Press Releases 2013

 

Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

 

Sunland Derby (Gr. III) winner Chitu named Horse of the Meet

 

Justin Evans and Ry Eikleberry win Thoroughbred Trainer and Jockey titles

 

Wes Giles and Esgar Ramirez lead Quarter Horse Trainer and Jockey standings

 

2013-14 Sunland Park season marked by record Sunland Derby (Gr. III) attendance

 

 

 

 

 

$800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) winner Chitu was named the Horse of the Meet and top three-year-old Thoroughbred for the recently concluded live racing season at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.

 

 

 

Owned by Charles and Susan Chu, Chitu won Sunland Park’s biggest race and is currently ranked 13th in the 2014 Kentucky Derby qualifier list. Bob Baffert’s talented pupil turned away Midnight Hawk to win by over 2 lengths with Martin Garcia in the saddle. Chitu is a likely starter for this year’s Run for the Roses.  Both Baffert and Garcia have won the last two Sunland Derbies (Gr. III).

 

 

 

An all-time record attendance of 18,642 fans came out to witness the 2014 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) on March 23.

 

 

 

In one of the most dominating performances in Sunland Park history, trainer Justin Evans raced away to his second straight Sunland Park Thoroughbred Training title with a racino record 93 wins from 324 starters. The Evans armada won at an astounding clip of nearly 30 per cent and took home over $1.5 million in purses. Evans won an incredible 8 stakes races during the campaign including the $100,000 Riley Allison Futurity with Rebranded.  The young conditioner saddled both Homerun Berti and African Rose to multiple stakes wins each last season. Warren’s Knockout took a thrilling win over Wine Police and Isn’t He Clever in the $75,000 Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes. Sunland’s top trainer will be sending divisions to SunRay Park, Ruidoso Downs and Arapahoe Park this summer.

 

 

 

Ry Eikleberry in turn won his second straight Sunland Park Thoroughbred jockey championship with 97 wins from 366 mounts for an impressive 27 per cent winning clip. He also won four Quarter Horses races pushing his combined tally to 101 wins. Eikleberry will take his riding talents to Canterbury Park this summer.

 

 

 

Esgar Ramirez and Wes Giles were crowned the leading Quarter Horse jockey and trainer, respectively. Ramirez is a 7-time leading jockey at Sunland Park. Giles enjoyed a particularly strong campaign 27 wins from 123 starters including two big stakes wins with the great Here Kittykittykitty.

 

 

 

Judge Lanier Racing led by Mr. Tom McKenna was the leading owner with 20 combined wins.

 

 

 

New Mexico-bred sensation Proceed had a huge meet for trainer Joel Marr. The son of Desert God romped to victory in the $85,000 Red Hedeman Mile and defeated open company in the $120,000 Mine That Bird Derby. He remains undefeated in three career starts.

 

 

 

Isn’t He Clever’s near 10-length win in the $75,000 Sunland Park Handicap was especially memorable. Mr. Wizard was outstanding winning both the $85,000 Albert Dominguez Memorial Handicap and the $85,000 NMSU Handicap.

 

 

 

Feature Mr Bojangles beat some of the best Quarter Horses in the world in the $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (Grade 1) last December. The former Paul Jones student has been retired to stud.

 

 

 

Over $19 million in purses was paid out to horsemen over the 76 day meet. Average daily purses reached a healthy $251,200.  Average daily handle for the season was $729,654, which was down 8.48% from last year. On-track support was strong as the figures nearly mirrored last year’s on-track handle.

 

 

 

Director of Racing Dustin Dix said, “We are encouraged that the on-track business was so close to the previous year, and we broke the all-time record for attendance on Sunland Derby (Gr. III) day. Our off-track support was hurt by the bad weather on the East Coast in the winter and the added racing competition on Tuesday.”

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the 2013-14 Sunland Park champions:

 

 

 

HORSE OF THE MEET and TOP 3-YEAR-OLD  – CHITU.

 

 

 

Top 3-year-old filly – AWESOME BABY.

 

 

 

Top 2-year-old colt or gelding – REBRANDED.

 

 

 

Best older mare – AFRICAN ROSE.

 

 

 

Leading Sprinter – HOMERUN BERTI and WARREN’S KNOCKOUT.

 

 

 

Best Router – ISN’T HE CLEVER.

 

 

 

Champion New Mexico-bred mare – ROSE’S DESERT and TRICKY R.

 

 

 

Champion 2-year-old New Mexico-bred – PROCEED.

 

 

 

Top 2-year-old New Mexico-bred filly – MISS B R H.

 

 

 

Best 3-year-old New Mexico-bred filly – HIGH TEST GAL.

 

 

 

Best 3-year-old New Mexico-bred colt or gelding – REAPER.

 

 

 

Champion older New Mexico-bred – MR. WIZARD.

 

 

 

Leading New Mexico-bred Sprinter – DEVONS CA CHING.

 

 

 

 

 

QUARTER HORSE OF THE MEET – FEATURE MR BOJANGLES.

 

 

 

Best 2-year-old colt or gelding – BOI GEORGE.

 

 

 

Top 3-year-old colt or gelding -  I AZOOMED YOU KNEW.

 

 

 

Top older horse – TF FEATURED EFFORT and FEATURE MR WHO.

 

 

 

Best 870 horse – FIRE ON THE FLY.

 

 

 

Top New Mexico-bred 2-year-old colt or gelding – DUNGAREES VERSION.

 

 

 

Top New Mexico-bred 2-year-old filly – WINNING MERLOT.

 

 

 

Best New Mexico-bred 3-year-old colt or gelding – TOO FLASH FOR YOU.

 

 

 

Leading Older New Mexico-bred – HERE KITTYKITTYKITTY.

 

 

 

Top New Mexico-bred 3-year-old filly – WOODYS ALLSTAR.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Boy Named Lou wins $50,000 Getaway Stakes

 

Boy Named Lou picked a lucrative time to break his maiden by unleashing a wire to wire score in the $50,000 Getaway Stakes racing 870 yards at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on closing day Tuesday.

 

 

 

The three-year-old New Mexico-bred son of Gonna Ro Sham Bo broke like a bullet under jockey Casey Lambert and relished the one turn distance. Breaking from the #1 post position, Boy Named Lou took a clear lead rounding the turn for home and opened up a 3-length cushion. Despite his odds of 14-1, the improving Quarter Horse was rolling comfortably and glided home a three-quarter length winner. Lambert rode the winner perfectly allowing the former maiden to take a breather midway through the feature. Loyal supporters of the upstart received a healthy $30.20 on a $2 win ticket.

 

 

 

Trainer Mike Joiner performed a terrific job in preparing Boy Named Lou for the distance with a series of workouts and one bumpy maiden race going 870 yards on March 16. Boy Named Lou made his seventh career start a lucky one. He earned $30,000 for owners Joe Dee Brooks, Ted Rushing and R. Lee Lewis. He sped through the stakes in a fast 44.970 seconds, good for a 95 speed index.

 

 

 

The stakes placed Thoroughbred D E Lover closed with interest in the final 100 yards but ran out of real estate. The New Mexico-bred son of So Long Birdie finished a fast closing second under jockey Miguel T. Fuentes, Jr. The runner-up trained by Tony Sedillo found his best strides in deep stretch. D E Lover completes a productive meet with 1 win, 2 second and 1 third in 6 starts. The versatile runner was second in the $85,000 Red Hedeman Mile and third in the $85,000 Pepsi Cola Handicap earlier this season.

 

 

 

The speedy Infinite Bull ran a bold third, beaten just over one length. The even money favorite was ridden by Jorge Rocha and completed a $1 trifecta worth $504.90. Executive Trust failed to muster a strong bid and finished fourth.

 

 

 

35-1 long shot Super Candy closed out the 2013-14 Sunland Park live racing season with a surprising win in the $25,000 Adios Amigos Claiming Handicap going one and one quarter miles. Jockey Dusty Shepherd rode the route lover for trainer Todd Fincher. He paid $73.40 to win. 2010 San Juan County Commissioners’ Handicap winner Tizsosexy ran a terrific race to finish second for trainer Gerald Richards. The 25-1 shot completed a $1 exacta worth $356.10.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

 

Boi George sings sweet tune in $267,651 West Texas Futurity (Grade I)

 

Isn’t He Clever takes no prisoners in $75,000 Sunland Park Handicap

 

 

 

Boi George sang a sweet tune on Sunday and won the 56th running of the $267,651 West Texas Futurity (Grade I) at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.

 

 

 

One of four runners trained by Gene Burden, Boi George turned on the jets in deep stretch to swarm a world class field of two-year-old Quarter Horse going 300 yards. Dismissed at 16-1 odds, Boi George and jockey Adrian A. Ramos accelerated past El Damazo to win the prestigious event by one half-length in a fast time of 14.873 seconds, good for a 93 speed index. The up and coming star broke from the outside #10 post position and was full of run at the wire.

 

 

 

Boi George remained unbeaten in two starts and picked up a healthy pay day of $125,796 for owners Miguel Gallegos and Mauricio Gallegos.

 

 

 

Burden said in a post-race interview, “He qualified from the outside 10 hole in the trials, so I like him coming from that post again, but you never know. There’s a bunch of good ones in that race. He drifted out a bit down the lane and almost ran on top of the track photographer. We will get him ready for the big races at Ruidoso this summer.”

 

 

 

Boi George paid $34.20 on a $2 win ticket.

 

 

 

El Damazo ran a brave race to earn second place under jockey Efrain Vigi. The runner-up trained by Jose Vargas closed with determination in the final stages. He earned $48,177 for owners Daniel Balderrama and Juan Castro. Aka Bugga for trainer Gene Burden and Jm Famous Master for trainer Jose Muela finished in a dead heat for third.

 

 

 

Cc Kachina Eagle tried her best a finished fifth, beaten less than one length. Top qualifier and 7-5 favorite First Famous Effort was bumped hard at the break and lost all chance. The son of One Famous Eagle finished seventh.

 

 

 

Isn’t He Clever enjoyed a dominant win in the $75,000 Sunland Park Handicap for local owners Kirk and Judy Robison. Enrique Portillo Gomez rode the impressive winner for trainer Henry Dominguez. The Sunland Park lover exploded past the eighth pole and crushed his opponents by nearly 10 lengths in a flawless performance.

 

 

 

The five-year-old gelded son of Smarty Jones rocketed through the 1 and 1/8 miles in near track record time of 1:47.95, just missing Govenor Charlie’s Sunland Derby stakes and track record time of 1:47.54. Dry Summer picked up momentum with a wide run to gain second place, three parts of a length in front of Ol Winedrinker Who.

 

 

 

Isn’t He Clever carries an impressive career bankroll over of over $617,000 from 9 career wins. Dominguez said in the winner’s circle, “He loved the slow pace. He relaxed nicely especially  after coming off such a fast sprint last time out. Enrique said he was on cue today. He ran an awesome race. He seems to love the racetracks in New Mexico.”

 

 

 

The 2013-14 live racing season comes to a close on Tuesday at 12:55 p.m. The $50,000 Getaway Stakes and the $25,000 Adios Amigos Claiming Handicap are the featured events.

 

 

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

 

Raider Red Wins $77,052 Copper Top Futurity for colts & geldings

 

Miss B R H wins $77,953 Copper Top Futurity for fillies

 

Alfredo Juarez, Jr. rides both Copper Top winners

 

One Lethal Blaze stays sharp in $85,000 Sunburst Stakes

 

Redneck Baptism takes $50,000 West Texas Juvenile Stakes

 

 

 

 

 

Raider Red pulled clear by 3 and ½ lengths under a virtuoso performance from jockey Alfredo Juarez, Jr. to win the $77,052 Copper Top Futurity for colts and geldings on Saturday at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino. The victory was the first part of a Juarez sweep of the Copper Top Futurities.

 

 

 

Under a thoughtful ride from Juarez, Jr., Raider Red employed a three wide stalking style in the four and one-half furlong feature as a winning strategy. Raider Red responded boldly on the far turn and swept from third to first and went on for an impressive score. Racing as the 5-2 second favorite, the two-year-old gelding by Diabolical left no doubts and won with speed in reserve in a time of 52.75 second through some very windy conditions. Raider paid $7.80 to win.

