03/23/2014 7:23PM

Sunland Park: African Rose repeats in Harry Henson

Coady Photography
Warren's Knockout prevails by a neck to give jockey Alfredo Juarez Jr. and trainer Justin Evans the first of two stakes wins Sunday in the Bill Thomas Memorial.

African Rose won the $75,000 Harry Henson for the second year in a row Sunday at Sunland Park, driving to a 1 1/4-length win over Hard to Resist in a race marred by the catastrophic breakdown of With a Miracle.

 Irwin Rosendo, who was aboard With a Miracle, and Alejandro Medellin, who was unseated when his mount, Wine Thief, hit the downed runner, both escaped serious injury. With a Miracle, who fell when advancing in the stretch, was euthanized, according to Dustin Dix, director of racing operations for Sunland. 

The Harry Henson was one of five undercard stakes supporting the Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Park Derby and $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks. Together the seven stakes were worth $1.4 million on what was the richest card of Thoroughbred racing in New Mexico.

African Rose ($5) was prominent from the start in the Harry Henson, taking her fellow fillies and mares through fractions of 24.79 seconds for the opening quarter; 47.97 for the half-mile; and 1:11.27 for six furlongs. In the stretch she had more, and covered the mile on a fast track in 1:36.77.

Alfredo Juarez  Jr. was aboard for Judge Lanier Racing and Sunland leading trainer Justin Evans.

African Rose has now won 11 of 24 starts and $285,608. She is a 5-year-old by Bwana Charlie and was bred in Florida by Heiligbrodt Racing Stable.

Evans and Juarez also teamed to win the $75,000 Bill Thomas Memorial, with Warren’s Knockout, who forged to the front between rivals to edge Wine Police by a neck. It was another neck back in third to Isn’t He Clever.

Warren’s Knockout ($18.60) tracked the pace in third through a half-mile in 44.02, and covered 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14.41.

Warren’s Knockout, who races for Len Schermer, has now won 9 of 32 starts and $390,557. He is a 6-year-old gelding by the Storm Cat stallion Stormed, and was bred in California by Benjamin C. Warren.

* Mancation ($45.60) rallied for a neck win over Desert Mystery in the $85,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Derby for statebreds, covering  1 1/16 miles   in 1:45. Rosendo was aboard for R.D. Hubbard and trainer Bart Hone.

* Zasha ($10.60) pushed past the leaders for a length win over stablemate Happy N Harmony in the $85,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Oaks for statebred fillies, covering  1 1/16  miles in 1:45.44. John Velazquez was aboard for C. Donnell Echols and trainer Joel Marr.

* Tricky R. ($6.80) edged Funnyoushouldask to win her fourth straight race in the $85,000 La Coneja for fillies and mares bred in New Mexico. She covered 5 ½ furlongs in 1:03.24. Nancy Summers was aboard for Ruth Summers and trainer Camille Telford.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman