12/04/2011 8:49PM

Zia Park: McKenna's Justice pulls 17-1 upset in Distance Championship


McKenna’s Justice won the richest Thoroughbred race of the Zia Park meet in a head bob on Sunday, when he edged Red Lead by a nose in the $200,000 Distance Championship. The 1 1/8-mile race was one of three stakes on the final card of the season, and all three produced double-digit winners.

McKenna’s Justice ($36.60) was content to race midpack in the Distance Championship, as Imco Spirit and Red Lead dueled through an opening quarter in 24.64 seconds and a half-mile in 49.77. McKenna’s Justice advanced four wide around the final turn and was diligent through the stretch, making up a two-length deficit in the final furlong and catching Red Lead while covering the distance in 1:50.56.

McKenna’s Justice came into the race off a fourth-place finish in the local prep, the $55,000 Veteran won by Vamoose, who finished third in the Distance Championship. Miguel Hernandez rode McKenna’s Justice for Judge Lanier Racing and trainer Justin Evans.

The win was the first in a stakes for McKenna’s Justice, a 4-year-old by Medaglia d’Oro and a half-brother to multiple stakes winner Wholelottabourbon.

* E Bar Way ($22.60) closed from well back to win the $120,000 Eddy County for 2-year-olds bred in New Mexico by a half-length, getting past the tandem of Zenon’s Star and third-place finisher That’s Who. Zenon's Star got second by a neck.

E Bar Way trailed the field for a half-mile in the one-mile race, as a wall of six horses entered the first turn together and the leaders covered the opening half-mile in 46.92. E Bar Way began picking off rivals approaching the final turn, angled out in the stretch, and ran down the leaders. He covered the distance in 1:40.06, with Duane Sterling aboard for Donnell Echols and trainer Jimmie Claridge.

* Sir Seth pulled the biggest stakes upset on the card the $150,000 Distance Championship for Quarter Horses, when he won by a neck over Celtic Classic and paid $61.40.

Racing in New Mexico moves to Sunland Park on Tuesday.