Two AQHA Distance Challenge Trials On Tap For Friday at The Downs, Budweiser Special Stakes Saturday
Defending AQHA Racing Distance Challenge Championship(G1) winner Zoomin Racer drew the rail post in the first of two trials for theAQHA Albuquerque Distance Challenge (G3) Friday.

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Two AQHA Distance Challenge Trials On Tap For Friday at The Downs, Budweiser Special Stakes Saturday

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—JULY 12, 2018—Friday’s nine-race program at The Downs will be headlined by two 870-yard AQHA Albuquerque Distance Challenge (G3) trials.

Zoomin Racer, a 5-year-old bay son of Jess Zoomin owned and trained by Jesus Carrete of Albuquerque, drew the rail post and will be ridden by Jansen Melancon in the first of two trials. Zoomin Racer won two 870-yard races at Albuquerque last year, and he is coming off of a second-place finish in the 870-yard, $50,000 Remington Park Distance Championship (G2) at Remington Park on June 2.

Zoomin Racer is also the defending Grade 1 AQHA Racing Distance Challenge Championship winner last fall at Prairie Meadows.

Rockin J Running Horses' Jess A Hilbily Bone, a 7-year-old son of Rock Solid Jess trained by Tammy Johnson, drew post 5 and will be ridden by Alejandro Medellin in the second heat. The homebred gelding has earned $39,482 from four outs this year, and his season resume includes a half-length victory in the 870-yard, $50,000 Pauls Valley Stakes (G3) at Remington Park on April 5.

The eight fastest qualifiers from Friday’s trials will meet in the July 29, $52,000-est. AQHA Albuquerque Distance Challenge final. The winner of this race will earn a starting berth in the November 17, $105,000 AQHA Distance Challenge Championship (G1) at Los Alamitos Racecourse near Los Angeles.

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Mt Veeder, a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding owned by William and Susan Tomasic, is the 8-5 morning-line favorite for Saturday’s 6 1/2-furlong, $55,000 Budweiser Special Stakes at Albuquerque Downs.

Mt Veeder has won eight of his 17 Thoroughbred starts, including both of his outs at Albuquerque, and he has earned $295,882. Earlier this year, the son of Ghostzapper put together a three-race winning streak that included a wire-to-wire, neck score in the 6 1/2-furlong, $100,000 Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes at Sunland Park, and a come-from-behind 1 1/2-length victory in the 870-yard, $24,000 SunRay Park Marathon Handicap at SunRay Park.

Mt Veeder drew post 7 and will be ridden by Alfredo Juarez Jr. for trainer Justin Evans. The complete lineup for the Budweiser Special, in post position order including jockey and weight assignments and morning-line odds:

  1. Oh So Regal (Enrique Garcia, 122), 3-1
  2. Pain And Misery (Daniel Vergara, 120), 5-1
  3. Blue Azul (Enrique P. Gomez, 118), 12-1
  4. Cowboy Cool (Miguel A. Perez, 119), 6-1
  5. Leadem In Ken (Elvin Gonzalez, 121), 4-1
  6. Keller’s Gold (Alfredo Sigala, 118), 12-1
  7. Mt Veeder (Alfredo Juarez Jr., 123), 8-5

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NOTES FROM THE DOWNS: Through the first seven days of the 55-day Albuquerque Downs meet, Elvin Gonzalez leads all Thoroughbred jockeys with seven wins from 29 mounts. Justin Evans and Albuquerque native Jose R. Gonzalez Jr. are tied atop the track’s Thoroughbred trainer standings with four wins each. Irving Delgado-Bustillos and Juan Pulido top Albuquerque Downs’ Quarter Horse jockey standings with three wins each. There is a four-way tie among the track’s leading Quarter Horse trainers, as Wes Giles, Jesus Carrete, Juventino Ruiz and Javier Roman Jr. have each prepped the winners of three races. . . . A total of $247,265 was wagered on Wednesday’s nine-race all-Thoroughbred program, an increase of 34 percent over the $183,907 wagered on the second Wednesday of the 2017 season, July 5. Due primarily to an increased presence on the account-wagering platform TVG, off-track handle on Wednesday’s card reached $210,878, an increase of 43 percent over the $147,351 wagered off-track on July 5, 2017. p>

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The Downs at Albuquerque Racetrack and Casino is located in the heart of Albuquerque at Expo New Mexico, the home of the New Mexico State Fair, and general admission and parking are always free (via the casino entrance at Louisiana and Central) . For more information, visit and click on the "Racing" link at the top of the homepage.