Let go at 19-1 odds, Storms Surprise slipped through a narrow opening and exploded to a 4 and one-half-length win in the $85,000 Red Hedeman Mile at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday.
Owned by the legendary El Paso horsewoman and hall of fame athlete Margaret Varner Bloss, Storms Surprise produced a resounding effort in his first attempt at one mile. The George Maloof Futurity winner from Albuquerque relaxed kindly for jockey Isaias Cardenas while a stormy pace ensued between Attila’s Hurricane, Indication NM and Key To The Venture.
Cardenas allowed his mount to settle while planning an attack maneuver on the second turn. The New Mexico-bred bay gelding by Attila’s Storm shot through a hole passing the quarter mile marker to seize control of the race. The confident two-year-old romped to a dazzling score in a time of 1:38.54, leaving his rivals far behind. Despite his stakes winning resume, Storms Surprise paid $40.80 on a $2 win ticket.
Bloss has been an influential racehorse owner at Sunland Park and New Mexico for well over six decades. Her past champions include Houseafire, Tie Breaker, Set Records, Half Smash, Show Courts and Some Smash just to name a few. She and the late Tennis legend Margaret Osborne DuPont bred the winner.
Owen Bringhurst trains the double stakes winner. His talented star now owns 3 wins from 6 starts. The Red Hedeman Mile win was worth $51,000. Storms Surprise has earned over $111,000 in just one year of racing.
The 4-5 favorite Attila’s Hurricane suffered his first career defeat going the route distance. The sprinting sensation trained by Bart Hone set a strong pace throughout under jockey Isais Enriquez but could not maintain a quick tempo through the stretch. He settled for runner-up honors. Indication N M finished a neck back in third. The Governor’s Cup Stakes winner stalked from a wide position throughout but could only muster a minor rally in the stretch. Eddy County Stakes winner Jenson’s Miracle was fourth.
With a jet propelled start, top qualifier Our First Corona nailed down a driving neck win in the 46th running of the $126,512 Sunland Park Winter Quarter Horse Derby on Saturday.
The classy Corona Cartel gelding trained by Mike Joiner made no mistakes in the 400 yard dash and broke fast under jockey Salvador Martinez. The talented sophomore parlayed an excellent start to a half-length lead midway home, and the Arizona-bred speedster would not relinquish control of the gas pedal. Racing as the mild 5-2 favorite, Our First Corona maintained a high finishing speed and beat a determined Tres Seis Nueve to the wire. The winning time of 19.254 seconds earned a 90 speed index.
Our First Corona’s second win of the meet was worth a large $59,461 for owners Kevin and Robin Allred. The Sunland Winter Quarter Horse Derby champion owns 4 wins, 3 seconds and 1 third from 11 starts. With a building six figure bankroll, the rising stakes winner should be a major force in stakes races next year.
Tres Seis Nueve ran a very bold race and came up just short with jockey Jesse Levario in the saddle. The Tres Seis colt completed his second stakes placed effort in 2012. He was also second beaten a neck in the Hobbs America Derby at Zia Park last October. Juan M. Gonzalez’s hard trying colt completed a highly productive year. He earned $22,772 on Saturday, pushing his yearly take to over $138,000.
Feature Mr Who and jockey Esgar Ramirez finished up in third, beaten three-parts of a length. He ran hard but was no threat to the top two finishers.
Live racing resumes on Sunday at 12:25 p.m. The $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (Gr. I) is the featured 10th race at 400 yards. Prospect to the Top is the 3-1 morning line favorite in the classic. A jam packed field of 12 New Mexico-bred stars converges in the $85,000 Albert Dominguez Memorial (9th race) at one and one-sixteenth miles.