Front-running Rocky Gulch was tiring fast in Sunday's $147,200 New Mexico Cup Classic at Zia Park under his 127-pound impost, but under powerful urging from jockey Jorge Bourdieu, the 4-year-old gelding got the job done as the prohibitive favorite.
Rocky Gulch, sent off at odds of 2-5, won by three-quarters of a length over Cattleman Prospect, whose five-wide drive into the stretch under Alfredo Juarez Jr. was a bit belated. The time for the one-mile dirt event – the centerpiece of the inaugural $1.2 million New Mexico Cup card – was 1:39. Rocky Gulch spotted the runner-up 10 pounds and gave away 10 to 18 pounds to his seven opponents.
One of the best New Mexico breds ever, Rocky Gulch has now won 11 stakes ranging in distance of 4 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/16 miles. Terry Walker trains the gelded son of Dry Gulch-Rona Prospect (by Allen's Prospect) for owner/breeder Larry R. Teague.
It was the second start for Rocky Gulch, who earned $88,320 for the victory, after a five-month layoff.
He paid $2.80, $2.10 and $2.10.
Cattleman Prospect returned $2.80 and $2.10.
It was two lengths farther back to Off Shore Prospect, who paid $2.10 to show with Ricardo Jaime in the irons.
Dear Bull, Net Threat, Tietjen, Run Looker Run, and C.R. Cavalier followed.