Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino
Saturday, March 4, 2017
by Eric Alwan
Seis Menudos takes upset win in $85,000 Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap
Seis Menudos sped to a narrow win over Jess Cruzin On By in a high powered 15th running of the Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday.
Let go at 14-1 odds, Seis Menudos closed furiously in the final stanza of the 350 yard feature to win a photo finish under jockey Raul Herrera. The former $5,000 claimer regained his sharp form this season at Sunland Park for trainer Adam Tapia. The longshot winner paid $30.80 on a $2 win ticket from his 9th career win in 19 starts. The six-year-old New Mexico-bred gelding by Southern Corona was timed in a fast 17.21 seconds, good for a 98 speed index. Seis Menudos has enjoyed an affinity for the Sunland surface over the years winning 5 times from 8 local outings.
Winning owner Eloy Humberto Pena received a winner’s check worth $51,000.
2015 New Mexican Spring Futurity winner Jess Cruzin On By was rolling fast at the wire but just missed by a head. The Alfredo Gomez trained runner had to settle for second place. The 6-time winner picked up $18,700 pushing his lifetime bankroll to nearly $235,000. Sergio Becerra, Jr. rode the runner-up.
2016 Lou Wooten/Sydney Valentini Handicap winner Princess Jesse generated a big effort from the rail post position. The well decorated stakes filly was searching for her fourth straight win. Under jockey Alfredo Sigala, Princess Jesse contended for the early lead and fought grudgingly throughout to finish third, beaten a half-length.
Seeylateralligator failed to deliver enough punch and finished sixth. The 8-5 favorite was coming off lucrative stakes scores in the $85,000 Jess Burner Memorial and $85,000 Dona Ana County Stakes.
Lifetime earnings of the Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap field totaled over $1.8 million. Live racing resumes on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
$800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) coming soon on Sunday, March 26
Sunland Park’s biggest day is only 3 weeks away. The $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) will be contested on Sunday, March 26. The winner of the Sunland Derby (Gr. III) gains a virtual berth into the 2017 Kentucky Derby. The $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks will also supplement a stakes filled card worth over $1.5 million.
Photos courtesy of: Coady Photography