Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino
Friday, February 2, 2024
Lemon Drop Gold is impressive in $100,000 La Coneja Stakes
Paul Jenson’s Lemon Drop Gold got a dream trip on the front end and had more than enough energy left in the tank to score a decisive win in Friday’s $100,000 La Coneja Stakes under a spirited ride from jockey Felipe Valdez. Jenson is a local owner from El Paso, Texas.
Trained by Todd Fincher, the 7-year-old Mr. Gold Mover mare battled on the front end with Bella Dona. Those two raced in tandem down the backstretch through a moderate opening half-mile of 45.93 seconds. Lemon Drop Gold got the jump on Bella Dona at the top of the lane and inched clear inside the final furlong to win by 2 1-2 lengths, racing six furlongs in a time of 1 minute, 9.93 seconds.
The victory improves Lemon Drop Gold’s record to seven wins from 18 career starts with earnings of more than $334,000. It’s her second win from six starts at Sunland Park.
Lemon Drop Gold’s victory snapped the win streak by prohibitive post time favorite Corrina Corrina, who came into the La Coneja having won each of her last six starts. Ridden by Tracy Hebert, Corrina Corrina broke a bit slowly from her inside post and was last early. The daughter of Mr. Trieste launched a late bid nearing the top of the lane and was narrowly second best, though no threat to the winner.
Lemon Drop Gold, sent off at odds of 3.30-to-1, returned $8.60 to her winning backers. The $2 exacta with Corrina Corrina paid back $17.40. Bella Dona finished third under jockey Christian Ramos with First Again and Miguel Fuentes rounding out the top four finishers.
Live racing resumes at Sunland Park on Saturday with a nine-race card that has a first post time of 12:25 p.m. Sunday, New Mexico-bred quarter horses take center stage in a pair of stakes races headlined by the $200,000 Shue Fly and the $100,000 Starr Western Wear Stakes.