Thursday, July 10, 2014
Regal Racing Stables LLC’s Heza Wild Dragon will make his 3-year-old debut in Saturday’s 400-yard Zia Derby (RG2) trials at Ruidoso Downs.
A gelded son of Genuine Strawfly trained by Umberto Belloc, Heza Wild Dragon won his first three starts as a 2-year-old, including the 350-yard, $357,000 Mountain Top Futurity (R) for New Mexico-breds at Ruidoso. Heza Wild Dragon has earned $196,594 from four outs.
Heza Wild Dragon is the 9-5 morning-line choice in the third of four Zia Derby trials. He will be ridden by Ricky Ramirez from post 8. His opponents in the third heat include DM One Hot Charmer, who will be facing New Mexico-breds for only the second time in his career.
DM One Hot Charmer races for Reed Land and Cattle Company and Bill Moler from the barn of trainer Gerald Reed. The gelding by Corona Caliente is coming off of a nose victory as the 5-2 favorite in a 440-yard Rainbow Derby (G1) trial on July 5.
G.R. Carter has the call on DM One Hot Charmer on Saturday.
Other prominent New Mexico-bred sophomores entered in the Zia Derby trials include graded stakes winners Moonifisant, Express In, and Penny Snatchin.
A $45,000 purchase at the 2012 New Mexico-Bred Yearling Sale, Moonifisant has earned $189,490 from nine starts for his owners, Peter B. Gallegos, Robert Sanchez, and J. Patricia Gonzalez. The Sixes Royal colt won his first three starts last season, including the 300-yard New Mexican Spring Futurity (RG2) at Sunland Park.
Express In is a bay daughter of Southern Corona racing for Cordova Racing LLC and trained by Kristopher Cordova. The filly will be looking for her first victory since September 21, when she scored a one-length victory in the 400-yard New Mexico State Fair Senorita Futurity (RG3) at The Downs at Albuquerque.
Penny Snatchin is coming off of a half-length win as the 6-5 favorite in the 400-yard, $45,000 Tommy “Duke” Smith Stakes (RG2) for state-bred 3-year-old fillies at SunRay Park on June 21. A finalist in last year’s $289,000 New Mexico Cup Futurity (RG2) at Zia Park, the homebred filly by champion Gone To The Mountain races for Jill B. Giles from the barn of Wes Giles.
The Zia Derby has been contested at Ruidoso Downs every year since 1990. The race first attained graded status six years later. Past winners of the Zia Derby include AQHA champion Now I Know (1996), Namehimastreaker (’97), and Here Kittykittykitty (2010).
The 10 fastest qualifiers from Saturday’s Zia Derby trials will meet in the $139,493 final on July 27.