El Paso, TX — The high powered Here Kittykittykitty called upon all his class to a take a narrow decision in the $85,000 Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Sunday.
The 2013 Jess Burner Handicap winner broke solidly under jockey Larry Gamez and held a narrow lead. He was in a battle throughout, however as both Sandys Jesse and Stel Gone Corona took shots at the favorite. Here Kittykittykitty found more in reserve and pushed by both rivals in the thrilling finish to the New Mexico-bred 350 yard feature. The seven-year-old gelding by Genuine Strawfly pushed ahead to defeat Sandys Jesse by a head and take his 10th career win. The winning time was 17.298 seconds.
Racing as the 6-5 favorite, Here Kittykittykitty has certainly cemented his claim as the top older New Mexico-bred Quarter Horse in training. The Wes Giles trained star has beaten the best at Zia Park and Sunland Park. He also won this same Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap in 2012.
Winning owner Melvin Neugebauer of Manzanola, Colorado, took home the first prize check of $51,000. In total, Herekittykittykitty has earned over $664,000 in his brilliant career. He paid $4.60 to win.
Sandys Jesse was super game in defeat and just missed. Last year’s winner of the Sunburst Stakes made a bold run at the winner with jockey Antonio Escareno but had to settle for second. The runner-up earned $18,700 for owner Hector Cardenas of Perryton, Texas. The 18-1 longshot sparked a $1 exacta worth $36.80.
Stel Gone Corona, runner-up in the 2013 Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap, was threatening late and finished third under jockey Esgar Ramirez.
Live racing resumes on Tuesday at 12:55 p.m. The $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) is only 2 weeks away. Sunland Park’s biggest day happens on Sunday, March 23. The 2014 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) winner earns 50 qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.