Page 70 - NMHBASummer2019
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                                SUNRAY PARK
  by Michael Cusortelli
The track ended its 17-day season on June 2
Average daily purses increased substantially at SunRay Park in Farmington, New Mexico, which ended its 17-day Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse season on June 2.
SunRay Park presented a closing-day stakes tripleheader; two of the stakes were for Quarter Horses and one was for Thoroughbreds. The track drew a reported on-track crowd of 2,335 for its closing-day program.
SunRay’s richest race for any breed, the 350-yard, $175,051 New Mexico Breeders’ Futurity (RG3) for state-bred 2-year-old Quarter Horses, was won by J. Patricia Gonzalez’s Runner Chick. Trained by Juan Carlos Gonzalez and ridden by Jaime Leos,
the gray daughter of Chicks Regard earned the $82,274 winner’s share of a stakes-record purse.
Number One Interest, a bay daughter of Seperate Interest trained by Ruben Leyba for owners Samantha Leyba and Lilly Leyba, won the 350-yard, $82,379 Four Corners Futurity on closing day. Irving Delgado-Bustillos rode the Arizona-bred filly.
Pendleton won SunRay Park’s richest Thoroughbred race, the 1 1/8-mile, $75,000 San Juan County Commissioners Stakes. A Kentucky- bred Giant’s Causeway gelding racing for William Tomasic and Susan Tomasic, Pendleton earned the $45,000 winner’s share of the purse. Frank Reyes rode the gelding for trainer Justin Evans.
SunRay Park’s increased purses helped contribute to substantial increases in on-track per-race handle and average field sizes for its Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse races.
According to figures provided by SunRay Park, on-track per-race handle increased by 31 percent, offsetting a slight 1.28-percent decrease in off-track per-race handle. SunRay’s average field size rose 11 percent; the track’s Quarter Horse races averaged 8.8 horses per race, while its Thoroughbred races averaged 8.01 head per race.
In addition, 30 percent of SunRay Park’s races featured full fields of 10 horses, compared to 12 percent during its 2018 season, which ran 33 days. Also, 74 percent of the track’s races fielded eight horses or more, compared to 48 percent last year.
“I think the main reason our off-track handle was down was because we only ran
two Mondays this year,” said SunRay Park simulcast operations manager Steve Fedunak. “Mondays have traditionally been our strongest off-track days.”
SunRay Park also continued its popular “Guest Paddock Host” program, which this year featured appearances by noted handicap- pers and racing personalities Julie Farr, Megan Devine, Jonathan Horowitz, and Robert Earle. Earle is the founder and chief executive officer of the 1-2-3 Bet (, a handi- capping contest-style bet type that SunRay Park offered for the first time this year.
Luis Negron led all SunRay Park’s Thoroughbred jockeys with 10 wins from 57 mounts, two more than runner-up Alfredo Juarez Jr., who won eight races from 50 mounts. Irwin Rosendo was SunRay’s leading Thoroughbred jockey in mount earnings with $224,748.
Justin Evans was SunRay Park’s leading Thoroughbred trainer with 21 winners from 58 starters, 14 more than runner-up Todd Fincher, who sent out the winners of seven races from 22 starters. Evans also topped all of the track Thoroughbred trainers in starter earnings at $445,589.
William Tomasic and Susan Tomasic topped all SunRay Park Thoroughbred owners with five wins from 13 starters; eleven owners were tied for second with two wins apiece. Due in large part to Pendleton’s victory in the $75,000 San Juan County Commissioners Stakes on closing day, the Tomasics also led all Thoroughbred owners in purse earnings with $141,010.
On the Quarter Horse side, Alonso Rivera was SunRay Park’s leading jockey with 11 wins from 47 mounts, one more than runner-up Edgar Martinez, who rode the winners of 10 races from 64 mounts. However, Martinez
was the meet’s leading Quarter Horse rider in mount earnings at $266,122.
The race for leading Quarter Horse trainer at SunRay was also tight, as Cynthia Gonzalez led the way with seven winners from 43 starters, one more than Beatriz Sanchez/Carrillo, who won six races from 29 starters. Gonzalez topped all Quarter Horse trainers in purse earnings with $204,260.
SunRay Park’s leading Quarter Horse owner, John Pinkerton, won four races with five starters. Three owners -- Blas Duran Castillo, Diamond Racing Stables, and Daniel Balderrama -- were tied for second with three wins apiece. Pinkerton also led all Quarter Horse owners in purse earnings at $109,640.
    68 New Mexico Horse Breeder

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