The Derby was one of seven stakes in the Land of Enchantment Day program to total purses of $900,000, one race coming after Three Chimneys Farm’s local filly Bella Runner won the $250,000 Zia Park Oaks for trainer Steve Asmussen and Santana.
Santana picked up both sides after Florent Giroud opted not to travel from Kentucky to New Mexico after spraining his ankle at Churchill Downs in Saturday’s crash, according to the Daily Racing Form. He won the third stakes on the day he was originally scheduled to be ridden by Geroux.
Perfect Flight, his uncle Mo’s 3-year-old colt bred in Kentucky by Siena Farms, was winning his first stakes and third overall from nine starts. He was coming off third at Santa Anita on grass in the Grade 2 Twilight Derby. In August, he finished second in the G3 La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar.
In the Zia Park Derby, Santana was content to settle Perfect Flight at the back of the field as stablemate Apprehend showed the way under pressure from Great Escape. Moved three furlongs into the far turn, took the lead at the top of the stretch, then pulled away to win by 2 3/4 lengths. Capture was in second place, half a length ahead of Great Escape, with Bye Bye Bobby, Senate and I Think Here completing the order of finish.
Perfect Flight ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:42.31 and paid $11.40 to win.
Bella Runner’s Oaks victory was more of a front-running victory, with Gun Runner putting pressure on the American Coalmaker from the start. She controlled the turn to come home and drew back to win by four lengths. Kirstenbosch, a Californian invader trained by John Sadler, finished as the second best 9-10 ahead of Corinna Corinna. Hits Brasserie, Cleopatras in Charge, and American Colliery around the field.
Bella Runner paid $4.40 as a second betting option and ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.13. The win was the first stakes victory for Bella Runner, who is now 2 out of 7.
In other races:
— Todd Fincher gave jockey Alfred Juarez Jr. his Nyquist Filly Flying Connection foot to win the $75,000 Zia Park Princess prize.
Asmussen and Santana teamed up to win the $75,000 Zia Park Juvenile with Good Magic Colt How He Did It.
– Peter Miller won the second race of the day with Samurai Charm (by First Samurai) taking home the $75,000 Zia Park Distaff under Luis Fuentes.
– One competitive idea won the home team a win in the $75,000 Zia Park Sprint for local trainer Dick Cappellucci and jockey Alfred Juarez Jr.
—Sui Tapatio, running the final race at the Century Mile, won the $75,000 Zia Park Championship Stakes for trainer Robertino Deodoro and Orlando Mojica.