07/29/2011 3:35PM

Ruidoso: Zia festival for New Mexico-breds offers $1.1 million in purses

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Fullofenergy, who will be seeking his fifth consecutive Land of Enchantment Handicap victory at Ruidoso Downs on Sunday, is one of 16 horses trainer Joel Marr will send out on a New Mexico-bred program of stakes worth more than $1.1 million.

The 10-race Zia Festival features six stakes for Thoroughbreds and four for Quarter Horses.

Fullofenergy has been the star of the show since 2007, when as a 4-year-old he scored his first win in the $50,000 Land of Enchantment. But this year he will have to overcome a long layoff to extend his streak in the 7 1/2-furlong race. It will be his first out since September 2010.

“It’s going to be pretty tough,” Marr said. “It’s been almost a year and he’s getting a lot older. He’s doing really well. But it’s going to be tough being off that long, as old as he is, to be 100 percent fit and ready to go. But we’re going to try.”

Complicating matters for Fullofenergy, the 8-year-old who had been sidelined by a foot problem, is the fact that he drew post 10.

But in his corner is Marr, who has been known to keep streaks alive. He trained New Mexico-bred millionaire Peppers Pride to a 19-for-19 career. She is now retired, with her first foal, a Distorted Humor filly, recently weaned, said Marr, who added that Peppers Pride is currently in foal to Distorted Humor.

Carlos Maderia, who rode Peppers Pride and has also been aboard Fullofenergy for his four Land of Enchantments, has the mount Sunday. Fullofenergy races for Michael Stinson and his breeder, Joe Allen, who also raced Peppers Pride.

Marr’s other Land of Enchantment starters are Desert Gamble, Lane Stormer, Lota Talent, and Runnin Red.

Marr also will have a handful of horses to saddle in the $156,290 Rio Grande Senorita Futurity at 5 1/2 furlongs. He qualified four fillies: New Gold, whose dam was a multiple stakes winner at 2, Easy Loving Who, Silence N Solitude, and Quinton’s Doll Who. The favorite will be 11-length trial winner Our Flying Angel for trainer Ross Amestoy.

In the $149,250 Rio Grande Senor Futurity, Marr will send out Who Left Who, a half-brother to multiple stakes winner Blue Eyed Bella, and That’s Who.

“The two colts won their trials,” Marr said. “To me, watching the trials, it looks like there are four or five solid colts in the race and I think we have a shot.”

Marr’s other Zia starters include the capable Iplaytricks in the $50,000 Sierra Starlet and both Attitude E Racer, a brother to Fullofenergy, and Desert Hennessy, an undefeated brother to $400,000 earner Train Rider Blues, in the $50,000 Road Runner.

◗ In an honor similar to the George Woolf Memorial Award for Thoroughbred jockeys, the Sam Thompson Memorial Jockey Award has been established to annually recognize a Quarter Horse rider whose character has resulted in a “positive reflection” on the sport. The inaugural winner will be honored at Ruidoso on Sept. 4.

Sam Thompson died from injuries sustained when his mount broke down past the wire in a Los Alamitos race Dec. 21, 2008. He was active in both the Jockeys’ Guild and the Race Track Chaplaincy of America. The award is a joint effort between the Guild and Speedhorse Magazine, a Quarter Horse publication.

The Guild has selected five nominees for the inaugural award: Roy Brooks, G.R. Carter Jr., Alfonso Lujan, Freddie Martinez, and Gilbert Ortiz. The winner is selected by a vote of jockeys.