Carl Draper’s Pj Chick in Black scored a dominant one-length victory in the $251,358 New Mexican Spring Quarter Horse Futurity at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Easter Sunday.
Under Sunland Park’s leading Quarter Horse rider Esgar Ramirez, Pj Chick in Black remained unbeaten in two starts after a scintillating win in the rich 300 yard dash for New Mexico-bred two-year-olds. The brown filly by Desirio was brushed at the break but quickly generated a burst of speed and had full momentum after the first 100 yards. Ramirez directed the talented freshman rocketed to a commanding lead.
Racing at 9-2 odds, Pj Chick in Black gained a comprehensive win and earned $118,139 for owners Fredda Draper and Denny Bowen. The winner paid $11.80 on a $2 win ticket. She covered the distance in a quick 14.912 seconds, good for a 95 speed index.
After qualifying three finalists, Ramirez made the right selection with the Draper filly. He said, “She was a little anxious waiting for the start, but I felt confident. I have always liked her. I told Mr. Draper early on that she was really fast. I’m glad I stayed with my first selection.”
Junior June Bug finished second with jockey Freddie Martinez. The Jesse James colt earned $45,245 for owner Richard McGehee of Halletsville, Texas. The runner-up is trained by Jackie Riddle. Tombstone and Conn Creek wound up in a dead heat for third. Conn Creek raced as the 7-5 favorite.
Rylees Boy broke like a bullet and cruised to his third straight win in the $120,510 Bank of America New Mexico Regional Challenge Championship. The heavy 2-5 favorite did not disappoint his fans. The sensational seven-year-old gelding by Heza Motor Scooter powered clear of his opponents down the lane and collected his 19th win from 39 career starts.
The 2-length winner sped through the 440 yards in a fast 21.07 seconds with a slight head wind blowing.
Winning Jockey Joe Ruiz said in the winner’s circle, “He always gives you all he’s got. He’s very professional, just a dream to ride. It doesn’t matter who he is running against. He really bombed away from their today, maybe the second best start of his career. He loves this race track and the weather.”
Rylees Boy caps off another stellar Sunland Park campaign. Owned and trained by Gerardo Pena-Ochoa, the veteran speedball was stakes placed in both the $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (Grade 1) and the KOFX Radio Handicap. No Quarter Horse has been as consistent at Sunland Park over the last three years as Rylees Boy. The winner earned $55,435 on Sunday, pushing his lifetime take to over $783,000.
A Spring Snow came in a distant second under jockey Alonso Rivera. Zommin Express was a neck back in third.
Live racing resumes on Tuesday at 12:45 p.m. There are only five more days left in the live racing season which culminates on April 17.