El Paso, TX — Winning Merlot served up a sharp upset win in the $208,965 New Mexican Spring Futurity at 300 yards. Under jockey Francisco Calderon, the precocious New Mexico-bred filly by Winner Version showed plenty of poise breaking fast from the #9 post position. The near 7-1 shot dueled for the early lead and built up a strong burst of momentum to defeated Dungarees Version by a half-length at the wire.
Trained by Jackie Riddle, Winning Merlot sped through the distance in a fast 15 seconds flat and remained unbeaten in two starts. The sorrel filly earned $99,894 for owners Debra and Joseph Meridyth, Jr. of Hobbs, New Mexico. Winning Merlot paid a nice $15.60 to win.
Joseph Meridyth indicated that the newly crowned stakes filly will be pointed to the New Mexico-bred futurities at Ruidoso Downs.
Dungarees Version and jockey Esgar Ramirez won a tight battle for second place. Trained by Emilio Cadena III, the runner-up held off Midevil Arrow by a head. Dungarees Version earned $38,257 for owner Gary Thompson of Odessa, Texas. Bank Dunit followed up in fourth place.
Heavy favorite and top qualifier Quemados Version blew the start and faced an impossible task. The Winners Version colt closed fast but had to settle for 5th place after losing his path. The 4-5 favorite was beaten about a length.
Feature Mr Who defended his title in $105,480 Bank of America Challenge with another powerful victory going 440 yards.
Under jockey Alonso Rivera, Feature Mr Who produced a superior performance winning by one length in a lightning fast 20.76 seconds for the 440 yards. The timing earned a 98 speed index. The victory was his first since winning last year’s Bank of America Challenge in 20.46 seconds on April 7, 2013. The two bravura victories were separated by exactly one year. Jose Muela is the winning trainer.
Feature Mr Who paid $6.40 as the 2-1 favorite. The winning gelding by Feature Mr Jess roared to his 7th career win for owners Heysol Howlet and Julieta Torres of Peyton, Colorado. The victory was worth $48,521 pushing his lifetime earnings to nearly $280,000. He is poised for a big year in 2014.
Jesscuzican and Testing the Ice finished in a dead-heat for second.
Live racing resumes on Tuesday at 12:55 p.m.