 

 

 

Trainer Todd Fincher won his fifth Copper Top title with the precocious gelding. Raider Red earned $38,526 and remains unbeaten in two starts. He is owned by Brad King and Dale Taylor.

 

 

 

Uncle Fudge closed with interest for trainer Dallas Barton to gain second. The runner-up finished a head in front of Maries H and H. The pace setting Scootin for Gold wound up fourth. The odds-on favorite Roll On Red Raider fizzled in the stretch and finished seventh.

 

 

 

Juarez, Jr. won his second Copper Top Futurity of the day with 29-1 long shot Miss B R H in the $77,953 Copper Top Futurity for fillies.

 

 

 

Legendary trainer Fred Danley had an ace up his sleeve and saddled the two-year-old New Mexico-bred daughter of Squall to a resounding upset win.  Miss B R H took the lead away from Storming Who down the back stretch and would never relinquish control through the spring. Juarez, Jr. guided the improving filly through the stretch and she opened up at will to score by 3 and ¾ lengths. She paid $60.20 to win and earned $38,976 for longtime Southwest race horse owners Tom Williams and W.T. Stradley.

 

 

 

Despite a 7-wide journey, Diabolical Dame served notice to her talent by finishing a fast closing second. The runner-up closed with energy under jockey Dusty Shepherd and finished 1 and ¼ lengths in front stable mate Storming Who and jockey Ruby Gonzalez. The $1 trifecta paid a strong $596.30.

 

 

 

One Lethal Blaze remained sharp and won the $85,000 Sunburst Stakes by a neck over 21-1 long shot Sparkling Heart. Under jockey Sergio Becerra, Jr., One Lethal Blaze finished boldly to take first prize monies of $51,000. Red hot trainer Gene Burden conditioned the winner for owner David Valdez. The winner is a three-year-old New Mexico-bred daughter of Chicks A Blazin. She was fourth in the Shue Fly Stakes last January.

 

 

 

Becerra, Jr. and Burden also combined forces to win the $50,000 West Texas Juvenile Stakes with Redneck Baptism.

 

 

 

Live racing resumes on Sunday at 12:55 p.m. The Grade 1 $267,648 West Texas Futurity (5th race) at 300 yards and the $75,000 Sunland Park Handicap (10th race) at one and one eighth miles are the featured races.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

 

Friday, April 4, 2014

 

Justin Evans placing Sunland trainer record out of sight

 

Ry Eikleberry closing in on Sunland jockey record

 

$50,000 Czaria Handicap on Saturday

 

$208,965 New Mexican Spring Futurity and $100,000 Bank of America Challenge on Sunday

 

12th annual Sports and Get Fit Expo staged on Sunday

 

 

 

With only 8 days to go in the 2013-14 Sunland Park racing season,  meteoric trainer Justin Evans is placing the track’s training record out of sight. Entering Friday’s card, Evans has 87 Thoroughbred wins from 270 starters for an unbelievable strike rate of 31 percent. His horses have amassed over $1.4 million in earnings. His nearest rival, Henry Dominguez, has 34 wins.

 

 

 

Through his torrid streak, Evans has smashed his own record for wins in the Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino era dating back to 1999. Evans won 63 races from 256 starters during the 2012-13 Sunland Park campaign.

 

 

 

Prior to last year, the most training wins at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino came in 2007 when Chris Hartman won 51 races and in 2006 with Henry Dominguez winning 50 races.

 

 

 

With these numbers in perspective, Evans is rattling though the most dominant training season ever at Sunland Park and could very well win over 100 races. He is ranked in the top 5 nationally among the leading trainers in the country for races won.

 

 

 

On the jockey side, Ry Eikleberry is also enjoyed a tremendous campaign with one of the greatest Sunland Park seasons ever. With 89 wins from 328 mounts, Eikleberry has a commanding lead in the standings and is near a record pace. Last year, Eikleberry won the 2012-13 Sunland Park riding title with 55 wins from 317 mount for a strike rate of 17 percent. This year, he is winning at a 27 percent rate. He could easily win over 100 races this meet.

 

 

 

Multiple Sunland Park riding champion Ken Tohill holds the Sunland racino record for races won during the 2004-05 meet when he won 110 races from 463 mounts. He also won 94 races in 2007 and 91 races in 2006. Eikleberry is quickly approaching some of those terrific performances.

 

 

 

The $50,000 Czaria Handicap at 6 furlongs is the Saturday feature. Warrens Venedalucy, Hard to Resist and Cottagecupcake are the high profile contenders.

 

 

 

Defending champion Feature Mr Who runs in the $100,000-added Bank of America NM Challenge on Sunday. Quemados Version is the top qualifier for the $208,965 New Mexican Spring Futurity. Post time on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Friday is 12:55 p.m. The live racing season continues through Tuesday, April 15.

 

 

 

The 12th annual Sports and Get Fit Expo will be held on Sunday at 10 a.m. in the Signature Showroom. Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams and Baseball Hall of Famer Goose Gossage are the headliners.

 

 

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

 

I Azoomed You Knew wins $159,760 West Texas Derby

 

 

 

I Azoomed You Knew won his third straight race and collected a driving win in the 51st running of the $159,760 West Texas Quarter Horse Derby at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday.

 

 

 

Trained by 2-time All American Futurity winning conditioner Juan M. Gonzalez, I Azoomed You Knew confirmed his 7-5 betting favorite status with a stellar effort. The late blooming son of Azoom poured on the pressure in the final 100 yards to push past Ms Fast First Prize and won the 400 yard feature by a neck. Ridden by All American Futurity winning rider Jaime Parga Leos, the favorite was timed in a good 19.345 seconds. He returned $4.80 to win. The 2014 West Texas Derby champion picked up a $75,087 payday for owner Carlos Soto of Tucson, Arizona.

 

 

 

I Azoomed You Knew capped off a terrific winter campaign at Sunland Park. He broke his maiden on Feb. 8 and then won his trial for the West Texas Derby on March 7. The up and coming sophomore could be a major threat at Ruidoso Downs this summer in the big derbies.

 

 

 

Ms Fast First Prize ran a very bold race under jockey Larry Gamez. The three-year-old filly by Dmnv Mountable was pressing for the lead throughout and just missed. The 12-1 long shot is trained by Wes Giles who leads the Quarter Horse trainer standings this meet. The runner-up earned $28,757 for owners Ezra Elton Lee, Jill Giles and Melvin Neugebauer.

 

 

 

Go and Get finished a close third, beaten only one-half length.

 

 

 

Live racing resumes on Sunday at 12:55 p.m. The $53,640 Red Cell New Mexico Challenge at 870 yards is the featured event. The 6th race is loaded with stars like Fire on the Fly, Storm Chasor and Whiteface Eagle.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

 

Chitu fights back to win $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III)

 

Awesome Baby cruises in $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks

 

African Rose defends title in $75,000 Harry Henson Handicap

 

Mancation takes upset win in $85,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Derby

 

Zasha wins $85,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Oaks

 

Tricky R. holds on to win $85,000 La Coneja Stakes

 

Warren’s Knockout splits rivals to win $75,000 Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes

 

 

 

Chitu generated a courageous winning performance and gave trainer Bob Baffert his third $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) crown on Sunday at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino in front of an all-time record crowd of 18,642 fans.

 

 

 

Despite being headed by stable mate Midnight Hawk, Chitu found enough energy reserves to come back and re-take the lead and win the Kentucky Derby prep race by 2 and ¼ lengths under jockey Martin Garcia. Bet down to 9-5 favoritism, the former $300,000 OBS sales graduate was primed for a big effort in the one and one-eighth mile classic.

 

 

 

Assistant Trainer Jim Barnes said after the race, “From day one, everything went well. He shipped well. With two sprints and one route under his belt, this was the race he needed. He’s getting fitter and fitter.”

 

 

 

Winning owners Charles and Susan Chu of the Tamma Corporation were ecstatic in the winner’s circle and gave all the credit to trainer Bob Baffert, jockey Martin Garcia and assistant Trainer Jim Barnes. Mr. and Mrs. Chu have been in the racing business for only two years and have owned two stakes winners in 2013 Southwest Stakes winner Super Ninetynine and now Chitu. Mrs. Chu said that Chitu’s name derives from one of the all-time greatest racehorses in China and the pronunciation is the same.

 

 

 

Chitu, runner-up in the Robert B Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita, seemed to relish the Sunland Park oval. The Henny Hughes colt pressed the pace setter Garen early and still had plenty of fight left for Midnight Hawk down the lane. He drew off handsomely and was timed in 1:47.88. The clocking just missed the track and stakes record held by Govenor Charlie of 1:47.54 from the 2013 Sunland Derby (Gr. III).  Baffert and Garcia combined forces to win last year’s Sunland Park Derby (Gr. III) with Govenor Charlie. Chitu earned $400,000 from his third career win from four starts and picked up 50 valuable qualifying points to the 2014 Kentucky Derby. He has now earned over a half million dollars.

 

 

 

Baffert’s second horse in the race Midnight Hawk looked like a winner passing the quarter mile marker when given his cue by jockey Mike Smith. The grey roan colt by Midnight Lute made a bold sweeping 3-wide move and took the lead heading into the stretch run. He battled bravely through the lane but could not conquer Chitu. The 2-1 second choice had to settle for second, finishing 4 and ¾ lengths in front of Commissioner. Midnight Hawk placed in his third straight graded stakes race. He earned a $176,000 paycheck for owners Hill ‘n’ Dale Holdings, Inc. (J.G. Sikura), Kitchen, Pegram et al. Additionally, Midnight Hawk picked up 20 more qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby, pushing his total point tally to 52.

 

 

 

Todd Pletcher’s Commissioner raced with blinkers for the first time and finished third after bobbling at the starts. He failed to muster a potent stretch attack. The A.P. Indy colt earned $96,000 for the WinStar Farm, LLC. He picked up 10 qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby. Riley Allison Futurity winner and Mine That Bird Stakes winner Rebranded finished a distant fourth for trainer Justin Evans. He picked up 5 points towards entry to the Kentucky Derby. Bourbonize, Global Strike, Garen, Tanzanite Cat and Lawly’s Goal rounded out the order of finish.

 

 

 

 

 

Under jockey Mike Smith, Awesome Baby cruised to an easy wire to wire win in the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks at one and one-sixteenth miles.

 

 

 

The overwhelming 2-5 favorite was never in any serious jeopardy and completely controlled the pace in the distaff feature. She faced some token pressure from both Lucky for You and Empress of Midway at the quarter pole, but the popular Awesome Again pulled clear once again. She completed an amazing streak for trainer Bob Baffert who has won the last four Sunland Park Oaks. Baffert has won this race 6 times in the last 8 runnings.

 

 

 

Awesome Baby was coming off big stakes wins at Santa Anita in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez and the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel. The classy filly picked up a $120,000 payday for owner Kaleem Shah, Inc.  Lucky for You and Empress of Midway finished in a dead heat for second, 3 lengths behind the winner.

 

 

 

Warren’s Knockout (8-1 odds) held off furious challenges from both Wine Police and Isn’t He Clever to take a thrilling victory in the $75,000 Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes at six and one-half furlongs. The Justin Evans trained sprinter was in between both rivals but held safe to win by a neck in a time of 1:14.41. Justin Evans continued his torrid winning ways at Sunland Park and collected his seventh stakes win of the meet. Alfredo Juarez, Jr. rode the winner. Wine Police finished a close second followed by stable mate and defending champion Isn’t He Clever.

 

 

 

Mancation earned a driving win and broke his maiden in the $85,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Derby going one mile and one-sixteenth. Owned by R.D. Hubbard, the New Mexico-bred son of Going Wild picked a lucrative time to win his first race. Irwin Rosendo placed a cool ride aboard the gelding, just holding off Desert Mystery in a driving finish. The 21-1 long shot paid $45.40 to win. Bart Hone trained the winner.

 

 

 

Zasha pulled off a mild 4-1 upset win in the $85,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Oaks with jockey John Velazquez in the saddle. Joel Marr was the winning trainer.

 

 

 

African Rose went wire to wire and successfully defended her title in the $75,000 Harry Henson Handicap. Alfredo Juarez, Jr. won his second stakes of the day aboard the 11-time winner for trainer Justin Evans.

