Following a jet propelled start, Prospect to the Top cruised home a definitive winner against some of the nation’s finest Quarter Horses in the $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (Gr. 1) on Sunday.
The 4-year-old stallion by Coronas Prospect remained sharp and was at the top of his game for the 400 yard classic on a cold afternoon. With jockey Oscar Rincon aboard, Prospect to the Top broke fast and took complete control of the feature in the first 100 yards. The front runner for 2012 leading older stallion honors parlayed the perfect start to an impressive Grade 1 stakes win. The 5-2 favorite ran straight as a string and hit the finish line a half length in front of Jess Featureme Quick. The winning time through some head winds was a fast 19.03 seconds. The classy Prospect to the Top ends 2012 with a flourish winning the Championship at Sunland Park, the Zia Park Quarter Horse Championship and the All American Gold Cup.
The former $4,000 bargain purchase rattled through three stakes wins in his last four appearances for trainer Brandon Muniz. His 10th career win was a lucrative one coming with a $157,000 payday for owner Joel Tavarez of Odessa, Texas. The 2011 West Texas Derby and Hobbs America Derby winner ranks as one of the year’s greatest racing bargains. His hefty bankroll is pushing past $924,000.
Loyal supporters of Prospect to the Top received $7.00 to win.
Jess Featureme Quick, third place finisher in the Zia Quarter Horse Championship, ran an improved race to finish a solid second under jockey Saul Ramirez. The Feature Mr Jess gelding trained by Paul Jones picked up momentum in the final stanza and was gaining on the winner. The runner-up earned $70,000 for owner Melissa Miller
Jess Burner winner First Blazin Love produced another top notch effort to finish third on the outside. The Paul Jones trainee raced as a close second favorite at 5-2 odds. Tt Featured Effort was fourth. Dm Streakn Thru Fire broke last and was left with too much to overcome. The Mike Joiner trained horse closed belatedly to get fifth. The Long Knife, Miracle Snow, Block N Tackle, Llano Teller and Kool Country Man rounded out the order of finish.
On Down the Road generated a strong late rally to win his second straight stakes race in the $85,000 Albert Dominguez Memorial Handicap at 1 and 1/16 miles. Racing for trainer Joel Marr, On Down the Road dug in for the final furlong to overhaul stable mate Attitude E Racer. The two Marr horses finished one-two with On Down the Road in front by three parts of a length.
Carlos Madeira rode the double stakes winner for owner Lisa Rehburg of Mountain Center, California. On Down the Road completed his third straight win including a nice win in the $180,000 New Mexico Cup Classic at Zia Park last October. The five-year-old Desert God gelding has 5 wins from 13 starts and carries a money line reaching $269,000. The 2012 Albert Dominguez Memorial winner is just beginning to realize his enormous potential in route stakes.
Attitude E Racer opened up a winning break in upper stretch and looked long gone with a 3-length lead. The pace setter wore down in the final 100 yards and just missed under jockey Isaias Enriquez. Johnie Jamison Stakes winner Nuggets Please finished nearly 2 lengths back in third place. Cross Chris Run was fourth. 14-race winner Our Choice failed to deliver his usual closing punch and was sixth.
Live racing resumes on Tuesday, New Year’s Day at 12:25 p.m.