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© Coady Photography
BY MICHAEL CUSORTELLI
HOBBS, NM—OCTOBER 15, 2020—Donelli, a multiple stakes winning homebred daughter of Big Daddy Cartel racing for Mac and Janis Murray’s MJ Farms, is one of 39 state-bred sophomores entered in Tuesday’s 400-yard New Mexico Cup Derby (RG2) trials at Zia Park.
Donelli is coming off of a three-quarter length victory as the fastest qualifier in the 400-yard, $252,000 New Mexico State Fair Derby (RG3) at Albuquerque Downs on September 20. The gray filly has won seven of 11 starts and has earned $402,501, but Tuesday’s trial will mark her first career start at Zia Park.
Donelli drew post 4 and will be ridden by Alan Hernandez for trainer Wes Giles in the second of four trials. Her nine opponents in the fourth heat include Victor Lozano’s First Neon Moon, a gray son of champion First Moonflash trained by Martin Orona Sr.
First Neon Moon made his 3-year-old season debut with a nose victory at odds of 13-1 in the 400-yard, $100,000 New Mexico Horse Breeders’ Association Stakes (RG2) at Sunland Park on February 15.
First Neon Moon drew post 3 and will be ridden by Mauro Salcedo.
Other prominent New Mexico-bred 3-year-olds entered in Tuesday’s trials include Close To Crazy, a stakes-winning and graded stakes placed Jesse James Jr filly trained by Juan M. Gonzalez for owner LEMA Racing Stables.
An $11,500 yearling purchase at last year’s New Mexico-Bred Sale at Ruidoso Downs, Close To Crazy is coming off of Ruidoso summer campaign during which she won the June 14, 350-yard Rita Danley Distaff Stakes (R) and ran second, a neck behind winner Mister Riptide, in the 400-yard, $183,000 Zia Derby (RG2) on July 25.
Close To Crazy drew post 10 and will be ridden by Adrian Ramos in the first trial.
The 10 fastest qualifiers will meet in the November 9, $145,000-added New Mexico Cup Derby.