 

 

 

Tricky R. turned away Funnyoushouldask to take a dramatic front running win in the $85,000 La Coneja Stakes at five and one furlongs. Jockey Nancy Summers rode a perfect race for a jubilant winning trainer Camie Telford. Tricky R, a multiple stakes winner of 11 races, is owned by Ruth Summers.

 

 

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

 

Baffert and Pletcher duos arrive for $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) on Sunday

 

Midnight Hawk rates 5-2 morning line favoritism

 

 

 

The 12th running of the $800,000 Sunland Derby with a field of nine promises to be the best and deepest in the history of the race. With 85 qualifying points to the 2014 Kentucky Derby on the line, the Sunland Derby (Gr. III) has attracted two of the top stables in the sport and a burgeoning local sensation.

 

Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher are sending two pairs of the three-year-olds in hopes of winning the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) and gaining 50 points towards entry to the Kentucky Derby.

 

Baffert, a 2-time winner of the Sunland Derby (Gr. III) including last year’s triumph with Govenor Charlie, is sending out both Midnight Hawk and Chitu. Midnight Hawk is a battled tested winner of the Sham Stakes (Gr III) at Santa Anita and boasts career earnings of $171,000. Co-owned by last year winning owner Mike Pegram, Midnight Hawk will be the 5-2 morning line favorite and gets clutch money rider and Hall of Famer Mike Smith in the irons. His sire Midnight Lute also threw the speedy Govenor Charlie. Chitu completes the Baffert one-two punch and carries his own impressive credentials. The fast son of Henny Hughes ran a strong second to Candy Boy in the Robert Lewis (Gr. II) Stakes at Santa Anita last month. He has won 2 times from 3 starts. 2013 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) winning rider Martin Garcia gets the call.

 

2013 Eclipse Award winning trainer Todd Pletcher returns home to saddle two runners in the Sunland Derby (Gr. III). They are two imposing Gulfstream Park products in Commissioner and Global Strike. Owned by WinStar Farm, Commissioner produced a rousing allowance win at Gulfstream Park last January and split the field in the Fountain of Youth (Gr. III). John Velazquez will ride the 7-2 second favorite. Global Strike races for the powerful Stonestreet Stables and showed great determination breaking his maiden despite stumbling at the start. The son of Smart Strike will be ridden by the nation’s leading rider Javier Castellano. Todd’s father Jake Pletcher was a leading trainer at Sunland Park back in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

 

The local sensation in the trainer category is the meteoric Justin Evans. The 32-year-old conditioner is in the midst of the most dominating year in Sunland Park history. Evans is on course to win over 100 races this meet. He is ranked nationally in the top five trainers for races won. His Sunland Derby (Gr. III) horse is Rebranded. Privately purchased for six figures by Tony Pennington, Rebranded shipped in from the East Coast and broke his maiden in the $100,000 Riley Allison Futurity and was a courageous second in the $120,000 Mine That Bird Stakes. The large son of Tiznow relishes the home course advantage.

 

Southern California training wiz Peter Miller sends in Garen for the Sunland prize. Although lightly raced, Garen carries massive potential. The son of Street Cry broke his maiden at Santa Anita in wire to wire fashion and his a half-brother to former Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Invasor.

 

Cody Autrey’s Tanzanite Cat looms large with an Oaklawn Park background having won the Smarty Jones Stakes. Subsequently, he battled on a contentious pace in the Southwest Stakes (Gr. III) before finishing fifth to the highly regarded Kentucky Derby hopeful Tapiture.

 

Kellyn Gorder’s Bourbonize helps further cement this year’s Sunland Derby (Gr. III) as the deepest and best wagering race in its 11-year history. The 2-time winner is a legitimate threat and respected at 6-1 odds in the morning line.

 

Sunland Derby (Gr. III) lineup:

 

  1. Bourbonize (Ramon Vasquez 122) 6-1.
  2. Garen (Victor Espinoza 122) 10-1.
  3. Commissioner (John Velazquez 122) 7-2.
  4. Global Strike (Javier Castellano 122) 8-1.
  5. Tanzanite Cat (Norberto Arroyo 122) 6-1.
  6. Lawly’s Goal (Irwin Rosendo 122) 20-1.
  7. Midnight Hawk (Mike Smith 122) 5-2.
  8. Rebranded (Ry Eikleberry 122) 12-1.
  9. Chitu (Martin Garcia 122) 4-1

 

 

 

 

 

Advance wagering on the Sunland Derby (Gr. III) will be available on Saturday. An entertaining “meet and greet” with the cast and crew of the Mine That Bird film “50-1” happens on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. in the Signature Showroom.

 

Join Daily Racing Form correspondent and racing authority Jay Privman on Sunday at 11 a.m. in the Signature Showroom for an informative handicapping seminar.

 

The powerful $1.4 million Sunland Derby (Gr. III) day card also showcases the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks, $75,000 Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes, $85,000 La Coneja Stakes, $75,000 Harry Henson Handicap, $85,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Oaks and $85,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Derby. Post on Sunday is 12:55 p.m. mountain daylight time.

 

 

 

 

 

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$800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) Candidates

 

The Sunland Derby (Gr. III) will be run at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Sunday, March 23, 2014. Winner receives 50 qualifying points to the 2014 Kentucky Derby. Second place earns 20 points. Third place runner gets 10 points. Fourth place takes 5 points. Advance wagering on the Sunland Derby (Gr. III) begins on Saturday. A meet and greet with the cast and crew of the new Mine The Bird movie “50-1” takes place on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. in the Signature Showroom. Daily Racing Correspondent and national racing authority Jay Privman will conduct a handicapping seminar in the Signature Showroom at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

 

 

 

REBRANDED

 

 

 

Owner: Tony Pennington.

 

Trainer: Justin Evans.

 

Lifetime Record: 6-1-2-1, $110,980.

 

 

 

Trainer Justin Evans is in the midst of the most dominating year in Sunland Park history and has ranked in the top three nationally among trainers for races won. Rebranded provides the 32-year-old conditioner his first shot at a Sunland Derby (Gr. III) crown. Privately purchased for six figures by Tony Pennington, Rebranded shipped in from the East Coast and immediately relished the southwest oval by breaking his maiden in the $100,000 Riley Allison Futurity going one mile. Although a bit green, the very large son of Tiznow showed nice finishing power and polished off a field including Lawly’s Goal and stable mate Alsono. In his second Sunland Park outing, he ran an even better race but was defeated by Proceed by 2 lengths in a thrilling Mine That Bird Derby. Rebranded was a solid second, nearly 12 lengths in front of the third place finisher. Like Proceed, Rebranded still has more to offer and will relish the 1 and 1/8 mile Sunland Derby (Gr. III) distance. He is out of the A.P. Indy mare Bayou Breeze. Evans is likely to have over 100 wins by the end of the Sunland Park meet. As a two-year-old, Rebranded ran competitively against the likes of 2014 Kentucky Derby contenders Strong Mandate and Tapiture.

 

 

 

COMMISSIONER

 

 

 

Owner: WinStar Farm, LLC.

 

Trainer: Todd Pletcher.

 

Lifetime Record: 4-2-1-0, $93,100.

 

 

 

One of the last sons of the great sire A.P. Indy, Commissioner shined at Saratoga last summer with a driving maiden win. The bay colt backed that up with a resolute closing win against allowance company at Gulfstream Park last January. Commissioner split the field in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth won by Wildcat Red. Owned by the WinStar Farm, this colt out of a Touch Gold mare would seem to have a bright future.

 

 

 

 

 

GLOBAL STRIKE

 

Owner: Stonestreet Stables, LLC.

 

Trainer: Todd Pletcher.

 

Lifetime Record: 3-1-1-1, $34,740.

 

 

 

Owned by the Stonestreet Stables, Global Strike posts an improving record of one win, one second and one third from three starts. The Smart Strike colt broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park despite stumbling at the start of a 1 and 1/8 mile race. He was able to recover quickly, control the pace and still beat his foes by daylight in wire to wire fashion. Todd Pletcher’s three-year-old still has enormous potential.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MIDNIGHT HAWK

 

Owner: Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings Inc. (J.G. Sikura), Kitchen, Pegram, et al.

 

Trainer: Bob Baffert.

 

Lifetime Record: 4-2-1-1, $171,000

 

With Bob Baffert connections and a Grade 3 stakes winning resume, Midnight Hawk could likely be the Sunland Derby (Gr. III) favorite. Although beaten in his last two spins against California Chrome and Candy Boy, Midnight Hawk still resonates class and will be tough to handle at Sunland Park. Last year’s Sunland Derby (Gr. III) and Oaks were won by offspring of Midnight Lute, so that should help this three-year-old colt by Midnight Lute as well. After breaking his maiden by 6 lengths at Betfair Hollywood Park last December, Midnight Hawk went on to win the Grade III Sham Stakes at Santa Anita. He carries excellent cruising speed and is two-turn tested. The Bob Baffert trainee has faced the best in Southern California and is owned in part by Mike Pegram who owned last year’s Sunland Derby (Gr. III) winner Govenor Charlie. Midnight Hawk finished second in the San Felipe Stakes behind California Chrome. Midnight Hawk has accumulated 36 points for entry to the Kentucky Derby.

 

 

 

 

 

BOURBONIZE

 

Owner: Bourbon Lane Stable.

 

Trainer: Kellyn Gorder.

 

Lifetime Record: 3-2-0-0, $59,058.

 

 

 

With victories at Churchill Downs and Oaklawn Park, Bourbonize certainly looks like the real deal. The three-year-old son of Tiz Wonderful was a classy 4-length winner over Sheltowee’s Boy at Hot Springs and merits serious consideration. He is two-turn tested and has an excellent trainer in Kellyn Gorder. Last time out in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes, Bourbonize was caught in traffic and had a rough journey after breaking in the wide #12 post position. The courageous sophomore still split the large field and finished sixth behind Tapiture and Strong Mandate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHITU

 

Owner: Tamma Corporation.

 

Trainer: Bob Baffert.

 

Lifetime Record: 3-2-1-0, $101,800.

 

 

 

Chitu is a very fast three-year-old son of Henny Hughes from the Bob Baffert stable. His credentials include a strong second place effort beaten only a half-length to Candy Boy in the Gr. 2 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita last February. Prior to that game effort, he won two sprints in Southern California. He is blessed with both quickness and staying power being out of the A.P. Indy mare Sea Gift. The chestnut colt would be very dangerous on the early lead in the Sunland Derby (Gr. III). Baffert won last year’s Sunland Derby (Gr. III) with Govenor Charlie and also won in 2006 with Wanna Runner.

 

 

 

 

 

TANZANITE CAT

 

Owner: James and Ywachetta Driver.

 

Trainer: Cody Autrey.

 

Lifetime Record: 4-2-0-1, $132,000.

 

 

 

A highly rated Sunland Derby (Gr. III) candidate, Tanzanite Cat is a stakes winner and has churned out wins at Oaklawn Park and the Fair Grounds. After breaking his maiden in New Orleans, the high powered son of Graeme Hall churned out a strong win in the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park. He defeated talented runners in Walt and Coastline. Subsequently, he battled on a contentious pace in the Southwest Stakes (Gr. III) before finishing fifth behind Tapiture. His stalking and pressing style will be ideal in Sunland Park’s biggest race. Trainer Cody Autrey began the Oaklawn Park meet like a house a fire and is highly regarded. Tanzanite has earned 10 qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAWLY’S GOAL

 

Owner: Mark Breen.

 

Trainer: Kevin Eikleberry.

 

Lifetime Record: 11-1-4-1, $73,526.

 

 

 

Displaying a fine record with three stakes placed efforts, Lawly’s Goal deserves a shot at the Sunland Derby (Gr. III) crown. Trained by Kevin Eikleberry, Lawly’s Goal carries an Arizona connection. As a two-year-old, he finished a fast closing second in the ATBA Sales Stakes at Turf Paradise. He shipped to Sunland Park last December and registered another solid second in the Riley Allison Futurity behind Rebranded. The Lucky Pulpit colt used his stretch running tactics to get second place honors in the Turf Paradise Derby behind Lotsa Mischief.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GAREN

 

Owner: Rockingham Ranch.

