11/26/2014 6:25PM

Isn't He Clever gets third straight stakes win

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Coady Photography
Isn't He Clever and jockey Enrique Gomez score in the Zia Park Distance Championship on Wednesday.

Isn’t He Clever won the $150,000 Zia Park Distance Championship in track-record time Wednesday, edging Ol Winedrinker Who by a nose in the 1 1/8-mile in Hobbs, N.M. The winner covered the distance in 1:48.48, lowering the mark of 1:49.36 set by Imco Spirit in the 2010 Distance Championship.

Zia on Wednesday put on seven stakes worth a cumulative $1.1 million as part of its second annual Land of Enchantment program. The centerpiece was the $300,000 Zia Park Oaks won by Cassatt. The $200,000 Zia Park Derby was captured in track-record time by Alert Bay.

Isn’t He Clever ($4.40) picked up the ninth stakes win of his career in the Distance Championship, defeating three others after the scratches of Tap the Admiral, Blueskiesnrainbows, Broadway Empire, and Smack Ridge. Isn’t He Clever took the field through an opening six furlongs in 1:12.08, responded when challenged in the stretch by Ol Winedrinker Who, then held off that resurging rival on the wire.

Enrique Gomez rode Isn’t He Clever for owners J. Kirk and Judy Robison and trainer Johnnie Nall.

Isn’t He Clever was winning his third straight stakes, having captured the $100,000 Downs at Albuquerque Handicap in track-record time Sept. 21 and the $55,000 Veterans at Zia Park in his most recent start Nov. 3. Isn’t He Clever is a 5-year-old by Smarty Jones and was bred in Kentucky by Monticule.

The Robisons and Nall also teamed to win the first Thoroughbred stakes on the card with Liberty Lover, who rallied for a neck win over Desert Gambler in the $140,000 Eddy County. The one-mile race was restricted to 2-year-olds bred in New Mexico.

Ry Eikleberry rode Liberty Lover ($10.40), who stalked the pace and caught Desert Gambler in the stretch to cover the distance in 1:38.22. It was the second straight stakes win for Liberty Lover, who also captured the New Mexico Cup Juvenile at Zia in October.

In other stakes, Lasting Bubbles ($14.20) shot through an opening along the rail and pulled clear by 2 3/4 lengths to win the $75,000 Zia Park Distaff. She finished the six-furlong race for fillies and mares in 1:09.93. Kerwin Clark, who won the Zia Park Oaks on Cassatt, also rode Lasting Bubbles. Kevin Peek trains the winner for Judy Peek.

• Jrc Callas First ($5.80) won his seventh straight race in the Grade 1, $150,000 Zia Park Quarter Horse Championship, edging Stimulus by a neck in a photo. It was another half-length back to the favored Hes Relentless in third. Damian Martinez was aboard the winner for co-owner and trainer Brian Stroud. Jrc Callas First’s streak includes a win in the Grade 1 Refrigerator at Lone Star Park.

• Foxy Moonflash ($2.60) was a one-length winner of the $140,000 Fillies and Mares Championship for New Mexico-bred Quarter Horses. G.R. Carter was aboard the winner for trainer Sleepy Gilbreath.
 

Chris Martin More than 1 year ago
What was with all the scratches of the big name shippers? Didn't every Baffert horse scratch? Merits a mention unless I haven't come across the article yet
Chris Martin More than 1 year ago
What was with all the scratches of the big name shippers ? Didn't every Baffert horse scratch?
Jimbo Matthews More than 1 year ago
Why was Isn't He Clever trained by Johnnie Nall rather than Henry Dominguez?
Amy Hurley More than 1 year ago
Good question. I wondered about this as well and would appreciate an explanation in a follow-up article by Mary R.