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Jess Burner Handicap headlines strong card at Ruidoso

Fly On Down, (inside, gray) gets his nose down on the shadow of the finish line in the second division of the $100,000 Jimmy Drake Stakes, Friday, April 28, 2023 at SunRay Park and Casino. Photo Coady Photography
New Mexico-breds will battle over 400 yards in featured event

RUIDOSO – A full field of 10 New Mexico-bred quarter horses will race 400 yards in the $45,000 Jess Burner Handicap, which will go as the ninth race on Sunday’s 10-race card at Ruidoso Downs.

Headlined by recent stakes winners Big Crush BB and Fly On Down, the field for Sunday’s featured event features 10 runners with earnings of more than $2.16 million.

No Mires A La Luna, the richest horse in the Jess Burner field, is also coming into the race riding a three-race losing streak, including a narrow loss in his most recent start when finishing second in a division of the Jimmy Drake Stakes at SunRay Park and Casino on April 28.

The Ebert Munoz-trained son of First Moonflash has earned over $690,000 while winning eight times from 37 career starts. He has earned four of those wins from 18 starts over the Ruidoso strip.

No Mires A La Luna, who has been installed as the second choice on the morning line at odds of 4-to-1, will break from the rail under jockey Noe Garcia, Jr.

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Fly On Down, who scored that narrow victory over No Mires A La Luna in the Drake Stakes, is the 7-to-2 morning line favorite for trainer Omar Vargas. The 5-year-old son of One Handsome Man has earned more than $255,000 while winning six races from 23 starts. He has three wins and two seconds from seven trips to the post at Ruidoso Downs and will be piloted by Alfredo Sigala, who was aboard for his most recent victory. Fly On Down will break from post six.

River Flash and jockey Adrian Ramos arrive at the winners circle after capturing the $100,000 (R-G3) New Mexico Breeders Stakes, April 24, 2022 at SunRay Park and Casino.

River Flash, who finished a solid third behind the top pair in the Drake, will be making his second start since winning the New Mexico State Fair Derby last September at Albuquerque Downs.

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The Wes Giles-trained son of Chicks Regard has career earnings topping $417,000 while winning nine times from 14 career starts. Adrian Ramos will once again be aboard River Flash, who is the third choice on the morning line at odds of 9-to-2.

Local fans can watch and wager on the Jess Burner Handicap, as well as the entire Ruidoso card, at SunRay Park and Casino. Sunday’s race program begins at 1 p.m. local time with post time for the Jess Burner Handicap scheduled for 4:28 p.m.