Expertly handled by veteran rider Ken Tohill, Devons Ca Ching charged his way to victory in a stirring rendition for the $85,000 Pepsi Cola Stakes at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday.
Overcoming a slow start, Devons Ca Ching exploded along the rail to take command of the 12 horse field of top flight New Mexico-bred three-year-olds heading into the far turn. The grey roan son of Devon Lane forced a hot pace while under a controlled ride from Tohill. He moved ahead of double stakes winner Kiss My Hennessy, and then was presented a challenge by Red Hedeman Mile Storms Surprise at the top of the lane.
The resolute three-year-old continued rolling along on the lead and showed no signs of stopping despite setting fractions of 21.61 and 44.44 seconds for the first two calls. Storms Surprise flattened out on the rail and Devons Ca Ching held off late surges from both Todd Fincher trained runners in Thermal and Kiss My Hennessy. Devons Ca Ching held firm to win by a half-length in a driving finish. He sped through the 6 furlong sprint in a fast 1:10.1. The victory was his third from four starts. He earned a $51,000 jackpot for owner Lester Wright of Runaway Bay, Texas. The impressive gelding has flourished since breaking his maiden at Zia Park and winning a Sunland Park allowance last month. His career earnings moved past the $93,000 mark.
The newly crowned Pepsi Cola Stakes champ paid $10.60 to win.
Multiple stakes winner Thermal ran a very strong race from off the pace. Under jockey Duane Sterling, Thermal launch an eye catching 5-wide moved around the far turn and was closing with interest in the final furlong. The gelded son of Attila’s Storm simply ran out of real estate after a terrific effort. The runner-up earned $17,000 for owner R.D. Hubbard of Palm Desert, California.
The 2012 Copper Top Futurity winner Kiss My Hennessy also ran a courageous race. He raced near the front throughout and never gave way. The Roll Hennessy Roll gelding seemed to find a second wind in deep stretch and finished third under jockey Casey Lambert, only beaten one length. Storms Surprise made a very bold move passing the quarter mile marker but could not maintain his momentum. He finished fourth under jockey Isaias Cardenas.
Attila’s Hurricane, the 9-5 favorite, could not keep up with the front flight and eventually finished last.
Live racing resumes on Sunday at 12:25 p.m. The $50,000 KOFX Radio Handicap (4th race) is the featured event at 350 yards.