Saturday, September 10, 2011
Alfredo Juarez Jr. rode Our Choice to a three-quarter length victory in Saturday's 7-furlong, $50,000 E. T. Springer Stakes (R) for New Mexico-breds at The Downs at Albuquerque.
Racing for trainer David Wolochuk and Patrick Dale Montoya, Our Choice stopped the timer in 1:21.34 after closing on the fractions of :22.14 and :44.48 set by pacesetter S D S Golden Boy. The clocking missed by just 34/100ths of a second the track record set 42 years ago by Mighty Classy.
Our Choice was claimed by his current connections from owner and trainer Justin Evans for $12,500 at Sunland Park in April. The 6-year-old gelding was bred by Triple AAA ranch, and he is one of 18 stakes winners from 135 starters sired by Desert God, an unraced son of Fappiano and last year's leading New Mexico-based Thoroughbred sire.
Now 20, Desert God has sired the earners of more than $7.5 million. The stallion is owned by Joe Allen of Abilene, Texas, and Ron Allen of Tucson, and he stands for a $6,000 fee at Fred and Linda Alexander's A & A Ranch at Anthony, New Mexico.
Our Choice's dam, Neat Choice, is a winning daughter of the Crafty Drone stallion First Draft Choice. The mare has produced 11 winners from 12 starters, including six stakes winners. One of Neat Choice's stakes-winning runners, the Society Max mare Bueno, won eight stakes at Turf Paradise from 1994-98.
All told, Our Choice has won six of 36 starts, and the $30,000 winner's share of the E.T. Springer Stakes purse increased his bankroll to $283,657, of which $58,360 has been earned since the claim. During the Zia Festival program at Ruidoso Downs on July 31, the gelding ran second, three-quarters of a length behind winner Lota Talent, in the 7 1/2-furlong, $50,000 Land of Enchantment Handicap (R).
The E.T. Springer marked Our Choice's second career stakes victory and first since December 29, 2007, when he scored a 1 1/4-length win in the $125,000 Red Hedeman Mile Handicap (R) at Sunland Park.
Lesters Secret, the 11-10 favorite, ran second and was followed by Rosa's Catena, Cosmic Chi, S D S Golden Boy, and Omer's Sure Shot.
A 5-year-old gelding by Lesters Boy racing for Solitaire Stable and Simply The Best Thoroughbreds, Lesters Secret was coming off of a runner-up finish to Bonndaddy's in the August 21, $50,000 Casey Darnell Pony Express Stakes (R) at Albuquerque. Lesters Secret has been campaigned exclusively in New Mexico, and the four-time stakes winner has earned $458,603 from eight victories in 28 starts.
Rosa's Catena is a 6-year-old gelding by the Nureyev stallion Istintaj owned and trained by Jose A. Gonzalez. An earner of $111,430 from six wins in 37 races, Rosa's Catena is a one-time $10,000 claimer who was coming off of a second-place finish to Brother John D. in the 1 1/16-mile, $50,000 Lineage Stakes (R) at Albuquerque on August 21.