El Paso, TX — 2011 Rainbow Futurity winner Feature Mr Bojangles roared back into the Quarter Horse limelight with a neck win in the 13th running of the $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park on Sunday.
With jockey Cody Jensen in the irons, Feature Mr Bojangles broke fast from the outside #10 post position and was a major threat in the early stages of the 400 yard classic. The four-year-old stallion by Feature Mr Jess accelerated into the front in mid-stretch and continued to pour on the speed from his outside draw. The 3-1 favorite was clearly at his best this afternoon for trainer Paul Jones. Coming off two close stakes placed efforts, Feature Mr Bojangles put it all together in the Championship and regained his Grade 1 form.
Jensen said in a post race interview, “We had a near perfect start from a good post position, and it made for a very clean trip. This was the first time he had been on the outside, and I think he like it. He ran with every ounce of energy he had.”
Assistant trainer Lisa Saumell said, “This was a bittersweet victory. This race was absolutely loaded. Any horse could have won it. This is a perfect way to end his career. He’s a beautiful stallion and going to make a great stud. We want to thank Cody for coming. Cody has always been our good luck charm.”
Feature Mr Bojangles earned a hefty $210,000 paycheck for owners R.D. Hubbard and Heysol Howlet. Mr Hubbard won the Championship at Sunland Park in 2010 with Noconi and the 2007 edition with Ketel Won. Feature Mr Bojangles retires to stud over $952,000 in earnings from 8 career wins in 20 starts. He is out of the First Down Dash mare Catch This Dash. The impressive stallion is now in line for world champion aged stallion honors.
Bank of America Challenge Championship winner Feature Mr Who ran a gallant second with jockey Esgar Ramirez. The Feature Mr Jess gelding was forwardly placed throughout and ran his heart from the rail position. The runner-up earned $77,000 for Heysol Howlet and Julieta Torres. Howlet owns part of both the first and second place finishers.
Dm Streakn Thru Fire and Jess Cuervo finished in a dead-heat for third. Jess Featureme Quick, Hez Our Secret, Prospect to the Top, Jess Lips, Cold Cash 123 and First in Class Dbs rounded out the order of finish. Prospect to the Top and Cold Cash 123 won the 2012 and 2011 Championship at Sunland Park, respectively.
Mr Wizard closed with determination in deep stretch and gained a three quarter length win in the $85,000 Albert Dominguez Memorial Handicap going one and one-sixteenth miles. Under jockey Dusty Shepherd, the four-year-old Premeditation gelding once again showed his courage and beat the best older New Mexico-bred Thoroughbreds going a route.
Let go at 5-1 odds, the Dallas Barton trainee rebounded from a sub par performance in the Johnie L. Jamison Stakes on opening weekend. Mr. Wizard earned $51,000 for the victory. The 6-time winner is owned by W.D. Carson, Sr., M.H. Carson and Leach Racing LLC. He completes a tremendous 2013 with 5 wins including a score in the New Mexico Classic Cup at Zia Park. His earnings for the year are almost $300,000. Mr. Wizard paid $12.20 to win.
Attitude E Racer fought valiantly after setting the pace. The multiple stakes winning gelding held on to second place. The 15-1 long shot finished a half length in front of On Down the Road. That’s Who ran out of steam in the stretch drive and finished fourth as the even money favorite.
There will be no live racing on Tuesday, New Year’s Eve. Live racing returns on Thursday at 12:15 p.m.