Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino
Saturday, December 17, 2016
by Eric Alwan
Chief Cicatriz remains unbeaten after taking $65,000 KLAQ Handicap
Chief Cicatriz remained unbeaten in 4 career starts after sparkling win in the 27th running of the KLAQ Handicap at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday.
With jockey Alfredo Juarez, Jr in the saddle, Chief Cicatriz battled Redneck Humor for the early lead and the duo stuck together like glue until the homestretch. Chief Cicatriz sped into the straightaway with plenty in the tank and moved well clear. The race was essentially over in mid-stretch and the Shawn Davis trained start gained his first career stakes win in his Sunland debut.
The four-year-old gelded son of Munnings rolled to a 3-length victory and sped through the 5 furlongs in a fast 56.60 seconds. He earned $39,000 for winning Roy Gene Evans. Chief Cicatriz raced as the 8-5 favorite and paid $5.40 to win.
Indexical found his best strides too late and finished second under jockey Elvin Gonzalez.
Redneck Humor wound up third, beaten 3 and ½ lengths.
Seeyalateralligator wins $85,000 Jess Burner Handicap
Let go at over 7-1, Seeyalateralligator raced away to an upset victory in the 20th running of the Jess Burner Memorial Handicap.
The former stakes winner trained by Wes Giles regained his old form and steamrolled the best older New Mexico-bred quarter horses by 1 length in the 400 yard feature. In the process, Seeyalateralligator earned a qualifying berth for the $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (Grade 1) to be run in two weeks on Saturday, December 31.
Under jockey Salvador Martinez, Seeyalateralligator rocketed away from the gates and established a strong early lead. The four-year-old gelded son of Winners Version showed speed all the way and caught the distance in a fast 19.11 seconds with a strong tail wind blowing. He was in complete control all the way and paid $17.00 to win. The victory was $51,000 for owners Ezra Elton Lee and Jason Giles. Ironically, Seeyalateralligator’s last win came at Sunland Park in the 2015 NMHBA Quarter Horse Stakes.
Justified by Chicks and jockey Esgar Ramirez finished second followed by Play Misty Foreme who was a neck back in third. The $1 exacta paid $56.50. The $1 trifecta paid $278.40.
Klassic Strawfly had his 5-race win streak snapped in the Jess Burner. The prolific 10-year-old could not make up the deficit following a slow start. He finished gamely in fourth place.
Live racing resumes on Sunday with the $85,000 New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap (8th race) and the $85,000 Johnie L. Jamison Handicap (9th race). Post time is 12:45 p.m.
Diabolical Dame, the leading New Mexico-bred Thoroughbred filly, will be very tough to beat in the New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap at 6 furlongs. Todd Fincher’s star four-year-old has frequently trounced New Mexico-breds across the state including a 6-length triumph in the New Mexico Cup Sprint Distaff at Zia Park last October. She has won 11 times from 18 starts and is closing in on $440,000 in earnings. Tracy Hebert, a former leading rider in Louisiana, is the jockey and suits her perfectly.
The razor sharp multiple stakes winner D E Lover leads a solid field of 12 runners in the Johnie Jamison Handicap at six and one-half furlongs. Trained by All American Futurity winner conditioner Tony Sedillo, D E Lover has thrived in 2016 and dominated his foes through a stellar campaign. He has won 5 of his last 7 starts including wins in the Sierra Blanca Handicap and Ruidoso Thoroughbred Championship and New Mexico Cup Sprint at Zia Park. The New Mexico-bred five-year-old son of So Long Birdie is in the midst of a career year and should love the distance. Frank Reyes rides the probable favorite.
Not My Note and Citizen Geller are both top notch New Mexico-bred sprinters and enter the Jamison Stakes with multiple wins over D E Lover this year. These two add further intrigue to the race.
Ten Penny Cents looms large following a dramatic come from behind win in the New Mexico Cup Derby Championship at Zia Park. Last spring, he finished second to Concord Fast in the $100,000 Riley Allison Derby against open company.
Photos courtesy of: Coady Photography