Preview Racing

Major Bites Seeks to Defend Title in Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap at Sunland Park
Multiple stakes winner Major Bites heads a full field in Saturday's $85,000 Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap at Sunland Park.

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Major Bites Seeks to Defend Title in Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap at Sunland Park

SUNLAND PARK, NM—MARCH 12, 2019—A full field of New Mexico-breds have entered the 350-yard $85,000 Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap at Sunland Park on Saturday afternoon. The feature race of the card is restricted to New Mexico-breds aged three and up.

Major Bites, last year’s post-time favorite and winner of the race, returns as the 4-1 morning line favorite. The 6-year-old son of Jesse James Jr never finished off the board in 2018, including five wins; his only losses came against Jessies First Down.

Jimmy Guerra trains for owner Israel Bordier; Hector Aldrete will be the gelding’s new pilot. Major Bites will attempt 350 yards for the first time since last year’s Mesilla Valley. The multiple graded stakes winner has never finished out of the money at this distance and half of his ten career victories have come at Sunland Park.

The race also features an interesting rematch between Bigg Daddy and Jesse Lane.

The top money-earner in the field, Bigg Daddy was the post-time favorite and runner-up in the 2017 running of the All American Futurity (G1) and he won the Zia Futurity (RG1) earlier that summer. He returned as a 3-year-old to win the Zia Derby (RG2) and will make the first start of his 4-year-old career on Saturday. Jason Giles trains for owner Too for Two; Adrian Ramos will be aboard.

Bigg Daddy is by Big Daddy Cartel, out of the First Down Dash mare and champion 3-year-old filly Alice K White. Out of Champagne Lane, Alice K White is a half-sister to another horse in the Mesilla Valley field, Jesse Lane.

Jesse Lane, by Jesse James Jr, is owned and bred by MJ Farms. He is trained by Jimmy Padgett and will be ridden by Rodrigo Vallejo, who had the call on the gelding’s only previous Sunland Park start.

Jesse Lane was fourth in his most recent start, the Jess Burner Handicap, which snapped a four-race win streak. He won the All American Juvenile the same year that Bigg Daddy won the All American, and was second to Bigg Daddy in the Zia Futurity. Free from Bigg Daddy’s competition at Zia Park, he won the New Mexico Classic Derby (RG2) in November, his first graded stake win.

$85,000 Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap is Race 9 on Saturday at Sunland Park. Estimated post time is 4:18 pm MT.

The field, by post position, with trainer, jockey and morning-line odds:

  1. Mr Klee, Ricardo Armendariz, Raul Ramirez, Jr., 6-1
  2. Call Me Brad, Stephanie Beltran, Jose Ortiz, 12-1
  3. Major Bites, Jimmy Guerra, Hector Aldrete, 4-1
  4. Daddys Blushing, Jackie Riddle, Francisco Calderon, 6-1
  5. Marcus Medallion, Jaime Aldavaz, Jr, Jaime Leoz, 5-1
  6. Jesse Lane, Jimmy Padgett, Rodrigo Vallejo, 10-1
  7. Regard the Rose, Tim Weeder, Raul Herrera, 12-1
  8. Cd Mamas Boy, Jimmy Guerra, Jesse Levario, 12-1
  9. Bigg Daddy, Jason Giles, Adrian Ramos, 8-1
  10. Magnifico Dragon, Cynthia Gonzalez, Mauro Salcedo, 10-1
  11. (AE) Moon River, Jorge Morales-Flores, Irving Delgado-Bustillos, 15-1
  12. (AE) A Super Sonic Boom, Alvaro Hinojos, Martin Felix, 15-1

Sunland Park is celebrating its 60th season of live racing in the 2018-2019 meet. The current 75-day meet will run through Kentucky Derby weekend for the first time, allowing fans the opportunity to watch the simulcast Derby feed as well as live racing on May 4.