10/28/2011 12:49PM

Zia Park rolls out red carpet for New Mexico-breds


Nuggets Please is one of a number of horses riding win streaks into Sunday’s $2 million New Mexico Cup program at Zia Park. He will be seeking his fourth consecutive win when he starts in the $180,000 Rocky Gulch, which is the richest of seven Thoroughbred stakes on a card that also includes four stakes for Quarter Horses.

All of the races are restricted to horses bred in New Mexico, and together they make the Zia program one of the most lucrative statebred championship cards in North America.

Nuggets Please began his win streak at Ruidoso Downs in September, when he won a second-level allowance by five lengths. The race was his first for the partnership of Solitaire Stable and Philip and Deborah Troost after having been based earlier this year in Southern California.

“We went out there and purchased the horse,” said Henry Dominguez, who trains Nuggets Please. “The horse is a New Mexico-bred, and we had this race in mind but didn’t know if we would get in on earnings.”

Nuggets Please, a 4-year-old by Prospector Jones, went to work on that issue, taking two more allowances following his September score. Both wins came at Zia, one at six furlongs on Oct. 4, and the other at the mile distance of the Rocky Gulch.

“He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do, and he’s done it with authority,” Dominguez said. “We don’t know his limits yet.”

Ricardo Jaime will ride Nuggets Please, who will break from post 11 in the one-mile race for 3-year-olds and up, which has a full field of 12.

“I hated for him to draw that outside post that like he did, [but] he’ll tuck in going into the first turn,” Dominguez said. “Hopefully he doesn’t encounter a lot of traffic, and hopefully he can get through there and be a good factor for us.”

Enchanted Outlaw won the 2009 Rocky Gulch and missed by a nose in 2010, and is back for another round. Sunday’s race will be his second start following an eight-month layoff. He moves back to two turns off a sprint comeback and figures to be prominent under jockey Alfredo Juarez Jr.

“He’ll be up or near the lead, that’s his running style,” said his trainer, Todd Fincher.

Double Smart returns to defend his Rocky Gulch title for Roger Beasley and Leach Racing and trainer Ray Ashford Jr.

Fincher has strong contingent

Comicsperfectstorm, who has won her last four starts by a combined margin of 25 3/4 lengths, is one of several New Mexico Cup starters Fincher has on win streaks. She will go in the $140,000 Filly for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs. Comicsperfectstorm picked up her latest stakes win in her last start Aug. 21, when she romped by eight lengths in the $50,000 Chief Narbona at the Downs at Alburquerque. All of her wins have been wire to wire, and she figures to again use front-running tactics Sunday when she breaks from post 3 under Juan Ochoa.

“She’s very fast,” Fincher said. “I don’t know what she’d do if she got behind. I hope I don’t have to see that.”

In the $140,000 Colts and Geldings for 3-year-olds at six furlongs, Fincher will try to make it five in a row with Jannas Pride. The horse will be coming off a nine-month layoff and racing at a distance shorter than his best.

“He can sprint, he’s just a much better horse going long,” Fincher said. “He is talented. It will be interesting to see what he does. He doesn’t have a big kick. He’s more of a one-paced horse, so I wish he was going a little farther.”

Ochoa also has the mount on Jannas Pride.

Rose’s Desert tests elders

Fincher has the up-and-coming Rose’s Desert in the $170,000 Peppers Pride for fillies and mares at a mile. She has won her last two starts, her most recent a first-level allowance sprint by 11 lengths. Rose’s Desert, who is a 3-year-old, will be making both her stakes and two-turn debut Sunday.

“She has a huge stride on her and I expect her to get better with distance,” Fincher said. “I know she’s a lightly raced 3-year-old filly going against a bunch of tough older mares, but I think she’s that good. I really do.”

Fincher’s other starter on a win streak, T.V. Stevie, will come into the $140,000 Juvenile undefeated in two starts after being reinstated as the winner of an Oct. 8 allowance at Zia. T.V. Stevie had finished first by two lengths in five-furlong race, but was disqualified for impeding a rival and placed fourth. The disqualification was overturned Thursday following an appeal before the New Mexico Racing Commission.

◗ Our Flying Angel seeks to remain perfect in three starts in the $140,000 Juvenile Fillies.

◗ Our Choice will be out to make it three wins in a row when he runs in the $170,000 Sprint.

◗ Call a Fast Corona will be seeking his fourth straight win when he starts in the richest offering for Quarter Horses, the $322,283 Futurity.