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RUIDOSO DOWNS, NM – JULY 31, 2021 – Bigg Dee, a three-year-old gelding, broke sharply and held off a late charge by Fanncee to win the $203,479 Zia Quarter Horse Derby (Grade II) Saturday afternoon during the Zia Festival at Ruidoso Downs Race Track.
“He’s been so close to these good horses for so long that he deserves this,” trainer James Gonzales said in the winner’s circle. “We knew he would excel at 400-yards. He’s just so (physically) big that he needs the extra ground to be successful.”
“When he broke as well as he did I knew that it was going to be a good day,” jockey Mario Delgado said. “He just takes him that moment to gather himself—but today he was ready when they kicked the gate. “
Owned by Rex Wells, Bigg Dee went off as the 2-1 favorite in the tenth race and paid $6.40, $3.60 and $2.60 in a time of 19.604 seconds. The gelding’s sire is Big Daddy Cartel out of the mare Miss Woody Dee by Woodbridge. Bigg Dee has six career wins in ten starts.
In the $40,000 Zia Stakes (Grade II) for quarter horses three-years-old and up, No Mires A La Luna and jockey Lucas Constantin surprised the field at 11-1 odds and scored a half-length victory in a time of 19.563 for 400-yards.
Now a five-year-old, the gelding is owned by Bryon Woodard and trained by Marc Jungers. A 2018 All American Futurity finalist, No Mires A La Luna paid $24.20, $8.80 and $7.20 in the eighth race. No Mires A La Luna’s sire is First Moonflash out of the mare Don’t Looke Ethel by Genuine Strawfly.
In the $50,000 Sierra Starlet for three-year-old thoroughbred fillies, Slammed and jockey Tracy Hebert broke first from the gate and sped away from the field to win by eleven lengths in a time of 1:02.36 seconds for five-and-a-half furlongs.
Slammed is co-owned by trainer Todd Fincher, Brad King and Suzanne Kirby. The filly has won three out of four career starts. She went off at nearly 2-1 odds and paid $5.80, $3.20 and $2.40 in the seventh race. Slammed is sired by Marking out of the mare Hennesey Smash by Roll Hennessy Roll.
The ninth race was the $50,000 Sierra Blanca Stakes for thoroughbreds three-years-old and up. Six-year-old Hollywood Henry rolled home with jockey Duane Sterling on board to win by more than five lengths for his tenth career victory.
Owned by Bennie Vanecek and trained by Fred Danley, Hollywood Henry went off at 6-1 and paid $14.00, $8.20 and $6.00 in a time of 1:02.33 seconds. The gelding’s sire is Roll Hennessy Roll out of the mare Ringback by Gone Hollywood.
The eleventh race was the $50,000 Land of Enchantment Stakes with three-year-old thoroughbreds going seven-and-a-half furlongs. It was won by Ancient Land and jockey Kelsi Purcell by six-and-a-half lengths.
Ancient Land is a four-year-old gelding owned by Martin Riley, David Carroll, C.W. Scott and J.D. Howard. He is trained by Casey Lambert and went off nearly 3-1 odds to pay $7.40, $4.00 and $3.20 in a winning time of 1:30.78 seconds. Ancient Land’s sire is Monterey Jazz out of the mare Rodinia by Bluegrass Cat.
The Zia Festival continues on Sunday with the $319,805 Zia Quarter Horse Futurity, $50,000 Zia Quarter Horse Juvenile, $50,000 Lincoln Stakes, and $50,000 Road Runner Stakes, all part of a twelve-race card with first post scheduled for 1 p.m.