11/29/2011 4:13PM

Zia Park: Thirtyfirststreet, Awesome Bet ship in for Zia Derby

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Reed Palmer Photography
Thirtyfirststreet (right), winner of the Lone Star Derby in May, is shipping to Zia Park for the Zia Park Derby.

The fields for the richest Thoroughbred races of the Zia Park meet have been set, with Thirtyfirststreet and Awesome Bet headlining Saturday’s $150,000 Zia Park Derby and Imco Spirit defending his title against shippers Skip a Smile and Matto Mondo in Sunday’s $200,000 Distance Championship.

Zia, the Hobbs, N.M., track that operates a mixed meet for Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses, will close its season Sunday.

Thirtyfirststreet, who won the $200,000 Lone Star Derby in May, is invading from Southern California for the Zia Park Derby.

“It’s one of the last few chances to keep him with his own age group,” said Doug O’Neill, who trains Thirtyfirststreet.

Thirtyfirststreet will break from post 3 in the 1 1/16-mile Zia Derby. He will be ridden by Alejandro Medellin, the leading rider at Zia.

Awesome Bet, winner of the $103,000 Barbaro at Delaware Park, will break from post 5. Trainer Steve Asmussen has given the mount to Luis Quinonez.

The Zia Derby will go as the 10th race on an 11-race program Saturday. The complete field from the rail, with riders, is Hidden Recipe, Ry Eikleberry; Happy Toes, Macario Rodriguez; Thirtyfirststreet, Medellin; First Strike, Alfredo Juarez Jr.; Awesome Bet, Quinonez; and Half Dome Dude, Enrique Gomez.

The Distance Championship, a handicap at 1 1/8 miles, drew nine horses when entries were taken Tuesday. It will share a card with two other stakes, the $120,000 Eddy County, a one-mile race for 2-year-olds bred in New Mexico, and the Grade 1, $150,000 Distance Championship for Quarter Horses, which is led by champion Noconi.

Hayley’s Halo extends stakes streak

Hayley’s Halo, who has now won five stakes in her last five starts following last weekend’s $55,000 Zia Park Distaff, will likely make her next start in February at Sunland Park. Trainer Henry Dominguez said she is a candidate for the $50,000 El Diario Handicap, a 6 1/2-furlong race for fillies and mares on Feb. 11.

“That will probably be next for her,” said Dominguez, who trains Hayley’s Halo for her breeder, Lathrop Hoffman.

Hayley’s Halo began her streak at Sunland in April, when she won the $50,000 Czaria. She has since won stakes at Ruidoso Downs, SunRay Park, and Zia Park. She won last weekend’s Zia Distaff by a length for a Beyer Speed Figure of 86.

Evangeline sets date for sale

Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, La., will conduct its 10th annual 2-year-olds in training sale on March 25. The auction is put on in conjunction with Stemmans Inc. Horses who pass through the sales ring will be eligible for a pair of restricted stakes next August at Evangeline. The races, which are named in honor of the late Eclipse Award-winning owner John Franks, will be run over 5 1/2 furlongs. Each will offer a purse of $60,000.

There will be a gallop preview program for horses in the sale on March 24. Earlier this year, the average at the auction was $7,978. The deadline to enter the upcoming sale is Jan. 9. Evangeline opens its Thoroughbred meet April 18.

◗ A group of about 120 people gathered at Oaklawn Park’s backstretch chapel on Monday in honor of Bob Holthus, the longtime trainer who died earlier this month in Louisville, Ky. Holthus had raced for more than 55 years at Oaklawn.

◗ Laughing Fitz, a 2-year-old half-sister to multiple stakes winner Skip a Smile, will make her dirt debut in the featured sixth race Thursday night at Remington Park. The $75,000 optional claimer at a mile carries first-level allowance conditions. Skip a Smile has won three races at the Remington meet, including the $100,000 Governor’s Cup on dirt and the $100,000 DeBartolo Memorial.

◗ Cindy and Luke Knox, whose Sumokin won the Grade 3, $426,624 Black Gold Championship for Quarter Horses at Will Rogers Downs on Nov. 12, have donated $68,500 of their earnings from the race to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

◗ Will Rogers has reported it handled $2.2 million on its races during its recent 28-date Quarter Horse meet, up from $1.2 million during the corresponding season in 2010.