12/31/2011 9:03PM

Sunland: Cold Cash 123 solidifies status as nation's top Quarter Horse

Lisa Dominguez/Cooley Photography
Cold Cash 123 covers 400 yards in a quick 18.73 seconds to win the $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park.

Cold Cash 123 needed a top effort Saturday in the Grade 1, $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park to solidify his ranking as the nation’s leading Quarter Horse. He delivered. Big time.

Cold Cash 123 won the Championship by a length, defeating a field that featured the earners of more than $5.1 million. It was the second straight Grade 1 win for Cold Cash 123, who entered the race as the American Quarter Horse Association’s top-ranked runner in a poll covering 3-year-olds and up. Earlier this year, Cold Cash 123 won the Grade 1 Rainbow Derby at Ruidoso Downs and the Grade 1 Texas Classic Derby at Lone Star Park.

In the Championship, a 400-yard invitational, Cold Cash 123 broke running from post 9. He was in control of the race throughout, and covered the distance on a fast track in a blazing 18.73 seconds. The time is believed to be one of the top three fastest clockings for the distance in the history of Quarter Horse racing, according to a release issued by Sunland Park. The track’s record for 400 yards is 18.61.

Roy Baldillez was aboard the winner for T Bill Stables and trainer Sleepy Gilbreath.

“Today, he left there better than all year,” said Baldillez. “He cruised on home. He’s pretty powerful. He ran a super race.”

Bodacious Dash finished second in the Championship, a neck in front of third-place finisher Rylees Boy.

Cold Cash 123 earned $157,000 for the win, which pushed his earnings to $979,741. He is a Michigan-bred son of Oak Tree Special.

That's Who takes Red Hedeman Mile

On the undercard, That’s Who ($4.40) stalked the pace then dug in late to win the $110,000 Red Hedeman Mile by three-quarters of a length over Tarahumar Flags. Ry Eikleberry was aboard the winner for Sam E. and Latane Stevens and trainer Joel Marr.

The Hedeman, for 2-year-olds bred in New Mexico, was the second career stakes win for That’s Who. Back in October, he took the $151,000 New Mexico Cup Juvenile at Zia Park. That’s Who came into Sunday’s race off a third-place finish in the $129,000 Eddy County, also at Zia.