11/14/2009 12:00AM

Fincher keeps on rolling at Zia

Email

Trainer Todd Fincher has won six of the last 10 Thoroughbred stakes run at Zia Park, and has a little more business to conduct before the season ends Dec. 8.

His streak began on Oct. 18, when Glory Be Mine defeated open company in the $60,000 Permian Basin. The following weekend, Fincher sent out Lydia's Last Step to upset the $60,000 Governor's Cup for 2-year-olds at 59-1. But that was just a glimpse of what was to come Nov. 8, when he won four of the seven Thoroughbred stakes run on the $2 million New Mexico Cup card at Zia.

"By far, it was a career-best day for me," said Fincher, 38. "We've run on New Mexico Cup Day before and won a race here and there. But four in one day is incredible."

Fincher won the two richest Thoroughbred races on the New Mexico-bred card, taking the $191,575 Rocky Gulch Championship with Enchanted Outlaw and the $182,190 Peppers Pride Championship with Negotiablafections. His charges also won both stakes for 2-year-olds, with Glory Be Mine winning her fourth straight race in the $149,345 Juvenile Fillies and Chuchuluco showing real promise in the $152,690 Juvenile.

The stakes success has pushed Fincher's stable earnings this year to a career-best $1,361,307. Fincher was tied for third in the Thoroughbred standings at Zia, where he had won with 15 of 43 starters through Friday. A former jockey, he began training in 1998 and won his first race at Ruidoso Downs.

"My grandfather trained horses, my father trained and rode, and I rode from 1988 to 1997," Fincher said. "I was 6 foot tall, so it was hard to keep going."

Fincher, a native of Denver, rode both Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses, competing mostly in New Mexico. He now is based in the state as a trainer, and when Zia ends Fincher will head to Sunland Park where there are several statebred stakes awaiting his winners from the New Mexico Cup.

But for Chuchuluco, there is a big test coming up at Zia. Fincher said the horse could move to two turns next, for the $120,000 Eddy County at a mile for statebreds Dec. 6.

"I think he's very talented, and I think he'll run the mile," Fincher said.

Chuchuluco emerged as a New Mexico-bred to watch when he won the six-furlong Juvenile in a sharp 1:09.20. He rallied from off the pace for a career-best Beyer Figure of 88, one start after wiring his rivals by six lengths in a maiden special weight for statebreds Oct. 18.

Glory Be Mine could also be headed to a two-turn test, in the $125,000 Enchantress at Sunland on Dec. 20.

"We'll look at that if she trains well for a mile," Fincher said.

Otherwise, he said, she will go six furlongs in the $125,000 La Senora Handicap Jan. 16 at Sunland.

Enchanted Outlaw, who won for a claiming price of $10,000 two starts before the Rocky Gulch, has stepped up his game with each of his races at the meet. A timid horse in the past, he seems to be getting more confident, said Fincher.

"He always had talent," said Fincher, who has trained Enchanted Outlaw, 4, throughout his 16-race career. "I'd lead him up there and he'd run as fast as he could and stop. He stresses out. But maybe that's kind of going away now. Maybe he's getting more comfortable with the whole setup. He ran a huge race."

Fincher said Enchanted Outlaw would be considered for the $125,000 Johnie L. Jamison at 6 1/2 furlongs Dec. 13 at Sunland, but added he might want to wait and keep him going two turns in a race like the $100,000 Albert Dominguez Memorial at Sunland on Jan. 3.

Negotiablafections improved her record to 6 for 8 with her win in the Peppers Pride.

"She's a train," Fincher said. "She's got a big heart and has nothing but fight in her."

Fincher said Negotiablafections could cut back to one turn next, for the $125,000 New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap at Sunland on Dec. 13.

* Jockey Mark Villa won the 1,000th Thoroughbred race of his career Nov. 10, aboard Granny's Will in the sixth race at Zia.