Trainer Justin Evans continued his stranglehold on New Mexico racing and captured his first Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino Thoroughbred Trainer’s title for the 2012-13 season. The rising star won 63 races including major strikes in the Harry Henson Handicap with African Rose and the Johnie L. Jamison Stakes with Nuggets Please.
Evans remained red hot following championship runs at the SunRay Park, Downs at Albuquerque and Zia Park meets in 2012. He wrapped up the Sunland Park meet 20 wins in front of his nearest rival. His win strike rate was a sparkling 25 percent strengthened by a host of Southern California. The Evans stable generated nearly $1 million in earnings during the 76 day stand. Evans will send the bulk of his open stable to Lone Star Park with a New Mexico-bred contingent running at SunRay Park. He plans to defend his Sunland Park trainer’s title next season. He currently ranks as the 8th leading trainer in the country in terms of races won.
Jockey Ry Eikleberry turned out an outstanding Sunland Park campaign and won his first Thoroughbred rider’s title at Sunland Park. Eikleberry won a furious battle for the top spot with defending champ Miguel Hernandez. Eikleberry won 55 races from over 312 mounts. His horses earned over $1 million throughout the season.
Kirk and Judy Robison were the leading Thoroughbred owners for the second year in a row with 12 wins from 71 starters. Their sensational stakes star Isn’t He Clever came back to win the Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes a track record setting performance on March 24.
On the Quarter Horse ledger, Esgar Ramirez was the runaway leader in the Quarter Horse rider standings with 48 wins. He is a six-time leading rider at Sunland Park. Mike Joiner won the Quarter Horse trainer’s title with 20 wins. Crowson Racing was the champion Quarter Horse owner.
Fishin For Dough got the perfect trip and won the $50,000 Getaway Stakes at 870 yards on Tuesday. Under jockey Ricardo Jaime, Fishin for Dough won his second race at the distance and became a stakes winner for trainer Poppy Aldavaz. The son of Fishers Dash sped through the distance in 45.842 seconds. He defeated Awise Hero by a neck in a driving finish. The final stakes winner of the Sunland meet is owned by Victor Diaz of Sunland Park. New Mexico. First Ghost Blazin was unlucky third after getting pinched hard at the start.