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New Mexico-bred shortliners dominate spotlight at Ruidoso

Quarter horses headline weekend action in Mountain Top Futurity, Derby
Daddysqueenofalice, ridden by Ricky Ramirez, posts an upset victory in the $340,666 Mountain Top Futurity at Ruidoso Downs on Sunday, June 18, 2023. (Ruidoso Downs)

RUIDOSO – Getting a clean getaway from the starting gate and a flawless trip from her inside post, Daddysqueenofalice posted an upset score in Sunday’s $340,000-added Mountain Top New Mexico Quarter Horse Futurity at Ruidoso Downs.

Owned by Triple R Racing Stables LLC and Kim Middleton and ridden to victory by Ricky Ramirez for trainer James J Gonzalez II, Daddysqueenofalice managed to get away from the starting gate in relatively good order, unlike a number of her opponents, who got into a bit of a tangle just a few jumps out of the gate.

Daddysqueenofalice, who finished second, beaten just a half-length behind Chicka Boom Babe when trials were held here on June 2, led from start to finish before crossing the wire a length ahead of Call Me Jessiecartel and jockey Sergio Becerra Jr.

“When we took the lead, I felt like we could take advantage of it,” Ramirez said. “I’ve been working with this filly since the winter and knew she had some ability. I’m happy that I had the opportunity to ride her today.”

Ramirez, regarded by many as one of the greatest quarter horse riders in the country, has won more than 1,300 races in a 20-year career. He rode Whistle Stop Cafe to victory in the 2020 All American Futurity and has won multiple Grade 1 races with his mounts earning more than $40 million.

Daddysqueenofalice, a daughter of Big Daddy Cartel, ran the 350 yards in a time of 17.58 seconds.

Sent off as the sixth choice in the wagering at odds of 12.50-to-1, Daddysqueenofalice returned $27 to her winning backers. The $2 exacta with Call Me Jessiecartel paid back $217. Over Da Edge finished third, with Kelly Isa Chick rounding out the top four finishers.

Daddysqueenofalice was bred by Mac and Janis Murray's MJ Farms at Veguita, New Mexico. She was a $180,000 purchase at last year's Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale.

Winning for the first time in two career starts, Daddysqueenofalice earned more than $143,000 with Sunday’s win, increasing her lifetime earnings to more than $144,600.

White Lightenin, ridden by Mario Delgado (blue cap) finish just a neck ahead of Cruzin For Chickz and jockey Bryan Candanosa in the $205,000-added Mountain Top New Mexico Bred Quarter Horse Derby, Saturday, June 17, 2023 at Ruidoso Downs. (Ruidoso Downs)
Cruzin For Chickz awarded Derby win via DQ

Curtis Crenwelge, Jim Laird & Jose Espinosa’s Cruzin For Chickz earned his first career stakes victory Saturday at Ruidoso Downs, taking the top prize via disqualification in the $205,000-added Mountain Top New Mexico Bred Quarter Horse Derby.

The 3-year-old son of Jess a Chicks trained by Wes Giles and ridden by Bryan Candanosa, earned the win after finishing a close second behind post-time favorite White Lightenin in the 350-yard affair.

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After a video review of the race, the stewards found that White Lightenin, ridden by Mario Delgado and breaking from Post 2 in the eight-horse field, bore out in the final yards of the race, impeding the progress of sixth-place finisher Wood Dee Queen and costing that rival a better finishing position.

“Following a stewards inquiry, White Lightenin was disqualified and placed sixth for causing interference in late stretch,” according to the official chart of the race provided by Equibase.

White Lightenin, who was the fastest qualifier for the Mountain Top Derby when trials were held here on June 3, was disqualified from first and placed sixth. The DQ allowed runner-up Cruzin For Chickz, beaten just a neck at the finish line, to earn the win. The winner stopped the clock in a final time of 17.94 seconds.

“We were dealing with a strong wind and it was very difficult,” Candanosa said after the race. “We were fortunate to move up. This gelding is a very consistent runner and I was fortunate today.”

Cruzin For Chickz broke his maiden in his fourth career start at SunRay Park and Casino on April 21. Prior to that, he had finished second in three previous outings at Sunland Park, including a runner-up spot in the New Mexico Spring Futurity as a 2-year-old last year. In his most recent outing, Cruzin For Chickz won his trial heat and has now won three consecutive starts.

The win adds more than $90,000 to the career bankroll for Cruzin For Chickz, who has now amassed earnings of more than $172,000.

Sent off at odds of 7.20-to-1, Cruzin For Chickz returned $16.40 to his winning backers. Also benefiting from the disqualification of White Lightenin was Codex and jockey Francisco Calderon, who was moved up from third to second place. The $2 exacta with the top two runners returned $114.20. RC Corona King was moved up to third, while KJ Daddys Money was placed fourth.

Live racing at Ruidoso Downs resumes on Friday with a 10-race program that begins at 1 p.m. Local fans are reminded that simulcast wagering on racing from across the country can be found at SunRay Park and Casino.

Headline races next weekend at Ruidoso Downs include Sunday’s $132,000-added Mountain Top Thoroughbred Futurity, featuring state-bred 2-year-old racing five furlongs. On Saturday, the $45,000 Rita Danley Distaff Stakes for New Mexico-bred quarter horse fillies and mares racing 350 yards is the main event of an 11-race card.