Forty-six New Mexico-bred sophomores, headed by graded stakes winner and 2019 All American Futurity (G1) runner-up Mister Riptide (pictured), are entered in Saturday’s 400-yard Zia Derby (RG2) trials at Ruidoso Downs.
A gelded son of the Dash Ta Fame stallion Woodbridge, Mister Riptide is trained by Charles “Duke” Shults for owners Mark and Annette McCloy. Mister Riptide will be making his first start since September 2, when he ran second, a neck behind winner Mr Jess Jenkins, in the 440-yard, $3-million All American Futurity (G1).
Mister Riptide has raced exclusively in New Mexico and has earned $664,207 from six starts, and his four wins include a clear 2 1/4-length victory in last year’s 400-yard, $434,000 Zia Futurity (G1). The gelding drew post 6 and will be ridden by Ricky Ramirez in the second of five trials.
MJ Farms’ Champagne Room drew post 6 and will be ridden by Rodrigo Vallejo for trainer Jimmy Padgett in the first heat. A homebred daughter of Big Daddy Cartel, the gray filly has banked $119,511 from seven outs, and her three wins include a neck score in the 400-yard, $226,000 Shue Fly Stakes (RG3) at Sunland Park in January.
Victor Lozano’s First Neon Moon will be making his first official start since February 15, when the gray son of champion First Moonflash won the 400-yard, $100,000 New Mexico Horse Breeders’ Association Stakes (RG2) at Sunland Park. The colt drew post 7 and will be ridden by Mauro Salcedo for trainer Martin Orona Sr. in the third trial.
Other prominent New Mexico-bred 3-year-olds entered in Saturday’s trials include Donelli, a homebred Big Daddy Cartel filly trained by Wes Giles for owner MJ Farms. Donelli is coming off of a second-place finish to Champagne Room in the Shue Fly. Last season, the filly earned $209,298 from five races and won 400-yard, $386,000 New Mexico State Fair Futurity (RG3) at Albuquerque Downs as the fastest qualifier.
Donelli drew post 5 and will be ridden by Alan Hernandez in the third trial.
The 10 fastest qualifiers will meet in the $175,000-est. Zia Derby on July 25.