Showing a sudden burst of acceleration at the top of the stretch, Doug O'Neill-trained Sandy's Surprise cruised to a 4 3/4-length victory under Mario Gutierrez Wednesday in the $300,000 Zia Park Oaks at Zia Park in Hobbs, N.M. Ever So Clever finished second with The Incident third in the field of seven 3-year-old fillies contesting the richest race of the day on a Zia Park card that included seven Thoroughbred stakes worth nearly $1.1 million.
Owned by STD Racing, John Fuller and Neil Haynes, Sandy's Surprise covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.66 as the 5-2 second wagering choice while earning her first stakes victory and third win overall from 11 starts. The Southern California-based daughter of Drosselmeyer was bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm.
The second-richest race of the day, the $200,000 Zia Park Derby, went to the Candy Ride colt Cedartown, who was making his stakes debut at odds of 7-1 for Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin and trainer Michael Stidham. Cedartown, ridden by Ry Elkerberry, defeated 7-10 favorite Untrapped, the Oklahoma Derby winner who in that race defeated Battle of Midway. The latter came out of the Remington Park event to win the G1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. Chief Know It All was third. The win was the third in six starts for Cedartown, who was bred in Kentucky by Halo Farms.
Iron Fist won the $150,000 Zia Park Championship Handicap as the 124-pound highweight and 7-10 favorite in what was the final start of a 24-race career for the 5-year-old by Tapit. Trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr., Iron Fist is slated to enter stud at his owner's Whispering Oaks Farm in Louisiana.He retires with nine wins from 24 starts with earnings in excess of $1 million.
In other races, Mt. Veeder (by Ghostapper) posted a 16-1 upset in the $75,000 Zia Park Sprint for trainer Justin Evans, and KP Wildcat (Include) won the $75,000 Zia Park Distaff under jockey Roimes Chirinos.
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