Hall of Famer Trainer Steve Asmussen and Eclipse Award-winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. turned their Zia Park invasion into a walk in the park. The pair of Eastern invaders won three of the seven stakes on Zia Park’s Land of Enchantment Day card on Tuesday.
That included the day’s biggest prize, the $250K Zia Park Derby with 1/20 favorite Super Stock. After scaring off the field to three rivals, Super Stock let Pirate Junction set the pace before he decided enough was enough on the far turn. The Arkansas Derby winner blew past Pirate Junction and won the 1 1/16-mile race by 1 ¼ lengths.
Paying a meager $2.10 to win, Super Stock took his fourth victory in 14 career races, along with his second victory in three starts. The 3-year-old Dialed In progeny, owned by Asmussen’s father, Keith, and Erv Woolsey, the manager for country music star George Strait, won the Ellis Park Derby in August. He ran his career earnings north of $1.15 million.
Earlier that day, Asmussen and Ortiz turned Pauline’s Pearl loose for a 1 ½-length victory in the Zia Park Oaks. En route, the 6/5 second-favorite overtook 9/10 favorite Lady Mystify – trained by Californian Peter Eurton and ridden by West Coast ace Flavien Prat. That was Pauline’s Pearl’s first victory since April’s score in the Grade 3 Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Zia Park is a haven for Gun Runner offspring
The tandem’s first win of the day was their most decisive, sending 2-year-old 11/10 favorite Optionality to a 6 ½-length dissection of the $50K Zia Park Princess Stakes. The daughter of leading freshman sire Gun Runner won her second consecutive race by open space. She broke her maiden at Indiana Grand last month by 6 ¾ lengths.
Somehow, scraps were left for everyone else on Zia Park’s marquee day. Zia Park’s leading trainer, Todd Fincher, sent Canoodling to a 5 ¾-length trouncing of Asmussen’s 7/10 favorite Casual in the Zia Park Distaff.
And Prat did get his, piloting Zestful to a head victory over Asmussen’s even-money favorite Tenfold in the Zia Park Championship. This represented an $80K claimer beating a $1.2 million-winning horse who hit the board in two Grade 1s, including the 2018 Preakness.
Claimer Zestful grinds out another victory
A 6-year-old gelding, Zestful got claimed three starts ago for $80K. That claim came after he finished second in a Del Mar allowance optional claiming race. He went on to win two of his next three races, including the Zia Park Championship. He’s now 12-for-38 in his career.
On the other end of the spectrum, Bye Bye Bobby beat Peter Miller’s 13/10 favorite Aquitania Arrival by nearly two lengths in the Zia Park Juvenile Stakes. Bye Bye Bobby is a Quality Road colt, who sold for $870K as a yearling.