 

Trainer: Peter Miller.

 

Lifetime Record: 3-1-0-0, $37,210.

 

 

 

Fresh off a wire to wire score at Santa Anita, this son of Street Cry rates a major threat in the Sunland Derby (Gr. III). Trainer by Peter Miller, one of the leading conditioners in Southern California, Garen is maturing into a fine three-year-old. The colt has been training exceptionally well at San Luis Rey training track and merits serious consideration. The colt is a half-brother to the Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Invasor.

 

 

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

 

Mr. Wizard wins $85,000 New Mexico State University Handicap

 

 

 

Mr. Wizard romped to a comprehensive 5-length win in the $85,000 New Mexico State University Handicap at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Sunday.

 

 

 

Racing as the 2-1 favorite, the recent winner of the Albert Dominguez Memorial Handicap completely dominated  the best New Mexico-bred routers in training. Under jockey Dusty Shepherd, Mr. Wizard stalked the pace setters early and took off rounding the far turn. The multiple stakes champion slammed into the home stretch with a burst of momentum and would not be denied.

 

 

 

The five-year-old New Mexico-bred son of Premeditation sped away for his third straight win of the meet and clocked the one mile and 70 yards in 1:41.18. Winning trainer Dallas Barton indicated that his star router might take a short rest for the immediate future. Barton has perfectly directed the campaign of this champion. The winner returned $6.80 on a $2 win ticket. He secured his fourth win from his last five starts. Last fall, the distance lover won the New Mexico Classic Cup at Zia Park.

 

 

 

Mr. Wizard earned $51,000 for owners W.D. Carson, Sr, M.H. Carson and William Leach. After 30 lifetime outings, Mr. Wizard has earned nearly $400,000 from 8 career wins. He is the clear leader in this division.

 

 

 

The highly consistent On Down The Road finished up nicely to get second place under jockey Carlos Madeira and owner Lisa Rehburg of Mountain Center, California. Hush’s Storm, the 2013 New Mexico Breeders’ Derby winner, wound up third.

 

 

 

 

 

Live racing resumes on Tuesday at 12:55 p.m. The $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) is less than one week away. Sunland Park’s biggest race day happens on Sunday, March 23.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

 

Devons Ca Ching wins $85,000 Mt. Cristo Rey Handicap

 

 

 

 

 

Devons Ca Ching roared in the final furlong to take an authoritative 2 and ¼  length win in the $85,000 Mt. Cristo Rey Handicap at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday.

 

 

 

Under a very clever ride from former Sunland Park jockey champion Joe Martinez, Devons Ca Ching settled nicely off a crackling pace in the four and one-half furlong speed test for New Mexico-bred older runners.  Martinez guided the multiple stakes winner around rivals with a 4-wide advance, and the grey-roan son of Devon Lane responded boldly. Devons Ca Ching past the pace setting Agiba Yulla, and he glided home an easy winner in a time of 50.41 seconds.

 

 

 

Trained by H. Ray Ashford, Jr., Devons Ca Ching scored his 6th career win and earned a $51,000 paycheck for owner Lester Wright. Devons Ca Ching won the 2013 Roadrunner Handicap last summer at Ruidoso Downs and won the 2013 Pepsi Cola Handicap at Sunland Park. His career bankroll has swelled past $224,000. The 9-1 overlay paid a handsome $20.40 to win.

 

 

 

Thermal closed with energy to gain second place. The stretch running stakes winner found his best strides in the final stanza under jockey Aldo Arboleda.

 

 

 

Chica’s Minister suffered his first loss in five starts and finished third after racing wide. He won the New Mexico Classic Cup for three-year-olds last year at Zia Park.

 

 

 

Live racing resumes on Sunday at 12:55 p.m. The $85,000 Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap at 350 yards is the featured 5th race.  2013 Jess Burner Memorial Handicap and 2012 Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap winner Here Kittykittykitty is one of the favorites.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

 

Isn’t He Clever scores big comeback win                              

 

 

 

Isn’t He Clever regained his top form on Tuesday with a splendid comeback win against a stakes winning field at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.

 

 

 

The well decorated Sunland Park hero came back to the races following a series a sharp workouts for trainer Henry Dominguez. The 2012 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) runner-up and 2013 Bill Thomas Memorial Handicap winner made his first start since running at Del Mar last summer.  The agile son of Smarty Jones raced as the 9-5 second favorite in the $35,900 allowance going six and one half furlongs. His rivals included Budweiser and KLAQ Handicap winner Homerun Berti, Winsham Lad winner Smack Ridge and the imposing Arizona export Spanish Jazz.

 

 

 

Ridden by Enrique Portillo Gomez, Isn’t He Clever raced in tandem with Homerun Berti down the back stretch with dead aim on pace setting Chasing the Heat. Isn’t He Clever commenced a 3-wide move around the turn and rocketed to the front in upper stretch while Homerun Berti raced towards a rail opening and Chasing The Heat began to fizzle.

 

 

 

In mid-stretch, Isn’t He Clever look just like his old self and powered clear to a comprehensive 3 and ¼ length win in a time of 1:14.30, just off his own track record of 1:13.45 set during the 2013 Bill Thomas Memorial Handicap. The five-year-old gelding posted his 8th career win from 17 starts for local owners Kirk and Judy Robison. His bankroll stands at over $564,000. His career resumes also shows big wins win in the 2012 Ruidoso Thoroughbred Derby and the 2013 San Juan County Commissioner’s Handicap at SunRay Park. Isn’t He Clever should be a major threat to defend his title in the 2014 Bill Thomas Memorial Handicap to be held on Sunday, March 23 along with the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III).

 

 

 

Spanish Jazz closed with interest to gain second place followed by 6-5 favorite Homerun Berti in third. Both runners are trained by leading conditioner Justin Evans. Live racing resumes on Friday at 12:55 p.m. The $85,000 Mt. Cristo Rey Handicap is slated for Saturday. The $85,000 Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap will be run on Sunday.

 

 

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

 

Tf Featured Effort defends title in $111,450 West Texas Maturity

 

 

 

Tf Featured Effort successfully defended his title with another bravura performance in the $111,452 West Texas Maturity at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday.

 

 

 

Ridden by Raul Gutierrez, Tf Featured Effort broke fast and immediately took control of the 27th running of the West Texas Maturity. With the jet propelled start, the 2013 West Texas Maturity winner gained a confident position and led by a length midway through the 400 yard feature. With his normal closing kick, the five-year-old son of Feature Mr Jess had the high quality field at his mercy. Gutierrez simply hand rode the 2-1 favorite to a comprehensive three-quarter length over Testing the Ice. The winning time was an extremely sharp 18.924 seconds, good for 98 speed index.

 

 

 

Tf Featured Effort has relished the Sunland Park oval through the years winning 6 times from 12 starts along with 2 seconds and 2 thirds. He also won the 2012 West Texas Derby. The Louisiana-bred stallion took home a $52,382 payday for owners Heysol Howlet and Julieta Torres. He has been expertly trained by Jaime Dominguez to 7 career wins from 22 overall starts. Dominguez indicated in a post-race interview that Tf Featured Effort will be pointed toward stakes events at SunRay Park and Ruidoso Downs this spring. The multiple stakes winner now has accumulated over $283,000 in his brilliant career. The Sunland Park lover also won the KFOX Radio Handicap over Pajarita Sita last January.

 

 

 

Near 17-1 long shot Testing The Ice finished second under jockey Roberto Valero. The gelded son of Stoli chased the winner throughout and finished a neck in front of Kerrys Wave Carver.

 

 

 

One Exotic Eagle, The Devils Rainbow, James On the Run, Cjs Rocksolid, Streak Hitter, Rcj Major Storm and Feature Mr Lucky rounded out the order of finish.

 

 

 

Live racing resumes on Sunday at 12:55 p.m.

 

 

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

 

Proceed powers clear in $120,000 Mine That Bird Derby

 

 

 

Proceed pulled clear from Rebranded in deep stretch to earn a powerful 2 length victory in the $120,000 Mine That Bird Derby at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday.

 

 

 

The extremely impressive New Mexico-bred three-year-old was up to the challenge in the important local prep for the $800,000 Sunland Derby and more than confirmed his status as the 6-5 favorite. Trained by Joel Marr, Proceed remains unbeaten in three starts and passed the test of defeating open company with flying stars. The Red Hedeman Mile winner threw in a solid final quarter mile and repelled a terrific challenge from Rebranded.

 

 

 

Under jockey Alfredo Juarez, Jr., Proceed launched a sizeable bid on the second turn of the 1 and 1/16 mile race and was in front at the three quarter mile pole. The classy Desert God colt sprinted to the front in upper stretch and completely held Rebranded at bay for the final 200 yards of the feature. He completed the distance in a fast 1:42.47, very close to the track record of 1:41.09 held by Midnight Lucky.

 

 

 

A very happy winning trainer Joel Marr said, “He a very talented horse. We had hoped he could turn in to something special going a route, and that’s why we tried open company going this distance. We want to keep routing him. He moved up into an excellent position down the backstretch. Alfredo rode him great. We had no excuses either way. If he comes out of the race o.k., we hope to run him in the Sunland Derby. Sometimes, we gotta dream big.”

 

 

 

Proceed earned $72,000 for owner Michael Stinson of Ft. Worth, Texas. The stellar three-year-old remains a perfect three for three. His bankroll nearly doubled to over $142,000. He could be a major force in the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) on Sunday, March 23.

 

 

 

Riley Allison Futurity winner Rebranded ran a very bold race and closed with energy to earn second place, nearly 13 lengths in front of Ima Happy Strike. The runner-up is an imposing son of Tiznow trained by leading conditioner Justin Evans. He should also have a major say in the Sunland Derby (Gr. III).

 

 

 

2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird was on hand to lead the post parade for the 2014 Mine That Bird Derby.

 

 

 

Live racing resumes on Sunday at 12:55 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Sunday, February 16, 2014

$120,000 Mine That Bird Derby lures 10 on Saturday; Mine That Bird leads post parade

The 14th running of the $120,000 Mine That Bird Derby on Saturday at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino has lured a terrific field of 10 going one mile and one sixteenth.

Riley Allison Futurity winner Rebranded will likely command betting attention in the important local prep for the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) to be run on Sunday, March 23.

Racing for the leading trainer Justin Evans, Rebranded has blossomed in the southwest following a campaign on the East Coast.  The three-year-old bay colt by Tiznow won the Riley Allison on Dec. 22 with a powerful late kick under leading jockey Ry Eikleberry. Since that victory, Rebranded has reeled off four very impressive workouts all at five furlongs. He breaks from post position number 1.

Proceed, the dynamic 4 and ¾ length winner of the Red Hedeman Mile, is unbeaten in two route starts for trainer Joel Marr. The New Mexico-bred sensation overcame trouble on the first turn of the Red Hedeman and still drew away with a commanding performance. The distance loving Desert God colt will be ridden by Alfredo Juarez, Jr.

KHEY Country Sprint winner Alonso should be the chief pace setter. Riley Allison Futurity runner-up Lawly’s Goal is also part of the field.

Mine That Bird, 50-1 longshot winner of the 2009 Kentucky Derby, will return to Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday to lead the post parade for the 2014 Mine That Bird Derby.

Arguably the most important horse in Sunland Park racing history, Mine That Bird was shipped from Canada to Sunland Park in the spring of 2009. The graded Woodbine stakes winner would finish second in the Borderland Derby (renamed the Mine That Bird Derby) and fourth in the $800,000 Sunland Derby to Kelly Leak.

Trainer Chip Woolley trucked the gelded son of Birdstone to Churchill Downs and the rest was history. Mine That Bird became the first New Mexico-based horse to win the Kentucky Derby. Under Calvin Borel remarkable rail skimming ride, Mine That Bird past every runner in the race and won by  the widest margin in Kentucky Derby history over a muddy track.

Owned by Mark Allen and Leonard Blach, Mine That Bird went on to finish a game second to Rachel Alexandra in the 2009 Preakness and finished third to Summer Bird in the Belmont Stakes.

