Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
by Eric Alwan
$350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (Gr. 1) headlines terrific Saturday card
With a burst of late energy, Sippin closed fast to remain unbeaten after winning the $85,000 La Senora Stakes at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Tuesday.
Bet down heavily to 1-5 odds, Sippin once again employed her stretch running tactics to win her fourth straight stakes race and sixth race overall. Jockey Tracy Hebert guided his mount through an opening in mid-stretch, and the classy filly responded with a tour de force effort. She swept on past the pace setting Rappakuba in the final 50 yards and collected a hard fought half-length win. Sippin closed from well over 5 lengths off the pace to win the six furlong test for New Mexico-bred two-year-old Thoroughbred fillies. The winning time was 1:10.55
Sippin completes 2016 with a perfect six for six record. Her win on Tuesday was worth $51,000 for owner R.D. Hubbard. The leading two-year-old filly earned nearly $270,000 from her freshman season. Todd Fincher trains the sensational champion.
Rappakuba ran a very brave race at over 17-1 odds. She and jockey Jorge Carreno attacked from a stalking position and took command heading into the stretch. The daughter of Rapper S S fought hard and gave way grudgingly. She earned $18,700 for owner Benny Vanaeck. Henry Dominguez trained the runner-up.
Ivy Gimlet loomed large in upper stretch but ran out of gas in the final furlong. The high quality finished third, beaten 3 and one-half lengths.
Live racing resumes on Wednesday with an all-Thoroughbred card starting at 12:45 p.m. Racing continues on Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the New Year’s weekend.
Saturday’s tremendous card rates as one of the best ever and is anchored by the 16th running of the Grade 1 $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (9th race) at 440 yards. Defending champion Zoomin Effortlessly is likely to take heavy action along with Zia Park QH Championship winner Jessies First Down and Texas Classic Derby winner First Valiant Sign. World Champion Quarter Horse titles could be on the line on Saturday.
Zoomin Effortlessly beat 2014 World Quarter Horse champion Jrc Callas First in the 2015 Championship at Sunland Park. He is considered one of the top Quarter Horses in the country with a glossy record of 15 wins from 24 starts and nearly $600,000. Santos Carrizales rides for trainer Edelmiro Carrizales. In 2016, Zoomin Effortlessly won four stakes races.
Jessies First Down is fresh off a win over Zooming Effortlessly in the Zia Park Quarter Horse Championship. The Judd Kearl trainee has 7 wins and 3 seconds from 10 starts. Rodrigo Vallejo rides the winner of over $421,000.
First Valiant Sign, winner of the Texas Classic Derby, looms large in the Sunland feature. The millionaire commands respect hailing from the Mike Joiner stable. The 3-year-old gelding has qualified for the All American Futurity and Derby and Rainbow Futurity and Derby. Hall of Fame Quarter Horse jockey G.R. Carter, Jr. will ride.
All American Futurity winner Imperial Eagle runs in $200,000 Southwest Juvenile Championship
2016 All American Futurity winner Imperial Eagle casts a long shadow in the $200,000 Southwest Juvenile Championship (8th race) going 400 yards. The $1.6 million earner has 5 wins from 8 starts. Tony Sedillo’s charge won the Southwest Juvenile Championship at Zia Park on Dec. 4.
Astica stars in the $85,000 Lou Wooten/Sydney Valentini Handicap
The superstar New Mexico-bred filly Astica will defend her title in the $85,000 Lou Wooten/Sydney Valentini Handicap (7th race) at 400 yards. In 2015, Astica was named the World Champion 3-year-old Quarter Horse Filly for trainer Wes Giles. She is coming off a smashing 3 and one-quarter lengths win in the New Mexico Cup Filly and mare Championship at Zia Park last fall. The daughter of Jesse James, Jr has earned nearly $400,000 from 9 career wins.
Photos courtesy of: Coady Photography