Saturday, September 17, 2011
Contessa Del Norte, the lone New Mexico-bred in the field of six 3-year-old fillies, scored an upset victory in Saturday's Fair Queen Handicap at The Downs at Albuquerque.
Sent to post at odds of 12-1, Contessa Del Norte defeated even-money favorite Squiggle by a head while covering 6 ½ furlongs on a muddy and sealed track in 1:17.64. Macario Rodriguez rode the homebred daughter of Super Quercus (FR) for owner Gallegos del Norte Racing of Albuquerque and trainer Jose Gonzalez Jr.
Contessa Del Norte was making her first start since March 27, when she ran sixth in the 1 1/16-mile, $100,000 New Mexico Breeders' Oaks Stakes (R) for state-bred sophomore fillies at Sunland Park. The filly's sire, Super Quercus, won three graded stakes from 1999-2001, including the 1999 Hollywood Derby (G1) and '01 Hollywood Turf Cup Stakes (G1).
Contessa Del Norte is also the first starter produced by her dam, the winning 11-year-old Allen's Prospect mare Prospective Slew.
All told, Contessa Del Norte has won two of five starts, and the $18,000 winner's share of the Fair Queen Handicap purse increased her earnings to $41,675, all of which has been banked this season. The filly won her first race on March 20 at Sunland Park, as she won a 1-mile and 70-yard maiden special weight route for state-bred fillies by 8 ¾ lengths as the 7-5 favorite.
Contessa Del Norte returned a $27.20 win mutuel and teamed with Squiggle for an $80.80 ($2) exacta payoff. Summer Surprise, sent to post at odds of nearly 8-1, finished third to complete a ($2) trifecta return of $267.40.
Sweet Dixie Van ran fourth and was followed by Sueno Azul, and 2-1 second choice Paloma Mesa.
Squiggle banked $6,000 to push her earnings to $56,950 for her owner, David Wolochuk, who also trains the Kentucky-bred filly by the Mr. Prospector stallion Pioneering. Squiggle has won two of her eight outs, and she was coming off of a second-place finish to Iplaytricks in the 6-furlong, $40,000 Aspen Cup Stakes at Ruidoso Downs on August 13.
Squiggle sold for $13,000 at last year's Ocala Breeders' Sales Company June Two-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age sale.
A California-bred bay daughter of the Summer Squall stallion Capsized campaigned by Larry Arnold, Summer Surprise was just eight weeks removed from a three-length victory in a 5 1/2-furlong, non-winners-of-two allowance race at Albuquerque. The filly has earned $19,410 from two wins in four starts while racing exclusively in New Mexico.