Racing fans are invited to get an up close and personal view of Mine That Bird as he is saddled in the paddock and comes out onto the track for the Mine That Bird Derby post parade. His story will fill the screen in the upcoming feature film “50-1” to be released next month.

Post time on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday is 12:55 p.m.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Too Flash For You wins $85,000 NMHBA Quarter Horse Stakes at 19-1

 

Overlooked at 19-1 odds, Too Flash for You won the $85,000 NMHBA Quarter Horse Stakes at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Sunday.

 

Propelled by his large frame, Too Flash for You surged powerfully in the final half of the 400 yard dash to win by a half-length in a fast 18.992 seconds, good for a 97 speed index. The Wes Giles trainee was well prepared and soundly defeated the best three-year-olds New Mexico-bred Quarter Horses in training. Despite having qualified for 4 major futurities in 2013 and racing for the leading Quarter Horse barn, Too Flash for You paid $40.20 on a $2 win ticket.

 

Under jockey Larry Gamez, Too Flash for You broke solidly in second place and was chasing 8-5 favorite Woodys Allstar in the early stages. In mid-stretch, Too Flash for You hit an other gear and swept past the early leader. The First Moonflash gelding powered on home for his first career stakes victory in 10 starts. His second career win was worth $51,000 for owners Jose R. Espinosa, Jim Laird and Michelle Laird.

 

Booyah Bay finished a good second at odds of 10-1. The runner-up was ridden by All American Futurity winner pilot Jaime Parga Leos. The son of Brookstone Bay took home $18,700 for owner James Baucom of Andrews, Texas.

 

2014 Shue Fly champion Woodys Allstar broke like a bullet and looked like a winner early but could not maintain her speed. The flashy filly came in third under jockey Salvador Martinez, beaten almost one length. Shue Fly runner-up Kia Won was no threat and finished fourth.

 

Live racing resumes on Tuesday at a new post of 12:55 p.m. which remains in effect for the rest of the season.

 

 

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 Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Friday, February 14, 2014

Record 432 nominations for $800,000 Sunland Derby(Grade III)

Future Kentucky Derby wagering Pool #2 closes Saturday

$50,000 El Diario Stakes on Saturday

$50,000 Curribot Handicap on Sunday

 

A record 432 nominations arrived for this year’s $800,000 SunlandDerby(Gr. III) to be run on Sunday, March 23.

 

The nation’s best three-year-olds are on the list with nominees from Todd Pletcher, Steve Asmusssen, Bob Baffert, William Mott, Larry Jones, D. Wayne Lukas, Doug O’Neill, Jeff Bonde, Thomas Amoss and Graham Motion. Baffert, Asmussen, O’Neill, Amoss and Bonde are former winners of the Sunland Derby (Gr. III).

 

Highly touted three-year-olds: Cairo Prince from the Kiaran McLaughlin stable, Shared Belief from Jerry Hollendorfer and Honor Code from Shug McGaughey are on the impressive list of nominees.

 

The 2014 Sunland Derby(Gr. III) will be the 12th running of the important Kentucky Derby prep race at 1 and 1/8 miles. The Sunland Derby (Gr. III) offers 50 critical points towards entry to this year’s Kentucky Derby.

 

2013 Riley Allison Futurity winner Rebranded appears on the list for trainer Justin Evans.

 

The $120,000 Mine That Bird Derby will be run on Saturday, Feb. 22 and is the chief local prep for the $800,000 SunlandDerby(Gr. III).

 

Future wagering on this year’s Kentucky Derby (Pool #2) closes on Saturday afternoon at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.

 

Those 432 early nominees to the Sunland Derby (Gr. III) will be subject to a $5,000 starting fee. Supplemental nominees due on March 1 are subject to a $10,000 starting fee.

 

Live racing resumes on Saturday at 12:15 p.m. Wine Thief and African Rose are part of a strong 1-2 punch for trainer Justin Evans in the featured $50,000 El Diario Handicap at six and one-half furlongs. Dry Summer and Smack Ridge are the headliners in Sunday’s $50,000 Curribot Handicap at one and one-sixteenth miles.

 

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SunlandParkRacetrack and Casino

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Alsono cruises to victory in $50,000 KHEY Country Sprint

Special live racing card this Thursday

 

Alsono cruised to a wire to wire victory in the $50,000 KHEY Country Sprint Stakes at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Sunday.

 

Superbly trained by leading conditioner Justin Evans, Alsono has blossomed into a terrific three-year-old sprinter. On Sunday, Alsono broke like a bullet and took no prisoners under jockey Ry Eikleberry in the 6 furlong feature. The chestnut Limehouse colt won by two lengths and was never serious threatened by runner-up My Rochester. The 4-5 favorite zipped through the distance in 1:10.49.

 

Last fall, Alsono won the Governor’s Cup atZiaPark. Since then, he has recorded a third in the Riley Allison Futurity and two subsequent wins atSunlandPark. He is an integral part of the the 1-2 punch owned by Tony Pennington who also owns Riley Allison Futurity winner Rebranded. Alsono earned $30,000 from his second career stakes win. He has 4 wins 2 seconds and 2 thirds from 9 career starts with a bankroll over $131,000.

 

MyRochesterand jockey Alfredo Juarez, Jr. finished second after chasing the winner for the entire 6 furlongs. The Lost In The Fog Juvenile winner from Turf Paradise ran a bold race to finish second in hisNew Mexicodebut. The runner-up is trained by Robertino Diodoro. Blackout finished a distant third, beaten nearly 6 lengths.

 

Eikleberry completed a great weekend atSunlandPark. The leading jockey also won Saturday’s $50,000 El Paso Times Handicap aboard Ramona’s Wildcat.

 

Alsono and Rebranded might next run in the $120,000 Mine That Bird Derby on Saturday, Feb. 22 at one mile. The feature serves as the chief local prep for the $800,000 SunlandDerby(Gr. III) to be run on Sunday, March 23.

 

 

Live racing resumes on Tuesday on 12:15 p.m. There will be a special Thursday card of live racing also starting at 12:15 p.m. Live racing cards will continue on Friday and Saturday,. There will be no live racing on Super Bowl Sunday, February 2.

 

 

 

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SunlandParkRacetrack and Casino

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Ramona’s Wildcat romps in $50,000 El Paso Times Handicap

$50,000 KHEY Country Sprint on Sunday

 

Confirming her pre-race hype, Ramona’s Wildcat romped to a comprehensive 9 and 1/2 length win in the $50,000 El Paso Times Handicap at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday.

 

With an 8 and 1/2 length debut win under her belt her atSunlandParkon December. 8. Ramona’s Wildcat was heavily supported in the three-year-old stakes race for fillies going six and one-half furlongs. The 2-5 favorite broke smartly from the rail position and withstood token pressure from both Awesome Dama and Stonesthrowaway down the backstretch. She led by only a half-length passing the half mile marker, but the daughter of Wildcat Heir still had more up the sleeve.

 

Jockey Ry Eikleberry asked for more speed, and Ramona’s Wildcat delivered a splendid run down the home stretch. The talented Louisiana-bred filly opened up at will and nearly won by double digits in a commanding performance. The winner sped through fractions of 21.63 and 44.33 seconds before stopping the clock for the distance in a fast 1:15.83. The clocking is exceptional for a three-year-old filly this time of year.

 

The unbeaten Ramona’s Wildcat earned $30,000 for owners David Wolochuk, Patrick Dale Montoya and the Blue Snow Racing Stables. Winning trainer David Wolochuk indicated that the fast sprinter might ship to Delta Downs for a rich Louisiana-bred stakes race. She has been flawless in twoSunlandParkstarts. Her victory in the El Paso Times Handicap was one of the most explosive in recent history of the race. Lucrative six-figure offers have already been made for the filly.

 

Let Her Dance showed courage in the stretch run to earn second place honors for trainer Chip Woolley. The runner-up was ridden by Jimmy Coates. Awesome Dama finished a half-length back in third place, weary from chasing Ramona’s Wildcat.

 

SunlandPark’s next big race for three-year-old fillies is the $50,000 Island Fashion Stakes on Sunday, Feb. 23 at one mile. That race is the chief local prep for the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks to be run on Sunday, March 23, the day of the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III).

 

Live racing resumes on Sunday at 12:15 p.m. The $50,000 KHEY Country Sprint is the featured 10th race at 6 furlongs. Alsono, third place finisher in the Riley Allison Futurity, is one of the high profile contenders.

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Tf Featured Effort wins $50,000 KOFX Radio Handicap

 

2012 West Texas Derby and 2013 West Texas Maturity winner Tf Featured Effort returned to his favorite racetrack on Sunday and raced to a smashing win in the $50,000 KOFX Radio Handicap at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.

 

Under jockey Raul Gutierrez, Tf Featured Effort regained his winning form with a powerful performance sparked by a good start in the 350 yards stakes event for older runners. The five-year-old son of Feature Mr Jess broke out gates without trouble and was within striking range of the lead. By mid-stretch, Gutierrez had plenty of horse under him, and Tf Featured Effort was rolling under a hand ride. He put away the fast starting Pajarita Sita with 75 yards to go and won confidently by three parts of a length. The winning time was a sharp 17.143 seconds.

 

Despite his multiple stakes winning form, Tf Featured Effort was let go at over 5-1 odds and paid $13.60. He was coming off two subpar efforts at Zia Park last fall. Winning trainer Jaime Dominguez was very pleased with his horse and indicated that Tf Featured Effort might return to defend his title in the 2014 West Texas Maturity to be held at Sunland Park on Saturday, March 1. Trials will be run on Friday, Feb. 7.

 

Tf Featured Effort earned $30,000 from his 6th career win in 20 starts. His career bankroll stands at nearly $230,000 for owners Heysol Howlet and Julieta Torres of Peyton, Colorado. The fast stallion has won 5 races from 10 starts over Sunland Park soil.

 

The fast starting Pajarita Sita broke like a bullet as usual and led early under jockey Esgar Ramirez. The daughter of Pappasito ran boldly throughout but could not hold off the winner. She finished second as the 3-1 second favorite. 21-1 long shot Mighty Famous Vic wound up third, beaten less than a length.

 

13-race Bet On Ballou finished fourth as the 2-1 favorite and completed a $1 superfecta worth a healthy $4,341.40.

 

Live racing resumes on Tuesday at 12:15 p.m.

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Reaper takes third career stakes win in $85,000 Pepsi Cola Stakes

Big day for former Sunland Derby (Gr. III) winners

Daddy Nose Best wins $125,000 Colonel Bradley Handicap (Gr. III) at the Fair Grounds

Govenor Charlie runs game second in $200,000 Strub Stakes (Gr. II) at Santa Anita

 

Under a cool ride from jockey Irwin Rosendo, Reaper gained his third career stakes win with a courageous come from behind win in the $85,000 Pepsi Cola Stakes at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.

 

Reaper returned to his favorite distance of 6 furlongs in the New Mexico-bred stakes race for three year-olds. The gelded son of Attila’s Storm was unbeaten in one-turn sprint races last year having scored lucrative wins in the Mountain Top Futurity at Ruidoso Downs and the New Mexico Classic Cup Juvenile at Zia Park.

 

In the Pepsi Cola, Reaper raced off a torrid pace set by Infinite Bull who roared through early fractions of 20.99 and 43.98 seconds for the first two calls. Rosendo found an opening for Reaper passing the quarter mile marker, and the well decorated stakes winner dove towards the rail on the inside of Infinite Bull. Reaper continued to find his best strides through the stretch and held safe at the wire to win a driving finish by a half-length. The winning 2-1 favorite paid $6.20 to win and clocked the distance in a fast 1:10.10.  Former Kentucky rider Rosendo completed a great day winning three races.

 

Reaper returned to winner’s circle following two third place finishes going one mile in both the Eddy County and the Red Hedeman Mile  Sunday’s win was sweet vindication for the leading New Mexico-bred three-year-old Thoroughbred. He has won 4 of 6 races overall for owner R.D. Hubbard of Pal Desert, California. The Pepsi Cola win was worth an impressive $51,000. Reaper has earned over a quarter million dollars in his brilliant career. Reaper is out of the fine stakes placed mare Hang Glide.

