The striking chestnut colt by Volponi stunned his four rivals with a powerful middle move in the major local prep race for the $600,000 WinStar Derby at Sunland Park on March 16.
Under a calculated ride from Alfredo Juarez Jr., Poni Colada benefited from a fast early pace and rolled from last to first in the 1 1/16-mile event. Poni Colada gathered in his rivals at will with his long sweeping strides and took command at the quarter pole. He had plenty in reserve and increased his margin during the stretch run.
“I knew the pace was very fast, so we sat back and waited," Juarez said. "He started rolling really good down the backside. He’s a really nice horse.”
Poni Colada fought through the blustery conditions in 1:47.19. He is now a two-time stakes winner in New Mexico, having also won the Eddy County Stakes at Zia Park last November.
Robert Zollars and Mark Wagner of Dallas, Tex., own Poni Colada, who disappointed with a sixth-place finish in Oaklawn Park's Smarty Jones in his last start Jan. 21. Zollars said the WinStar Derby could be Poni Colada’s next assignment.
Wagner noted, “This win makes Poni Colada the leading offspring of the former Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Volponi.”
Poni Colada earned $60,000 for the win, doubling his lifetime earnings to more than $123,000. The 8-5 betting favorite is trained by Steve Asmussen, who has now won the Borderland four of the past seven years.
The winner paid $5.40, $3, and $2.40
Cape Time ran on to gain second place over the highly touted Santa Anita maiden winner No Jepordy.
No Jepordy raced as a close second favorite for trainer Doug O’Neill. The Storm Boot colt made a solid move around the far turn but was no threat to the winner. O”Neill is a two-time winner of the WinStar Derby in 2003 and 2005.
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