Quindici Man outfought favored Red Lead down the stretch to win the $150,000 Zia Park Derby Dec. 5 on a sloppy track at Hobbs, N.M.
Ridden by Antonio Castanon, Quindici Man prevailed with a late surge over the sealed track after Red Lead had taken a a very slight advantage in the final sixteenth. The Southern California-based 3-year-old son of Came Home was saddled by leading Zia Park trainer Henry Dominguez for Craig Lewis and owners G R D Two.
It was the third consecutive victory for the gray/roan colt, who came into the Zia Park Derby with victories in the Pomona Derby at Fairplex and the Jack Coady Stakes on turf at Turf Paradise.
Quindici Man settled early in mid-pack in the 1 1/16-mile dirt test as Runnin Red, pressed by the 8-5 choice Red Lead, showed the way for the opening half-mile with fractions of :23.87 and :48.28. Red Lead, ridden by Mark Villa, gained a narrow edge at the quarter pole after completing six furlongs in 1:13.00.
Red Lead led in the stretch before being challenged by Quindici Man, who closed on the leader while four wide off the final turn. The pair drew away from the rest of the nine-horse field, with Quindici Man inching ahead in the final jumps. The final time was 1:46.20.
Star Redeemer, closing from last after a half-mile, took third with jockey Alejandro Medellin up, 7 3/4 lengths behind Red Lead.
“He was one of the better 2-year-olds we broke here last year, so we sent him to California,” Dominguez said of the winner. “We brought him back here for this race. We got to race for $150,000 and thought he would do well.” Quindici Man was bred in Kentucky by NATO and is out of the Valiant Nature mare Humble. A $12,000 Keeneland yearling buy in September 2007, he earned $87,300 for his fifth win in 17 starts and boosted his career total to $249,180.
Quindici Man began his career in July 2008 with a maiden win over a sloppy track at Ruidoso Downs. He was also second in the Dale Wood Stakes at Ruidoso Downs before heading to California. He ran third in Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) in June at Hollywood Park.
Red Lead came into the Zia Derby after winning a Remington Park allowance race for trainer Chris Hartman. The Red Bullet gelding also finished third in the Oklahoma Derby and fifth in Louisiana Downs’ Super Derby (gr. II).
Sent off as the second choice, Quindici Man won under equal weight of 122 pounds and paid $10.80, $4, and $3. Red Lead returned $3.40 and $2.60 and completed the $37.60 exacta. Star Redeemer, who broke in the air before making his late rally, was $3.20 to show.