners Holiday Heat and Tight Fittin Jeans, who battled head and head through a fast opening quarter mile of 21.44 seconds.
Ridden by Francisco Amparan, Tight Fittin Jeans appeared to have the advantage turning for home and assumed command at the head of the lane as Holiday Heat wavered under Ry Eikleberry.
Two Stepper, a 3-year-old New Mexico bred filly by Attila’s Storm commenced her rally from well off the pace, sweeping past Tight Fittin Jeans approaching the wire, winning by 1 1/4 lengths and completing the 6 furlongs in a final time of 1 minute, 10.53 seconds.
The victory in the La Senora snapped a four-race losing streak for Two Stepper, which includes a fourth place finish in the New Mexico Classic Cup Lassie Stakes last October at Zia Park. Prior to that effort, she was a well-beaten third in the Rio Grande Senorita Futurity last summer at Ruidoso Downs.
Two Stepper has now won three times in her seven-race career. The $60,000 winner’s share of the purse increased her lifetime earnings to more than $109,500.
Two Stepper was sent off as the second longest shot in the race at odds of 15.90-to-1 and returned $33.80 to her winning backers while exacta players were rewarded with a $201.80 return on their $2 investment.
Blue Blazes Who rallied well in the stretch and earned the third place spot ahead of Gold of Roses.
Count Them Again, who had never lost in four career starts coming into the La Senora, tried to make up ground along the inside after the poor start, but backed up midway around the far turn and was never a factor, finishing last in the field of seven runners.
Live racing resumes Sunday at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino, with a full card of thoroughbred and quarter horse racing. First post time is scheduled for 12:25 p.m.
Photo Credit: Coady Photography