POSTED: Sunday, April 1, 2012 - 2:21pm
UPDATED: Sunday, April 1, 2012 - 8:54pm
Dismissed at nearly 12-1 odds, Jw a Royal Flirt posted a career best performance and won the $61,380 Red Cell New Mexico Distance Challenge at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Sunday.
Under red hot rider Esgar Ramirez, Jw a Royal Flirt thwarted Valentino de Lao in the final 100 yards and pulled clear for the one-length upset victory in the 870 yard stakes race. Ramirez was fresh off a big win on Saturday aboard Tf Featured Effort in the $165,934 West Texas Derby (Grade 3).
The long shot winner on Sunday has reach full potential under trainer Blake Rust. The former $7,500 claimer beat a solid field of distance stakes horse with a determined stretch drive. Jw a Royal Flirt caught the distance in a fast 44.608 seconds. The five-year-old gelding picked up $29,462 paycheck for owners George and Judy Weldon of Vernal, Utah. Jw a Royal Flirt remains a consistent sort winning four times with five seconds and three thirds from 16 career starts.
Jw a Royal Flirt paid $25.40 to win and sparked a $1 trifecta worth $1,016.80.
Valentino de Lao, the second choice at 2-1 odds, made a bold wide move around the turn and looked to be a major force heading into the stretch. The four-year-old son of Apollo tried his best to take the lead but ran out of steam in the final stanza. The runner-up trained by Carlos Sedillo earned $12,583 for owner Tony Carnes of Odessa, Texas.
Prince Bac finished with a flourish and gained third place under jockey Miguel Hernandez. The 13-1 shot was beaten only one and three-quarter lengths.
Odds-on favorite All About Larry saw his three-race win streak snapped. He could not keep up with the leader and eventually faded in fifth place.
Live racing resumes on Tuesday at 12:45 p.m.