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El Paso, TX — Under jockey Enrique Portillo Gomez, Hard to Resist came flying late to win a frantic finish in the $50,000 Czaria Handicap at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday.
Looking hopelessly beaten with 2 furlongs to go in the 6 furlong feature, Hard to Resist found her best strides in deep stretch. The classy Johannesburg mare closed fast from last to first. She leaned sharply at the wire to defeat the front running favorite Cottagecupcake by a nose. The narrow photo finish winner never game up and showed great determination to win her first race over a dirt track. The winning time was a fast 1:09.47.
The former Southern California race horse enjoyed significant success running over grass for the past two years having earned over $174,000 on that surface. She transitioned nicely to Sunland Park and recently finished second to African Rose in the $75,000 Harry Henson Handicap on Sunland Derby (Gr. III) day.
Hard to Resist gained her fourth career win for local owners Kirk and Judy Robison of El Paso, Texas. She earned $30,000, pushing her lifetime bankroll past $250,000. Henry Dominguez is the winning trainer. The Robisons claimed the mare for $40,000 at Santa Anita on March 7.
Cottagecupcake fought valiantly through the stretch and looked like a winner. The Stormello filly trained by Dallas Barton was in front by daylight with a 100 yards to go but could not hold onto the lead. The even money favorite finished a very close second with Carlos Madeira in the saddle.
Challenging wound up close behind in third and was part of the blanket finish. Lady of Luck was fourth, beaten less than a length.
Dungarees Six won the $45,000 New Mexican Spring Fling at 300 yards under a stirring ride from Esgar Ramirez. Emilio Cadena III is the winning trainer. Prominent horseman Gary Thompson of Odessa, Texas is the winning owner. Vgc Broom was placed second.
Defending champion Feature Mr Who runs in the $105,480-added Bank of America NM Challenge Championship (4th race) on Sunday. Quemados Version is the top qualifier for the $208,966 New Mexican Spring Futurity (5th race). Post time on Sunday is 12:55 p.m. The live racing season continues through Tuesday, April 15.
The 12th annual Sports and Get Fit Expo will be held on Sunday at 10 a.m. in the Signature Showroom. Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams and Baseball Hall of Famer Goose Gossage are the headliners.
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