 

Zia Park maiden winner Infinite Bull ran the race of his young life under jockey Duane Sterling. The 10-1 upstarts set a ferocious pace and still held on gamely in deep stretch to finish second. The runner-up earned $18,700 for the Tucumcari Thoroughbreds. The runner-up finished one and one-half lengths in front of 5-2 second choice D E Lover. The latter ridden by Larry Gamez got away slowly and gradually moved into a contending third place position. He failed to muster a rally in deep stretch and remained in third place.

 

Dandy Don Who finished well back in fourth and completed at $1 superfecta worth $555.40.

 

Live racing resumes on Sunday at 12:15 p.m. The $50,000 KOFX Radio Handicap at 350 yards is the featured 6th race. 2012 West Texas Derby winner Tf Featured Effort and multiple stakes winner Bet on Ballou are some of the headliners.

 

Saturday afternoon was a big day for former $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) Derby winners in America. 2012 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) winner Daddy Nose Best closed from far back to win the Colonel Bradley Handicap on the turf at the Fair Grounds under jockey Rose Napravnik. Daddy Nose Best has won five of his last six races and is closing in on millionaire status for trainer Steve Asmussen.

 

The 2013 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) winner Govenor Charlie ran a terrific second in the $200,000 Strub Stakes (Gr. III) at Santa Anita Park. The son of Midnight Lute was last seen running in the 2013 Preakness last May and was well prepared by trainer Bob Baffert who won the race with stable mate Shakin It Up. The latter finished fourth to Govenor Charlie in last year’s Sunland Derby (Gr. III) and was coming off a win in the Malibu (Gr. I) at Santa Anita.

 

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Friday, January 17, 2014

$85,000 Pepsi Cola Stakes draws a stellar field on Saturday

1,000 Pepsi T-Shirts to be given away

$50,000 KFOX Radio Handicap on Sunday

 

A stellar field of 12 will run in the $85,000 Pepsi Cola Stakes on Saturday at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.

 

Mountain Top Futurity and New Mexico Classic Cup Juvenile winner Reaper looms large in the featured 10th race going six furlongs. Irwin Rosendo rides the winner of 3 races from 5 starts with earnings topping $200,000. The three-year-old son of Attila’s Storm is the 3-1 morning line favorite for trainer Todd Fincher.

 

Red Hedeman Mile runner-up D E Lover will be very tough to handle. The crack sprinter has two career wins and is listed at 5-1 odds with Miguel Perez in the irons. The well bred Some Devon deserves a look coming off a promising debut win at Sunland Park on Dec. 27.

 

1000 free Pepsi T-Shirts will be given away starting at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. Patrons can make donations to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. First post time is 12:15 p.m. for the 11 race card.

 

Sunday’s main event is the $50,000 KOFX Radio Handicap at 350 yards. An outstanding field including Bet On Ballou and Tf Featured Effort is set to compete.

 

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Saturday, January 11, 2014

High Test Gal romps in $85,000 La Senora Stakes 

 

 

High Test Gal won her second straight stakes of the meet with a devastating 4 and 1/2 length win in the $85,000 La Senora Stakes at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday.

 

The $85,000 Enchantress Stakes winner from last month retained her keen sharpness in the six furlong distaff feature for New Mexico-bred three-year-old fillies. Coming off a big win in the Enchantress going one mile at 15-1 odds, High Test Gal raced in Saturday’s sprint as the 2-1 second choice and delivered another sparkling performance.

 

With jockey Francisco Giles aboard, High Test Gal raced off a torrid pace set by That’s The Idea. Giles kept the High Octane filly about 4 lengths off the crackling tempo of 21.51 and 44.57 seconds before asking her for top run. Coming into the stretch run, High Test Gal was in full flight and inhaled That’s The Idea. The emerging star drew away at will for a highly convincing win in a time of 1:10.41. High Test Gal paid a $6.60 to win.

 

High Test Gal earned a $51,000 pay day for owner Denton Crozier of Hobbs, New Mexico. Poppy Aldavaz trains the winner of over $142,000 from 4 career wins.

 

Rollsetroll found some energetic strides in deep stretch to earn second placed under jockey Alfredo Juarez, Jr. The fast finishing daughter of Roll Hennessy Roll picked up $18,700 for owner Linda Hunter. Todd Fincher’s charge showed determination after launching a 4-wide bid on the turn.

 

Double stakes winner That’s Idea competed as the even money favorite for trainer Henry Dominguez. She looked good from the outset pouncing on the lead down the backstretch under jockey Enrique Gomez, but the Diabolical filly had nothing left for the stretch drive. The betting choice finished a distant third.

 

Live racing resumes on Sunday at 12:15 p.m.

 

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Smack Ridge goes wire to wire in $50,000 Winsham Lad Handicap

 

In a daring wire to wire performance, Smack Ridge used his impressive cruising speed to win the 38th running of the $50,000 Winsham Lad Handicap at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Sunday.

 

With a brilliant ride from Dusty Shepherd, Smack Ridge controlled the pace throughout the one mile and 70 yard feature and soundly beat the best handicap horses in the southwest including Ol Winedrinker Who.  Smack Ridge broke fast from the #1 post position in the route feature and completely controlled the pace, setting fractions of 23.91 and 47.34 seconds for the first two calls. When asked for his best by Shepherd at the quarter mile pole, Smack Ridge delivered in kind. The six-year-old bay gelding by Cactus Ridge out of the Victory Gallop mare Smack Madam maintained his sharp tempo and would not be denied.

 

The 7-1 front runner winner held off Dry Summer by three parts of a length. He clocked the distance in a fast 1:39.80 for winning trainer Simon Buechler. Smack Ridge won for the 9th time in his productive career and earned $30,000 for the Judge Lanier Racing Team led by Mr. Tom McKenna of Taiban, New Mexico. His career bankroll now exceeds $200,000. Loyal supporters of Smack Ridge received $16.60 to win despite coming off a resounding allowance win on Dec. 17.

 

Mine That Bird Derby winner Dry Summer ran a strong race in his Sunland Park return but had to accept second place honors. The son of Any Given Saturday was caught wide on both turns but still finished with a determined effort. The runner-up was ridden by Alfredo Juarez, Jr. Dry Summer campaigned at Del Mar, Santa Anita and Hollywood Park for the latter half of 2013.

 

Jaycito finished third beaten almost 5 lengths. 6-5 favorite Ol Winedrinker Who failed to muster a sufficient charge after a slow start and finished in fourth place. The well decorated stakes router was coming off two smashing stakes wins at Zia Park last fall.

 

Live racing returns on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 12:15 p.m. each day.

 

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

 

Woodys Allstar speeds away in 42nd running of the $290,656 Shue Fly

 

$50,000 Winsham Lad Handicap set for Sunday

 

 

 

 

 

Following a jet propelled start, Woodys Allstar sped away for a neck victory in the 42nd running of the $290,656 Shue Fly Stakes at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday.

 

 

 

Woodys Allstar parlayed her excellent gate skills to winning Sunland Park’s third richest race in a brilliant time of 19.067 seconds, good for a 95 speed index. Freshened by an 8 month layoff, Woodys Allstar has returned to Sunland Park this season as a racing dynamo. The New Mexico-bred daughter of Woodbridge set the fastest qualifying time for Shue Fly by winning her trial last month by nearly 2 lengths. She retained her sharpness on Saturday for trainer Mike Joiner and rider Salvador Martinez.

 

 

 

The talented three-year-old held off a strong bid from Kia Won to take home the hefty first place prize of $136,608 for owners Joe Dee Brooks, Ted Rushing and Lee R. Lewis. Woodys Allstar confirmed her 4-5 favoritism with a third career win from four starts. Her only defeat came in last spring’s New Mexican Spring Futurity when she finished third to Moonifisant. The speedy three-year-old now holds earnings in excess of $171,000.

 

 

 

Joiner and Martinez collected their second stakes wins of the meet. The duo won the Sunland Winter Quarter Horse Derby with Feature Mr Lucky.

 

 

 

Kia Won closed with interest on the outside to get second place under jockey Ricky Ramirez. The grey Ketel Won gelding showed much determination and earned $52,318 for owners Nahum Prieto and Joe Rios. Moonifisant fought valiantly from the inside and held on to third place, beaten just over a length. One Lethal Blaze finished in fourth, a nose in front of Osaka Moon.

 

 

 

 

 

Live racing resumes on Sunday at 12:15 p.m. The 38th running of the $50,000 Winsham Lad Handicap is the main event. The featured race (10th race) at one mile and 70 yards came up big starring multiple stakes winner Ol Winedrinker Who and Mine That Bird Stakes winner Dry Summer. Both horses are trained by Joel Marr. Ol Winedrinker Who is coming off two smashing stakes wins at Zia Park last fall. Dry Summer returns home after facing Grade 1 and Grade 2 stakes company on the tough Southern California circuit.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Feature Mr Bojangles wins $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (Grade I)

Mr. Wizard drives home a winner in $85,000 Albert Dominguez Memorial Handicap

 

 

2011 Rainbow Futurity winner Feature Mr Bojangles roared back into the Quarter Horse limelight with a neck win in the 13th running of the $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park on Sunday.

 

With jockey Cody Jensen in the irons, Feature Mr Bojangles broke fast from the outside #10 post position and was a major threat in the early stages of the 400 yard classic. The four-year-old stallion by Feature Mr Jess accelerated into the front in mid-stretch and continued to pour on the speed from his outside draw. The 3-1 favorite was clearly at his best this afternoon for trainer Paul Jones. Coming off two close stakes placed efforts, Feature Mr Bojangles put it all together in the Championship and regained his Grade 1 form.

 

Jensen said in a post race interview, “We had a near perfect start from a good post position, and it made for a very clean trip. This was the first time he had been on the outside, and I think he like it. He ran with every ounce of energy he had.”

 

Assistant trainer Lisa Saumell said, “This was a bittersweet victory. This race was absolutely loaded. Any horse could have won it. This is a perfect way to end his career. He’s a beautiful stallion and going to make a great stud. We want to thank Cody for coming. Cody has always been our good luck charm.”

 

Feature Mr Bojangles earned a hefty $210,000 paycheck for owners R.D. Hubbard and Heysol Howlet. Mr Hubbard won the Championship at Sunland Park in 2010 with Noconi and the 2007 edition with Ketel Won. Feature Mr Bojangles retires to stud over $952,000 in earnings from 8 career wins in 20 starts. He is out of the First Down Dash mare Catch This Dash. The impressive stallion is now in line for world champion aged stallion honors.

 

Bank of America Challenge Championship winner Feature Mr Who ran a gallant second with jockey Esgar Ramirez. The Feature Mr Jess gelding was forwardly placed throughout and ran his heart from the rail position. The runner-up earned $77,000 for Heysol Howlet and Julieta Torres. Howlet owns part of both the first and second place finishers.

 

Dm Streakn Thru Fire and Jess Cuervo finished in a dead-heat for third. Jess Featureme Quick, Hez Our Secret, Prospect to the Top, Jess Lips, Cold Cash 123 and First in Class Dbs rounded out the order of finish. Prospect to the Top and Cold Cash 123 won the 2012 and 2011 Championship at Sunland Park, respectively.

 

 

Mr Wizard closed with determination in deep stretch and gained a three quarter length win in the $85,000 Albert Dominguez Memorial Handicap going one and one-sixteenth miles. Under jockey Dusty Shepherd, the four-year-old Premeditation gelding once again showed his courage and beat the best older New Mexico-bred Thoroughbreds going a route.

 

Let go at 5-1 odds, the Dallas Barton trainee rebounded from a sub par performance in the Johnie L. Jamison Stakes on opening weekend. Mr. Wizard earned $51,000 for the victory. The 6-time winner is owned by W.D. Carson, Sr., M.H. Carson and Leach Racing LLC. He completes a tremendous 2013 with 5 wins including a score in the New Mexico Classic Cup at Zia Park. His earnings for the year are almost $300,000. Mr. Wizard paid $12.20 to win.

 

Attitude E Racer fought valiantly after setting the pace. The multiple stakes winning gelding held on to second place. The 15-1 long shot finished a half length in front of On Down the Road. That’s Who ran out of steam in the stretch drive and finished fourth as the even money favorite.

