First Blazin Love speeds to win $85,000 Jess Burner Memorial Handicap
Safe Trip takes $50,000 KLAQ Handicap
First Blazin Love broke like a bullet and roared to a three-quarter length win in the 16th running of the $85,000 Jess Burner Memorial Handicap at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday. Last season’s Shue Fly champion beat a terrific group of New Mexico-bred stakes winners with combined lifetime earnings in excess of $2.5 million.
With an alert start under jockey Jesse Levario, First Blazin Love seized control early in the 400 yard feature. The three-year-old colt by Chicks a Blazin beat his elders with a sustained burst of speed down the lane. He was timed in a sharp 19.071 seconds, good for a 94 speed index. Despite coming off a stakes win at Zia Park, First Blazin Love was let go at a generous 5-1 odds. The Paul Jones trainee paid $12.40 to win.
The newly crowned Jess Burner winner improved his record to 6 wins from 13 starts. He picked up a paycheck worth $51,000 for owners Dwayne Johnson, Lisa Saumell and Sammy Martinez. First Blazin Love has career earnings of over $351,000.
Klassic Strawfly finished a game second. Untangled Vines finished a head back in third. The 3-2 favorite Miracle Snow wound up in fourth.
Safe Trip took a driving three quarter length win in the $50,000 KLAQ Handicap going five and one-half furlongs. The heavy favorite at 3-5 used a stalking trip to pounce on the lead on the far turn, and the chestnut gelding held off a furious late charge by Lion Hall to win the meet’s first Thoroughbred stakes race.
Since shipping to New Mexico from Monmouth Park in New Jersey, Safe Trip has taken the state by storm winning three straight races including two stakes races for winning trainer Weston Martin. Miguel Hernandez rode the fast son of Tale of the Cat. Winning owners Molly Morris and Raymond Simpson received $30,000 in first place monies. Safe Trip sped through the feature in a fast 1:03.
Lion Hall ran a big race for trainer Chris Hartman. The grey roan son of Lion Heart used a powerful late threat to nearly catch the winner in the final yards. Derek Bell rode the runner-up. Defending champion Jam’n Jackson finished third, beaten over a length.
Our First Corona is the top qualifier for the $126,455 Sunland Park Winter Quarter Horse Derby. The finale will be run on Saturday, Dec. 29. Here is the list of qualifiers: Our First Corona, 18.854; Fittest, 18.952; Really A Fantasy, 18.992; Tres Seis Nueve, 19.034; Feature Mr Who, 19.044; Lethal Volt, 19.093, Dashing Yes Perry, 19.113; Hauling The Cash, 19.156, Abra Cadabraa, 19.215 and Storm Winds, 19.252.
Racing resumes on Sunday at 12:25 p.m. The $85,000 Johnie L. Jamison Stakes (10th race) and the $85,000 New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap (8th race) are the main events.