Felix F. Chavez – El Paso Times
Sunland Park based trainer Todd Fincher didn’t win Sunday’s one mile, $100,000 Riley Allison Derby, which is a prep race for the March 27 Sunland Derby.
But after a strong second place finish by a neck to Pepper Spray, Fincher has plenty to be happy about.
“Bye Bye Bobby really improved, he was more mature, he was calm before the race and he had lots of trouble around the turn,” Fincher said. “That trouble cost him five, six lengths. He ran his heart out, came from off the pace and nearly won the race. We hope he keeps moving forward.”
Bye Bye Bobby, a Kentucky-bred son of Quality Road, won his debut at Zia Park in November, then was seventh in a stakes race at Remington Park.
Fincher said the plan to run Bye Bye Bobby, who was ridden by Roimes Chirinos, in next month’s Mine That Bird Derby.
Pepper Spray ran a strong race, also edging close as the race went on and finished with a winning time of 1:37.75. He was seventh by a length at the midway point of the race before putting on the jets to hold off Bye Bye Bobby. The winning trainer was Edward Kereluk and the winning jockey was Luis Valenzuela.
Pepper Spray, who is a Kentucky-bred son of Tale of Ekati, won races at Canterbury Park and Turf Paradise prior to coming to Sunland Park.
Cocept, who was the 2-1 post time favorite, was fourth.