Earning his second stakes win of the season, B4 Farms LLC’s Bye Bye Bobby rolled to a 6½-length victory in Sunday’s $75,000 San Juan County Commissioners Handicap, the traditional closing day stakes race for the live racing season at SunRay Park and Casino.
Ridden to victory by Tracy Hebert for trainer Todd Fincher, Bye Bye Bobby dueled for the lead through moderate early fractions with Limonite for nearly six furlongs in the 1⅛-mile event before putting that rival away entering the final turn. Bye Bye Bobby opened up a commanding lead at the top of the stretch and drew off to beat his stablemate Sheriff Brown in a final time of 1 minute, 51.06 seconds.
A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Quality Road, Bye Bye Bobby picked up his second straight win and stamped himself as the horse of the meet among thoroughbreds at SunRay this season. He also won the Inaugural Handicap here on opening weekend on April 8. Sunday’s win pads his career bankroll to nearly $333,852 while winning for the fifth time in 13 starts.
Before his back-to-back wins at SunRay, Bye Bye Bobby was third in the Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes last March at Sunland Park. As a 3-year-old last year, Bye Bye Bobby was second in the Riley Allison Derby, the Mine That Bird Derby and the Grade 3, $500,000 Sunland Derby.
Sent off as the post time favorite at odds of 1.70-to-1, Bye Bye Bobby returned $5.40 to his winning backers. The $2 exacta with fellow Fincher trainee Sheriff Brown paid $27.40. Open Road finished well to cross the wire in third, with Holland finishing a well-beaten fourth.
The win for Bye Bye Bobby wasn’t enough for Fincher to earn the title of leading thoroughbred trainer at SunRay this season. That title went to Andres Gonzalez, who won 11 races at the recently completed meet, with Martin Valdez-Cabral, Jr. finishing second in the standings with 10 winners, one ahead of Fincher.
Gonzalez, with nearly 300 combined wins as a thoroughbred and quarter horse trainer for more than 15 years, saddled three stakes winners at SunRay this seaon, including Diné Stakes winner New Mexico Jeremy, Jack Cole Stakes winner Bye Bye Matty P as well as Flaxy Lady, who won the Russell and Helen Foutz Distaff Handicap.
Alejandro Medellin finished the season as the leading thoroughbred jockey at SunRay Park this season with 19 winners, eight ahead of Alfredo Juarez, Jr., Christian Ramos and Enrique Gomez.
Medellin now has 1,100 career wins as a thoroughbred jockey and becomes one of only a handful of riders in the sport to have earned titles in both quarter horse and thoroughbred racing at the same track in different seasons. Medellin won the quarter horse riding title at SunRay in 2008.
In addition to the closing day stakes race for thoroughbreds, a pair of quarter horses established themselves as champions on closing weekend.
Jetting Thru Clouds, dismissed by bettors as a 20-to-1 longshot, proved herself best under jockey Edgar Martinez in Saturday’s $253,689 New Mexico Breeders’ Futurity, the richest race of the SunRay Park season.
Owned, bred and trained by Joel Gutierrez, Jetting Thru Clouds broke a bit inward when released from the gate, but Martinez quickly found his best stride aboard the 2-year-old Jet Black Patriot filly, getting the lead down the center of the course in the final 100 yards and prevailing by a half-length ahead of post time favorite Eye Am On It. The tandem crossed the finish line in a final time of 17.63 seconds for 350 yards.
Jetting Thru Clouds, who broke her maiden when she won her trial heat here on May 5, had been winless in each of her first two starts. Saturday’s win puts her lifetime earnings to more than $123,000.
Sent off as the fourth-longest shot on the board in the 10-horse event, Jetting Thru Clouds returned $43.20 to her winning backers. The $2 exacta combining the winner with runnerup Eye Am On It paid $180.60. Jess Have One More finished third, with Jumpn Runn rounding out the top four finishers.
Earlier on the Saturday card, Vista Del Sol, Inc.’s Tempting Barbie sprang a minor upset when she scored a victory in the $172,349, Grade 3 Four Corners Futurity for some of the top juvenile quarter horses in the southwest.
Ridden by Esgar Ramirez for trainer Marco Flores, Tempting Barbie broke clean from the gate, was challenged throughout to her inside but scored a hard-fought win, crossing the wire in a fast final time of 17.35 seconds for 350 yards.
Tempting Barbie was the fastest qualifier for the Four Corners Futurity when she won her trial heat here on May 5. The Oklahoma-bred daughter of Tempting Dash has now won each of her two career starts and has earned more than $84,000.
Tempting Barbie, sent off as the fourth choice in the wagering, returned $11.60 to win. The $2 exacta, combining the winner with runnerup One Little Liar paid back $110.60. Playin Quarters finished third while Hope Hes Special rounded out the top four runners.
Trainer Wes Giles earned the title of leading quarter horse conditioner at the SunRay meet. Giles, with eight winners on the season edged Jesus Rondan, Jr., with seven. It’s the ninth time in Giles’ career he has won the local quarter horse training championship.
Giles, who has already earned training victories in the two of the richest quarter horse races in the country, has amassed more than 1,300 career wins including triumphs in the 2021 All American Futurity with Kj Desparado, and in the 2014 All American Derby with Too Flash for You.
Jockeys Christian Ramos and Hector Aldrete each finished the season atop the quarter horse standings with 11 wins apiece.