McKenna’s Justice, a 17-1 longshot, rallied in the stretch to catch Red Lead at the wire for a nose victory in the $217,000 Zia Park Distance Championship at Zia Park in New Mexico Dec. 4.
Ridden by Miguel Hernandez in the 1 1/8-mile race, McKenna’s Justice broke on top but then was settled into fifth in the eight-horse field. Rated from the outside, the 4-year-old son of Medaglia d'Oro made his bid while five wide on the second turn. Despite lugging in during his stretch rally, the colt raced on gamely for the win.
Imco Spirit, the moderate 5-2 favorite, showed early speed and was the leader after a half-mile had been completed in :49.77 but was unable to sustain his effort in the last quarter-mile before finishing sixth.
McKenna’s Justice completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.56 and returned $36.60, $9.40, and $7.00. Red Lead was worth $9.20 and $4.80 for the place, with Vamoose paying $5.80 in third.
The victory was the fourth in 24 starts for McKenna’s Justice, who has earned $233,147. The Distance Championship avenged a fourth-place finish by McKenna’s Justice in the Nov. 5 Veteran Handicap at Zia Park in which Vamoose defeated Imco Spirit, Red Lead, and McKenna’s Justice, in that order.
Trained by Justin Evans for Judge Lanier Racing, the winner was bred in Kentucky by McKenna Thoroughbreds.