Donelli (pictured), a homebred daughter of the Corona Cartel stallion Big Daddy Cartel, on Saturday posted the fastest qualifying time to the July 25, $187,573 Zia Quarter Horse Derby (RG2) for New Mexico-bred 3-year-olds at Ruidoso Downs.
Racing for Mac and Janis Murray’s MJ Farms at Veguita, New Mexico, Donelli won the third of five trials by a neck while covering 400 yards in :19.668. Alan Hernandez rode the gray filly for trainer Wes Giles.
“I know this horse very well; I’ve ridden her many times, including in the mornings,” said Hernandez. “I kept her focused. She did all the work.”
Donelli was making her first start since January 25, when she ran second, a neck behind longshot winner Champagne Room, in the 400-yard, $226,108 Shue Fly Stakes (RG3) at Sunland Park.
“We were concerned going in because the filly hadn’t been raced since January, and we were wondering if she would get tired,” Giles said. “She’s always been the kind of filly that tries hard. She showed her class at the end.”
Raced exclusively in New Mexico, Donelli has earned $257,737, and her five wins include last year’s 400-yard New Mexico State Fair Futurity (RG3) at Albuquerque Downs.
Close To Crazy, the second-fastest qualifier, ran second to Donelli in the third heat. Adrian Ramos rode the Jesse James Jr filly for owner Bella A. Valenzuela and trainer Juan M. Gonzalez.
Close To Crazy covered 400 yards in :19.701. The filly was bred by MJ Farms and was an $11,500 yearling purchase at the 2018 New Mexico-Bred Sale at Ruidoso Downs.
Third-fastest qualifier Stominado won the fourth trial by a half of a length in :19.825. Jaime Leos rode the gelded son of champion First Moonflash for owner J. Patricia Gonzalez and trainer Juan M. Gonzalez.
Stominado was bred by Dosi and Norma Alvarez. The gelding has won four of 10 starts, including last year’s 400-yard, $327,000 New Mexico Cup Futurity (RG2) at Zia Park, and he has earned $202,991.
Other prominent Zia Derby qualifiers include Mark and Annette McCloy’s Mister Riptide, the runner-up to Mr Jess Jenkins in last year’s 440-yard, $3-million All American Futurity (G1). A son of Woodbridge trained by Charles “Duke” Shults, the gelding has earned $666,607 from seven starts — all in New Mexico — and his five wins include a 2 1/2-length victory in last year’s 400-yard, $434,000 Zia Futurity (RG1).
The complete list of finalists appears below:
|Horse (Sex, Pedigree)||Owner||Breeder (State)||Trainer||Time|
F, Big Daddy Cartel-Tres Of Alice by Tres Seis
|MJ Farms||MJ Farms (NM)||Wes Giles||:19.668|
|CLOSE TO CRAZY|
F, Jesse James Jr-Da Edge by Separatist
|Bella A. Valenzuela (NM)||MJ Farms (NM)||Juan M. Gonzalez||:19.701|
G, First Moonflash-Diamonds N Rainbows by Rabbits Rainbow
|Patricia Gonzalez||Dosi & Norma Alvarez (NM)||Juan M. Gonzalez||:19.825|
|FIRST NEON MOON|
C, First Moonflash-My Soul Mate by Chicks A Blazin
|Victor Lozano||Maegan Cavasos (NM)||Martin Orona Sr.||:19.853|
G, Jesse James Jr-Sandy June Bug by Blushing Bug
|Rex Wells||MJ Farms (NM)||James J. Gonzales II||:19.890|
G, First Moonflash-Chicks Chamisa by Chicks A Blazin
|W.L. Mooring, Desiree Mooring, Mike Abraham and Randy S. Eastburg||Mike Abraham (NM)||Blane Wood||:19.898|
F, First Moonflash-Special Dark Ivory by Ivory James
|Cavenaugh Quarter Horses LLC||Mike Abraham and Grant Farms (NM)||Clint Crawford||:19.903|
G, Woodbridge-Ms Riptide by Ocean Runaway
|Mark & Annette McCloy||MJ Farms (NM)||Charles “Duke” Shults||:19.965|
G, Big Daddy Cartel-Jessiana by Jesse James Jr
|Bigg Jack Partners||Brad Williams (NM)||Gregg Sanders||:20.010|
F, Jesscuzican-Reacorona by Corona For Me
|Jill B. Giles||Cindy Bennett (NM)||Wes Giles||:20.011|