 

There will be no live racing on Tuesday, New Year’s Eve. Live racing returns on Thursday at 12:15 p.m.

 

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Feature Mr Lucky wins $132,883 Sunland Park Winter Quarter Horse Derby

Proceed dominates $85,000 Red Hedeman Mile

 

Let go at 19-1 odds, Feature Mr Lucky gained a narrow upset win in the 48th running of the $132,883 Sunland Park Winter Quarter Horse Derby on Saturday.

 

The three-year-old son of Feature Mr Jess won a tightly contested photo finish and collected the second victory of his career in the 400 yard derby. The upstart gelding broke well on the inside and avoided all the traffic and bumping to his outside. Under the talented jockey Raul Gutierrez, Feature Mr Lucky propelled through the stretch for a daring win by a nose margin. He held off furious late rallies from both Joiner runners Distant Fury and Icu Deity.

 

Winning trainer Jaime Dominguez conditions the rapidly improving Quarter Horse. The 2013 Sunland Winter Quarter Horse Derby champion took home a $62,455 paycheck for owner Jose Saul Medina. Loyal supporters of Feature Mr Lucky received $40.60 on a $2 win ticket. The last time Feature Mr Lucky had reached the winner’s circle was in a maiden $12,500 claiming race at Los Alamitos back on Dec. 14, 2012. He now has 2 wins from 9 career starts.

 

Distant Fury found his best strides in deep stretch and just missed in second place. Jockey Salvador Martinez was going for his second straight stakes win of the meet coming off a victory aboard Bye Bye Eagle Eye in Friday’s Sunland Park Winter’s Quarter Horse Futurity. Distant Fury closed with energy after bobbling at the start. The daughter of Fdd Dynasty earned $23,919 for owner Billy G. Smith and trainer Mike Joiner.

 

Icu Deity also closed boldly for the Joiner stable and finished third, beaten a short head. The second Fdd Dynasty offspring was ridden by Ricky Ramirez. Icu Deity was second in the 2013 West Texas Derby. He completed a $1 trifecta worth $1,389.10.

 

Charvet, the 5-2 post time favorite finished a well beaten sixth and was disqualified for interference and placed ninth.

 

 

Proceed remained unbeaten in two starts after scoring a sizzling 4 and 3/4 length win in the $85,000 Red Hedeman Mile. The rising star ridden by Alfredo Juarez, Jr. overcame trouble on the first turn and still had plenty left to dominate a strong group of New Mexico-bred stakes horses going one mile. Proceed angled out down the backstretch and smoothly moved into striking distance.

 

The Desert God two-year-old colt swept to the front with a quarter mile go and kicked well clear of the field in upper stretch. Coming off a near 15-length debut maiden win going one mile at Zia Park, Proceed attracted plenty of betting attention and was the 4-5 favorite. He matched the support with an impressive win over D E Lover and double stakes winner Reaper. The Joel Marr trainee sped through the distance in a sharp 1:38.10.

 

Proceed earned a $51,000 payday for owner Michael Stinson of Ft. Worth, Texas. Marr indicated that Proceed might next be targeted to the $85,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Derby on Sunday, March 23 going 1 and 1/16 miles.

 

9-2 shot D E Lover found some momentum late to earn second place under jockey Miguel Perez. Reaper finished two lengths behind in third after setting the pace.

 

 

Some of the world’s best Quarter Horses collide on Sunday for the $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (Grade 1) going 400 yards. An elite field of 10 will run including defending champion Prospect to the Top, 2011 Championship at Sunland Park winner Cold Cash 123,  2011 Rainbow Futurity winner Feature Mr Bojangles and Hez Our Secret. Sunday’s co-feature is the $85,000 Albert Dominguez Memorial Handicap at 1 and 1/16 miles.

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

 

Friday, December 27, 2013

 

Bye Bye Eagle Eye wins 48th running of the $140,583 Sunland Park Winter Quarter Horse Futurity

 

$132,883 Sunland Park Winter QH Derby and $85,000 Red Hedeman Mile on Saturday

 

$300,000 Championship at Sunland Park and $85,000 Albert Dominguez Memorial Handicap on Sunday

 

 

 

 

 

Bye Bye Eagle Eye stormed to an impressive 2 and 1/4 length win in the 48th running of the $140,583 Sunland Park Winter Quarter Horse Futurity at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Friday.

 

 

 

Under jockey Salvador Martinez, Bye Bye Eagle Eye delivered a tour de force performance in the 400 yard feature. Let go at 10-1 odds, the two-year-old colt by One Famous Eagle broke fast and poured on the pressure down the stretch. Bye Bye Eagle Eye completely dominated his nine rivals in the big money event for trainer Mike Joiner in a time of 19.229 seconds. The winner took home a $66,074 paycheck for owner Gilberto Flores. A $2 win ticket on Bye Bye Eagle Eye was worth a nice $22.80.

 

 

 

Last fall at Lone Star Park, Bye Bye Eagle Eye qualified for the Dash For Cash Futurity and finished fifth. The Sunland Park Winter Quarter Horse Futurity victory was his first career stakes win in eight starts. It appears Joiner will have a terrific three-year-old on his hands for 2014.

 

 

 

Despite blowing the start, top qualifier Rae of Fire found enough energy to close from last place and gain a dead heat for second with jockey Jaime Parga Leos in the saddle. The daughter of Walk Thru Fire made a bold move along the rail to earn a tie with Famous Edge of Glory for second place honors.

 

 

 

Cruzin, the 8-5 post time favorite, fizzled out in fifth place.

 

 

 

Live racing resumes on Saturday with $132,883 Sunland Park Winter Quarter Horse Derby (5th race) and the $85,000 Red Hedeman Mile (10th race). Post time for the terrific 11-race is 12:15 p.m. Charvet and Obamano are the leading contenders in the Winter Derby. Double stakes winner Reaper and Proceed loom large in the Red Hedeman Mile.

 

 

 

Some of the world’s best Quarter Horses collide on Sunday for the $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (Grade 1) going 400 yards. An elite field of 10 will run including defending champion Prospect to the Top, 2011 Championship at Sunland Park winner Cold Cash 123 and 2011 Rainbow Futurity winner Feature Mr Bojangles. Sunday’s co-feature is the $85,000 Albert Dominguez Memorial Handicap at 1 and 1/16 miles.

 

 

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Rebranded wins 51st running of the $104,800 Riley Allison Futurity

 

The highly regarded maiden Rebranded came through in the clutch to win the 51st running of the $104,800 Riley Allison Futurity at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Sunday.

 

The grand looking son of Tiznow shipped in from Aqueduct and seemed to like his new home in the Southwest running for leading trainer Justin Evans. Under Ry Eikleberry, Rebranded settled into stride comfortably and raced well off the pace early in the one mile event for two-year-olds. Eikleberry guided the well developed two-year-old to the outside while racing down the backstretch and advanced with ease.

 

Coming into the second turn, Rebranded took dead aim on front running stable mate and Alsono and The Tom Squad. He raced on even terms with those two passing the quarter mile marker and then took a narrow advantage in upper stretch. Rebranded prevailed in the stretch duel while drifting out near the sixteenth pole. Despite racing a bit greenly, Rebranded proved to be the real deal and slowly pulled clear to win by 2 lengths. The colt showed grit and determination and was timed in 1:38.73. He had placed in maiden special weight races at both Saratoga and the Parx earlier this year.

 

Rebranded collected a $62,880 payday for owner Tony Pennington who recently acquired the well bred sort for $150,000. The winner is out of the A.P. Indy mare Bayou Breeze.

 

Justin Evans continued his torrid winning ways by winning his third stakes race of the young meet. He has won 185 Thoroughbred races in 2013 and is in the top 10 nationally among trainers for races won. The winner paid $4.60 to win.

 

Lawly’s Goal made a bold move in mid-stretch under jockey Francisco Giles and appeared dangerous. The Turf Paradise export altered course and seemed to run out of energy. The 12-1 long shot finished second, three parts of a length in front of Alsono.

 

The Tom Squad, Cloud Harbor and Ima Happy Strike rounded out the order of finish.

 

There will be no live racing on Tuesday, Christmas Eve. Racing at Sunland Park resumes on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 12:15 p.m.

 

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SunlandPark Racetrack and Casino

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

2012-13 Live Racing Season concludes with a surge

Sunland Derby (Gr. III) winner Govenor Charlie named Horse of the Meet

 

 

The 2012-13 live racing season at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino Casino ended on Tuesday with a positive surge of business. The 76 day season generated nearly $61 million in all sources handle, which was nearly even with last year’s statistics. Considering the season presented 42 less races than last year, the current stand was actually up 3.44% on an average per race basis. Almost $55 million was bet on the popular Sunland product from off-track sources.

 

2013 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) day was a major success. A crowd of 18,184 fans came out for the all-star 12-race card. The all-sources handle of $3,820,986 set a new track and New Mexico state record for a single card.

 

Director of Racing Dustin Dix said, “We are encouraged by these numbers, especially off track. We will continue to look for ways to grow the off-track handle and revitalize the on-track handle.”

 

$800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) winner Govenor Charlie was named the Horse of the Meet and is considered a viable threat for this year’s Kentucky Derby to be run on May 4. Owner Mike Pegram is the only 2-time winner of the Sunland Derby (Gr. III). Winning trainer Bob Baffert joins Doug O’Neill as the only 2-time winning trainer of the Sunland classic. Pegram and Baffert also combined forces to win the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks with the terrific filly Midnight Lucky.

 

Hennesey Smash and Rose’s Desert enjoyed tremendous campaigns for trainer Todd Fincher. Each won two stakes races at the meet. Forest Mouse was unstoppable in the route division winning both the Winsham Lad and Sunland Park Handicaps for trainer Henry Dominguez. Isn’t He Clever won the best sprinter title following a track record setting win in the Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes. Attitude E Racer earned the top older New Mexico-bred router award for trainer Joel Marr. Trained Owen Bringhurst had two divisional champs with Lester’s Echo and Storms Surprise.

 

$350,000 Championship at Sunland Park winner Prospect to the Top was crowned the Quarter Horse of the Meet. He is owned by Joel Tavarez and trained by Brandon Muniz. Todd Fincher’s distance loving Quarter Horse Rollicking Red was the champion New Mexico-bred 870 yard runner.

 

 

Here are the 2012-13 Sunland Park champions:

 

HORSE OF THE MEET AND TOP 3-YEAR-OLD – GOVENOR CHARLIE.

 

Top 3-year-old filly – MIDNIGHT LUCKY.

 

Top 2-year-old colt or gelding – SHOW SOME MAGIC.

 

Top older mare – AFRICAN ROSE.

 

Best Sprinter – ISN’T HE CLEVER.

 

Best Router and older Horse – FOREST MOUSE.

 

Champion New Mexico-bred filly or mare – HENNESEY SMASH AND ROSE’S DESERT.

 

Top New Mexico-bred 2-year-old filly – LADY GENIUS.

 

Top New Mexico-bred 2-year-old colt or gelding – STORMS SURPRISE.

 

Best New Mexico-bred 3-year-old filly – BACK SEAT ROLL.

 

Top New Mexico-bred 3-year-old – HUSH’S STORM.

 

Champion Older New Mexico-bred – ATTITUDE E RACER.

 

Top New Mexico-bred Sprinter – LESTER’S ECHO.

 

Best Claimer – BRADIUM.

 

Most Improved – GROUSHY APADANA.

 

 

 

QUARTER HORSE OF THE MEET – PROSPECT TO THE TOP.

 

Best 2-year-old filly – WR GOLDEN EAGLE.

 

Best 2-year-old colt or gelding – WASTING NO CORONA.

 

Top 3-year-old filly – PJ CHICK IN BLACK.

 

Best 3-year-old colt or gelding – OUR FIRST CORONA.

 

Best 870 yard horse – ALL ABOUT LARRY.

 

Champion New Mexico-bred 870 yard horse – ROLLICKING RED.

 

Top New Mexico-bred 2-year-old colt or gelding – MOONIFISANT.

 

Top New Mexico-bred 2-year old filly – SLEW BY YOU.

