Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino
Saturday, December 28, 2019
by Eric Alwan
Susan Violette rolls in $100,000 New Mexico Racing Commission Handicap
It took 364 days for Susans Violette to find herself back in the winners circle, but she did so with style, running away to an impressive win in the 20th running of the $100,000 New Mexico Racing Commission Handicap, repeating her victory in this same race almost a year ago to the day.
Ridden to victory by Enrique Gomez for co-owner and trainer Chip Woolley, Susans Violette broke alertly from her outside post. The daughter of Stellar Rain dueled down the backstretch with African Heat. Susans Violette opened up on her 9 rivals passing the furlong marker and drew clear, winning by 4 1/4 lengths as the 2.80-to-1 third choice on the toteboard. She ran the 5 1/2 furlongs in a final time of 1 minute, 4.04 seconds.
Susans Violette is a perfect 2-for-2 over the Sunland oval. She won this race last year and has now won six times from 11 career starts, including stakes scores in the New Mexico Classic Cup Oaks at Zia Park in 2018. In addition to Kentucky Derby winning trainer Woolley, Susans Violette is also owned by Steven D. Stewart. She adds to her lifetime bankroll, which now stands at over $252,800.
Susans Violette returned $7.60 to her winning backers. Sidewinder Sally finished second, completing the exacta, which returned a healthy $152.40 for a $2 wager. Ballinouttacontrol wound up third and Orogrande rounded out the top four. Post time favorite Flight Song attended the early pace between rivals under Alfredo Juarez, Jr., but gave way around the far turn, finishing seventh.
Waltzing Attila, the morning line favorite in the race, was scratched earlier in the day.
Chief Cicatriz wins $65,000 KLAQ Handicap
Validating his status as an overwhelming post time favorite, Roy Gene Evans’ Chief Cicatriz scored an impressive victory in Saturday’s 30th running of the $65,000 KLAQ Handicap, winning by three-quarters of a length over a determined challenger in Raagheb.
Ridden to victory by Elvin Gonzalez, Chief Cicatriz dueled through a fast opening quarter-mile of 22.27 seconds with Mr. Mooch. Those two raced as a pair to midway around the far turn before Gonzalez began to inch clear. Raagheb, ridden by Shave Laviolette, ranged up quickly on the outside as the field turned for home.
Chief Cicatriz gradually edged clear of his determined rival passing the final furlong marker, winning as the 1-to-9 post time favorite. The winner crossed the finish line racing 5 furlongs in a final time of 56.51 seconds and returned $2.20 to his winning backers.
Trained by Shawn Davis, Chief Cicatriz has now strung together three straight wins, with his most recent scores coming in the Zia Park Sprint Championship on Nov. 27. Before that, the Kentucky-bred son of Munnings won the Luke Kruytbosch Stakes at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Arizona.
In all, Chief Cicatriz has won 13 times from 20 career starts. The win in the KLAQ Handicap pads his lifetime earnings to nearly $463,000.
Ragheeb completed the exacta, which returned $11 on a $2 wager. He finished just a half-length clear of third place finisher Conquest Smartee while Mr Mooch rounded out the top four. Hardcore Troubador and Secular Nation were both scratched earlier in the day.
Live racing resumes Sunday with a strong 10-race card, headlined by the 19th running of the $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (Grade 1). First post time tomorrow is slated for 12:25 pm (MTN), with the Championship going as the fourth race on the card at 1:40 p.m. A excellent field of 10 quarter horses will race the classic distance of 440 yards with multiple stakes winner Ryansmanonthemoon listed as the 3-to-1 morning line favorite.
Photo Credit: Coady Photography