Texas-Bred Mr Money Bags Among Land Of Enchantment Day Stars At Zia Park

Roy Cobb’s Mr Money Bags won the biggest race of his career Wednesday at Zia Park in Hobbs, N.M., as he dug in and captured the $250,000 Zia Park Derby under Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez.  Trained by Mike Neatherlin, the son of Silver City was able to hold off a determined bid by Dueling to win the mile and one-sixteenth main track event, by a neck in 1:44.04 over a good track.

The Derby was one of seven stakes valued at $1 million that is part of the seventh annual Land of Enchantment Day program at Zia Park. Despite the loss of multiple stakes entrants because of the shipping restrictions of horses from Remington Park due to reported cases of equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) and less than stellar weather conditions, there were some outstanding performances on the pre-Thanksgiving Day card.

The tenacious Texas-bred Mr Money Bags broke his maiden at Zia Park one year ago. He won two stakes earlier this year at Sam Houston Race Park, before returning to Hobbs to win the $50,00 Roadrunner Stakes here last month. Neatherlin opted to keep him here and thanked trainer Casey Lambert for overseeing his stay prior to this race.

“I’ve had some good horses, but this horse is unique,” admitted Neatherlin.  “Every time I think the situation might be a little tough for him, he just comes through. He amazes me a lot and he has a bigger future ahead.”

“He’s an amazing horse,” added Valdez-Jiminez. “He will do anything you want. He’s a speed horse, but is pretty smart! I want to say thank you to Mike and Casey Lambert.”

Dueling, a Kentucky-bred colt owned by Michael C. Stinson, ran a game second for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. The son of Violence made his last start in the Let it Ride Stakes at Del Mar. Walker Stalker, Final Jeopardy and Sherriff Brown completed the order of finish.  Drawn as a ten-horse field, Tone Broke, Sleepy Eyes Todd and Bankit were among the nine horses unable to ship from Remington Park. Proverb and Hustle Up were also scratched.

Mr Money Bags returned $3.80 for the win. He improved his career record to seven wins from 10 starts. With the winner’s check in the amount of $150,000, he has earned $345,270.  He is expected to be honored as 2019 Texas Thoroughbred Horse of the Year. Neatherlin said he would make his next start in the 2020 Sam Houston Race Park meet, which begins on January 10.

Motion Emotion Game Winner of Zia Park Oaks
California invader, Motion Emotion ran a very professional race in her Zia Park debut to take the $250,000 Zia Park Oaks.

Trained by Richard Baltas for the ownership group of Abbondanza Racing LLC, Mark DeDomenico LLC and Medallion Racing, Motion Emotion shipped to Zia from California this week. The Take Charge Indy filly, bred by WinStar Farm, ran in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs and returned to action in the Beverly Lewis Stakes at Los Alamitos on September 7.  Baltas felt that she was training well and was sitting on a good effort.

“The owners bought her privately and we ran her kind of quick” said Baltas.  “That race was too short for her, so we regrouped. I really thought that Mario did an excellent job, sitting off the early speed. He timed it really well and she had enough to hold off Jerry’s horse.”

Gutierrez won the 2017 edition of the Zia Park Oaks with Sandy’s Surprise for trainer Doug O’Neill. He guided his filly to victory in the mile and one-sixteenth feature in 1.44.40.

“I wasn’t sure how the race would go, but when (Glacier Point) went to the lead, I decided to lay off the pace,” he said. “She’s a really nice filly; was getting a little tired at the end, but dug in and got the job done.”

Calf Moon Bay, who last ran third in the Grade 2 Las Virgenes at Santa Anita in February for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, ran second, followed by McWend and Glacier Point.

Lady Apple,  a multiple-graded stakes winning filly by Curlin was installed as the 3-5 morning line favorite but did not run due to the restrictions on Remington Park based-horses.  Horologist was also scratched from the race.

Motion Emotion ($2.40) has now won three of her nine career efforts and has banked $418.845.  Baltas was not certain on her next start, but has some Santa Anita stakes in mind,

Emotional Victory for the Connections of Zia Park Championship Winner
Restrainedvengence owned by Kelly Brinkerhoff and Bob Grayson, Jr., returned to Zia Park for trainer Val Brinkerhoff to win the $150,000 Zia Park Championship. The 4-year-old by Hold Me Back won the $65,600 Rolling Green Stakes on Labor Day weekend  at Golden Gate Fields. He followed that with a second-place finish in the Grade 2, $202,106 City of Hope Mile at Santa Anita.

Tyler Baze kept his mount in the lead throughout in the mile and one-eighth handicap, finishing in 1.48.69.

“I thought the pace was a little too fast, to be honest,” said Baze. “He was doing it easily. I had been wanting to ride this horse for a couple of years, so I’m glad we got the win!”

Brinkerhoff has had his share of challenges with the high-strung nature of this horse and said last week that he certainly lives up to his name.

“He has a mind of his own and you have to handle him with kid gloves,” stated Brinkerhoff. “He’s got an attitude about him, but that’s what makes him such a good horse. Tyler gave him a fantastic ride; couldn’t ask for anything better.”

The California-based conditioner became emotional when he mentioned owner Bob Grayson, Sr., who passed away recently.

“This is a bittersweet win for us as our partner died a couple weeks ago,” he added. “He picked him up at the sale and we sure miss him.”

Sent off as the second choice in the wagering, Restrainedvengence paid $6.00 for the win. Downtowner ran second, followed by Sphene and Sky Promise.

Two entrants were unable to ship in for the Championships due to the aforementioned policy regarding horses at Remington Park. Lookin at Lee, trained by Asmussen and Net Gain, from the barn of Clinton Stuart, were scratched.

Additional Land of Enchantment Stakes winners
The $95,000 Zia Park Distaff was the first feature of the card. Dale F. Taylor Racing’s She’s My Gem won her first career stakes under Ry Eikleberry. The filly by Into Mischief was spotted at the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale by trainer Todd Fincher. He gave her credit for overcoming difficulty in the Chaves County Stakes and regrouping solidly. Sent off as the 4-5 favorite, She’s My Gem ($3.60)  covered six furlongs in 1:09.76 over a fast track.

An even faster clocking came in the next race, when Chief Cicatriz ($4.20) blazed to the wire of the six furlong $100,000 Zia Park Sprint in 1.08.84. Bred and owned by Roy Gene Evans, the 6-year-old son of Munnings is trained by Shawn Davis and earned his sixth stakes win under confident handling by Tyler Baze.

Leading Zia Park Thoroughbred jockey Francisco Arrieta won the next two features, closing gamely aboard Eli Diamont’s Maius in the $75,000 Zia Park Juvenile and Midnight Emma in the $75,000 Zia Park Princess. Maius ($7.80) is trained by former jockey O. A.Martinez and covered six furlongs in 1.10.29.

Midnight Emma, owned and trained by Jose Luna Silva, shipped in from Turf Paradise and was saddled by Silva’s son, Jose Luna Silva, Jr. Arrieta guided the dark bay filly to the far outside, crossing the wire in 1:10.47.  She rewarded her supporters with a $24.80 mutuel; the highest win payout of the ten-race Land of Enchantment card.

Zia Park Live Racing Schedule
Live racing resumes on Saturday, November 30 with a post time of Noon (MT).  In response to the equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) outbreak at Remington Park, in addition to a ban on horses coming directly from that racetrack, Zia Park has also instituted additional requirements on horses shipping on to the grounds.   Horsemen are encouraged to contact the racing office at Zia Park prior to shipping any horses.  The 2019 Zia Park live racing season wraps on Wednesday, December 18.

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