El Paso, TX — In a daring wire to wire performance, Smack Ridge used his impressive cruising speed to win the 38th running of the $50,000 Winsham Lad Handicap at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Sunday.
With a brilliant ride from Dusty Shepherd, Smack Ridge controlled the pace throughout the one mile and 70 yard feature and soundly beat the best handicap horses in the southwest including Ol Winedrinker Who. Smack Ridge broke fast from the #1 post position in the route feature and completely controlled the pace, setting fractions of 23.91 and 47.34 seconds for the first two calls. When asked for his best by Shepherd at the quarter mile pole, Smack Ridge delivered in kind. The six-year-old bay gelding by Cactus Ridge out of the Victory Gallop mare Smack Madam maintained his sharp tempo and would not be denied.
The 7-1 front runner winner held off Dry Summer by three parts of a length. He clocked the distance in a fast 1:39.80 for winning trainer Simon Buechler. Smack Ridge won for the 9th time in his productive career and earned $30,000 for the Judge Lanier Racing Team led by Mr. Tom McKenna of Taiban, New Mexico. His career bankroll now exceeds $200,000. Loyal supporters of Smack Ridge received $16.60 to win despite coming off a resounding allowance win on Dec. 17.
Mine That Bird Derby winner Dry Summer ran a strong race in his Sunland Park return but had to accept second place honors. The son of Any Given Saturday was caught wide on both turns but still finished with a determined effort. The runner-up was ridden by Alfredo Juarez, Jr. Dry Summer campaigned at Del Mar, Santa Anita and Hollywood Park for the latter half of 2013.
Jaycito finished third beaten almost 5 lengths. 6-5 favorite Ol Winedrinker Who failed to muster a sufficient charge after a slow start and finished in fourth place. The well decorated stakes router was coming off two smashing stakes wins at Zia Park last fall.
Live racing returns on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 12:15 p.m. each day.