 

 

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Justin Evans wins Sunland Park Thoroughbred Training Title

Ry Eikleberry is the leading Thoroughbred rider

Fishin For Dough takes $50,000 Getaway Stakes

 

Trainer Justin Evans continued his stranglehold on New Mexico racing and captured his first Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino Thoroughbred Trainer’s title for the 2012-13 season. The rising star won 63 races including major strikes in the Harry Henson Handicap with African Rose and the Johnie L. Jamison Stakes with Nuggets Please.

 

Evans remained red hot following championship runs at the SunRay Park, Downs at Albuquerque and Zia Park meets in 2012. He wrapped up the Sunland Park meet 20 wins in front of his nearest rival. His win strike rate was a sparkling 25 percent strengthened by a host of Southern California. The Evans stable generated nearly $1 million in earnings during the 76 day stand. Evans will send the bulk of his open stable to Lone Star Park with a New Mexico-bred contingent running at SunRay Park. He plans to defend his Sunland Park trainer’s title next season. He currently ranks as the 8th leading trainer in the country in terms of races won.

 

Jockey Ry Eikleberry turned out an outstanding Sunland Park campaign and won his first Thoroughbred rider’s title at Sunland Park. Eikleberry won a furious battle for the top spot with defending champ Miguel Hernandez. Eikleberry won 55 races from over 312 mounts. His horses earned over $1 million throughout the season.

 

Kirk and Judy Robison were the leading Thoroughbred owners for the second year in a row with 12 wins from 71 starters. Their sensational stakes star Isn’t He Clever came back to win the Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes a track record setting performance on March 24.

 

On the Quarter Horse ledger, Esgar Ramirez was the runaway leader in the Quarter Horse rider standings with 48 wins. He is a six-time leading rider at Sunland Park. Mike Joiner won the Quarter Horse trainer’s title with 20 wins. Crowson Racing was the champion Quarter Horse owner.

 

Fishin For Dough got the perfect trip and won the $50,000 Getaway Stakes at 870 yards on Tuesday. Under jockey Ricardo Jaime, Fishin for Dough won his second race at the distance and became a stakes winner for trainer Poppy Aldavaz. The son of Fishers Dash sped through the distance in 45.842 seconds. He defeated Awise Hero by a neck in a driving finish. The final stakes winner of the Sunland meet is owned by Victor Diaz of Sunland Park. New Mexico. First Ghost Blazin was unlucky third after getting pinched hard at the start.

 

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wr Golden Eagle wins $284,461 West Texas Futurity (Grade 1)

Forest Mouse conquers $75,000 Sunland Park Handicap

 

Rose Webb’s WR Golden Eagle stretched out at the wire to take a head victory in the 55th running of the $284,461 West Texas Futurity (Grade 1) at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Sunday.

 

The royally bred two-year-old daughter of One Famous Eagle broke perfectly in the finals unlike her slow start in the trials. Jockey Freddie Martinez directed her down the middle part of the track racing in second place, close behind stable mate Dynasty Edition. In deep stretch, Wr Golden Eagle hit another gear and flew home. With a strong burst of speed, the freshman filly overpowered both Anna Delovely and Dynasty Edition to break her maiden in the prestigious feature race. The 4-1 shot proved best for trainer Roy Marcom, Jr. coming off a fast closing second place in the trials.

 

Wr Golden Eagle, out of the blue chip mare Wr Red Ace (also owned by Webb), put it all together on Sunday to take the first place check of $133,697. Rose Webb is a long-time prominent race horse owner from Farmington, New Mexico. The winner was timed in a fast 14.862 seconds for the 300 yards, earning a 94 speed index. A $2 win ticket on Wr Golden Eagle paid $10.20.

 

Winning jockey Freddie Martinez said in the winner’s circle, “We knew she had a lot of talent. She made up a ton of ground in the trials, so that helped with my confidence. Today, she focused well out of the gate and had no excuses. She has a big run.”

 

Marcom trained runners finished first, second and third. Anna Delovely ran a bold ran to finish second under jockey Bonifacio Perez. The Furyofthewind filly rallied boldly on the outside but could not eclipse the winner. The runner-up earned a hefty $51,203 for owners Barbara Chase and Vanessa Barto of El Paso, Texas. Top qualifier Dynasty Edition finished a close third after leading briefly. She and jockey Roberto Valero were only beaten a half-length. The Fdd Dynasty filly earned $31,291 for the Dutch Masters III of Clinton, Mo.

 

Three Wild Dreams, Dashin Little Guy, Pouring Rain, Paint Me a Winner and Armooni B rounded out the order of finish. Hot Tottie was a late scratch at the gate. Dashin Little Guy raced as the 8-5 favorite.

 

 

Forest Mouse, the most dominant handicap horse in New Mexico, once again showed his class by strolling home a definitive winner in the 54th running of the $75,000 Sunland Park Handicap at 1 and 1/8 miles. Under leading jockey Ry Eikleberry, Forest Mouse proved 2 and 1/2 lengths better than rival Red Lead while toting 127 pounds and sped through the distance in a quick 1:49.09. The Henry Dominguez trained sensation has won now won the Winsham Lad Handicap, Zia Park Distance Championship and San Juan County Commissioner’s Handicap in less than 10 months.

 

Eikleberry said in the winner’s circle, “He settled real well, I knew the #3 horse (Red Lead) was the one to beat, so I made an early move on him. It helped that I knew I was on the best horse.”

 

The big 3-5 favorite was coming off courageous effort fifth place effort in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Stakes over the turf at Santa Anita. The five-year-old Teton Forest stallion owns 13 wins from 31 career starts. He has earned nearly $500,000 for owner Parnell Thomas of Montezuma Creek Utah.

 

The 2012-13 live racing season comes to a close on Tuesday. Post time 1 p.m.

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Dandy Don Who wins $95,125 Copper Top Futurity for colts and geldings

Lady Genius speeds away in $88,389 Copper Top Futurity for fillies

Sandys Jesse takes $85,000 Sunburst Stakes

Gi Genes wins $50,000 West Texas Juvenile

 

 

Dandy Don Who survived a sharp pace duel and emerged a driving three-quarter length winner in the $95,125 Copper Top Futurity for colts and geldings. The Todd Fincher trainee was forwardly placed in the four and one-half furlong feature for New Mexico-breds.

 

The two-year-old son of Quinton’s Gold raced in between Weeping Aly and Fonzerilli and wrestled control of the lead heading into the stretch run. Emerging from the early battle, Dandy Don Who pulled clear but had to brace for a late rally from favorite Vernissage in deep stretch. The front runner had enough reserves to hold off the fast closing 6-5 choice. The winner was clocked in 52.21 seconds and paid $7.80 on a $2 win ticket.

 

Winning owners Sam and Sammy Stevens of Lamesa, Texas took home a $47,563 paycheck. Dandy Don Who remains unbeaten in two starts. He defeated Vernissage in the trials on March 19 by a nose. The chestnut gelding has ridden expertly by jockey Aldo Arboleda in both outings.

 

Vernissage suffered a very bumpy start and was forced into closing tactics under jockey Isaias Enriquez. The Going Wild gelding fought valiantly and closed with a wide run heading into the stretch. The runner-up finished with closing interest and just ran out of real estate. He earned $19,025 for owner Gary Thompson of Odessa, Texas. Fonzerilli held third followed by Roll Out the Band a half length back in fourth. Weeping Aly finished fifth.

 

 

Trained by Dallas Barton, Lady Genius rocketed to an emphatic 8 and 3/4 length win in the $88,389 Copper Top Futurity for fillies racing four and one half furlongs. Under jockey Carlos Madeira, the daughter of Quinton’s Gold left no doubt to her superiority in the freshman New Mexico-bred division. She took the lead right out of the gate, relaxed rounding the turn, and then unleashed another powerful display of speed through the stretch run.

 

Out of the blue chip stakes producing mare Miss Einstein, Lady Genius dominated a precocious group of fillies and was clocked in a fast 51.70.

 

The winner’s check was worth $44,195 to winning owners W.D. Carson, Sr., M.H. Carson and Leach Racing LLC of Brady, Texas. Lady Genius is unbeaten in two career starts and should be a major force in futurities at Ruidoso Downs this summer. She packs a tremendous early punch loaded with brisk acceleration. 36-1 long shot Cattle Act finished a distant second, followed by Tizzy Devil in third.

 

Sandys Jesse collected her second stakes win of the meet after scoring a smart win in the $85,000 Sunburst Stakes at 350 yards. The quick starting daughter of Jesse James sped to a neck victory over Runin Sixes in the three-year-old stakes for New Mexico-bred Quarter Horses. Ridden by Tanner Thedford, Sandys Jesse picked up a $51,000 payday for owner Chin Lee. Alonso Orozco trains the multiple stakes winner. Sandys Jesse won the NMHBA Quarter Horse Stakes earlier in the meet.

 

Gi Genes outran All About Tonight by three parts of a length to win the $50,000 West Texas Juvenile at 300 yards. Freddie Martinez rode the 8-1 long shot for trainer Roy Marcom, Jr. The two-year-old Azoom colt earned $30,000 for the Nogal Racing LP of Nogal, New Mexico.

 

Live racing resumes on Sunday at 1 p.m. The 55th running of the $284,461 West Texas Futurity (5th race) at 300 yards and the 54th running of the $75,000 Sunland Park Handicap (10th race) at 1 and 1/8 miles are the main events. Dynasty Edition was the top qualifier for the West Texas Futurity. Winsham Lad Handicap winner Forest Mouse looms large in the Sunland Park Handicap.

 

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Moonifisant is brilliant in $231,438 New Mexican Spring Futurity

Feature Mr Who wins $107,370 Bank of America NM Challenge

The unbeaten Moonifisant scored a brilliant win in the $231,438 New Mexican Spring Futurity at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Sunday. The half-brother to the champion First Moonflash continues to raise eyebrows after racing to a half length win in the rich 300 yard feature for New Mexico-bred two-year-olds.

Racing for the talented trainer Juan M. Gonzalez, Moonifisant roared through the distance in a fast 14.706 seconds, good for a 99 speed index. The 9-5 favorite produced a late surge to pull clear of 16-1 long shot Threedeewoodee in the final yards.  The brown colt is a perfect three for three this season at Sunland Park. Gonzalez owns three wins in the New Mexican Spring Futurity. Jockey Jaime Parga Leos rode the winner who returned a generous $5.80 to win. He was the top qualifier.

Gonzalez indicated that Moonifisant would be pointed to the Mountain Top and All American Futurities at Ruidoso Downs this summer. Gonzalez won the All American Futurity in 2003 with By By J J.

Moonifisant earned $108,775 for owners Peter Gallegos, Robert Sanchez and Patricia Gonzalez of Alcade, New Mexico.

Threedeewoodee outran his long odds to earn second place under jockey Manuel Gutierrez. The Dick Powell trainee broke alertly and tried to give Moonifisant a tough time midway through the race. The runner-up earned $41,658 for owner Gary Thompson of Odessa, Texas. Woodys Allstar finished third, beaten nearly 2 lengths with G.R. Carter in the saddle. The Woodbridge filly is trained by Mike Joiner. Spice Swissle was a nose back in fourth place.

Feature Mr Who rocketed to a mild upset win over Jess Featureme Quick in the $107,370 Bank of America New Mexico Challenge (Grade 2) at 440 yards.  The four-year-old son of Feature Mr. Jess may have run the second fastest 440 yards of all time. He was timed in an outstanding 20.462 seconds, good for 108 speed index. The world and track record for 440 yards is held by First Moonflash in 20.274 seconds.

Under jockey Esgar Ramirez, Feature Mr Who earned his first career stakes win and earned an automatic berth Challenge Championship final at Los Alamitos this fall. The second favorite at 4-1 odds reversed the order of finish from the trials when Jess Featureme Quick won by three-parts of a length. On Sunday, Feature Mr. Who was much the best as a daylight winner for owner-trainer Jaime Dominguez of Peyton, Colorado. The winner’s check was worth $49,394.

Jess Featureme Quick found his best strides too late and had to settle for second place under jockey Jesse Levario. The 2012 Championship at Sunland Park runner-up raced as the 3-5 favorite for trainer Paul Jones. Wdc Wendys Wine was third, beaten 2 lengths.

Live racing resumes on Tuesday at 1 p.m.

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