11/23/2016 9:28PM

Pass the Buck wins Zia Park Derby, Code West takes Distance Championship

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Coady Photography
Pass the Buck and jockey Luis Quinonez win the Zia Park Derby by half a length Wednesday.

The owner-trainer-jockey team of Bryan Hawk, Boyd Caster, and Luis Quinonez took down a rich double in Hobbs, N.M., on Wednesday, when they teamed to win the $200,000 Zia Park Derby with Pass the Buck and the 150,000 Zia Park Distance Championship with Code West.

The races were run back-to-back and were part of a card of nine stakes making up the $1.2 million Land of Enchantment program at Zia. The main event was the $300,000 Zia Park Oaks, won by Family Tree ($4.60).

Pass the Buck ($16.40) trailed early in the Zia Derby as Dalmore and Let’s Meet in Rio dueled through an opening quarter in 24.16 seconds and No Distortion took over through a half-mile in 47.70 and six furlongs in 1:12.08. Pass the Buck picked off horses on the turn and continued to roll through the lane for a half-length win over Semper Fortis. It was another neck back to Inside Straight in third.

Pass the Buck covered the 1 1/16 miles on a track rated fast in 1:44.06. He was winning his first stakes race after a 3-year-old campaign that included a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3, $400,000 Oklahoma Derby in October. Pass the Buck is a son of Pulpit.

Code West ($26.60) dueled with J Serino for much of the 1 1/8-mile Distance Championship and had more on the final turn and in the stretch when confronted by Smack Smack. Code West won by 1 1/2 lengths over Smack Smack while covering the distance in 1:51.19. Code West was moving back to dirt after finishing a close fourth in an optional $50,000 claiming turf race at Remington Park. He is a son of Lemon Drop Kid, and Hawk co-owns the horse with Leo Hawk and Tim Hawk.

In other races, Rockport Kat ($8.20) rushed up the rail to a 3 1/2-length win over Storm Advisory in the $75,000 Zia Park Sprint. He covered six furlongs on a track rated fast in 1:10.32. Tyler Baze was aboard for owner-trainer John Sadler. Rockport Kat is an Oklahoma-bred son of Rockport Harbor and was making his stakes debut Wednesday. 

D R C's Pretty Sky ($30.40) held off a surging Wheatfield by a neck to capture the $75,000 Zia Park Distaff in a photo. The winner covered six furlongs in 1:09.71. Geovanni Franco was aboard for Selman Shaby and trainer Robertino Diodoro. D R C’s Pretty Sky defeated older horses as a 3-year-old daughter of Sky Mesa.  

Happy Hennessy ($15.40) pulled away by seven lengths to win his two-turn debut in the $140,000 Eddy County, which was restricted to 2-year-olds bred in New Mexico. He covered the one mile and 70 yards in 1:44.25. Enrique Gomez was aboard for owner-trainer Fred Danley. Happy Hennessy, a son of Roll Hennessy Roll, was winning his first stakes in the Eddy County.

There were three stakes for Quarter Horses. Executive Trust ($20.40) was a head winner of the $50,000 King Rick Rack Stakes, covering 870 yards in 46.39 seconds. Astica ($4.20) dominated by 3 1/4 lengths in the $140,000 New Mexico Championship for Fillies and Mares, covering 400 yards in 19.45 seconds. Jessies First Down ($8) edged Zoomin Effortlessly by a head in the $150,000 Distance Championship, covering 440 yards in 21.72.