04/19/2009 11:00PM

Austin Lights rallies to take Inaugural


FARMINGTON, N.M. - Longshot Austin Lights took advantage of a torrid pace duel between favorite Loves Bonus and highweight Wind Water to rally furiously down the lane and capture the $40,000 Inaugural Handicap on Saturday afternoon at SunRay Park. Loves Bonus persevered for the place followed by Happy Humor and a tiring Wind Water.

Patiently handled by Catalino Martinez, Austin Lights ($25.40) trailed well back while the pacesetters stepped through fractions of 21.88 seconds and 44.54. Moving smartly into the stretch of the 6 1/2-furlong race, Martinez was forced to steady briefly behind horses before shifting to the outside to finish with a flourish to win going away in a time of 1:17.92 over a fast track.

The third winner of the day for trainer Jon Arnett, Austin Lights won for the third time in as many recent starts. The son of Hadif accounted for a $15,000 claimer and the final leg of the Sunland Park Claiming Challenge in his two previous starts. He has now earned more than $228,000.