Press Releases

Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino Press Release

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Current Press Releases

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Govenor Charlie steamrolls $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) field

Midnight Lucky is a star in $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks

Isn’t He Clever rockets to new track record in $75,000 Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes

Back Seat Roll dominates in $85,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Oaks

Govenor Charlie steamrolled his rivals by 5 lengths in a dominating track record setting performance in the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) on Sunday and earned 50 qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby.

His performance was an exclamation point for owner Mike Pegram and trainer Bob Baffert who also dominated the $200,000 Sunland Parks Oaks with the exquisite filly Midnight Lucky.

Govenor Charlie, the second of two Midnight Lute offspring to showcase immense talent at Sunland Park on Sunday was well bet down to 6-5 favoritism and delivered a commanding performance. Under jockey Martin Garcia, Govenor Charlie was well placed down the backstretch of the 1 and 1/8 mile Grade 3 Kentucky Derb prep race. The colt gathered up momentum and took the lead at the three eighths pole.

When challenged at the top of the stretch by long shot Show Some Magic, Govenor Charlie responded eagerly for Garcia and shot clear. Garcia said, “Bob told me to ride with confidence. We were on the front and I felt like I had a lot of horse. He can wait on company sometimes, but at the top of the stretch he just took off and exploded.”

The promising three-year-old rumbled through the stretch and set a new course and stakes record for the distance in a fast 1:47.54, besting the former mark held by Winsham Lad of 1:48.20 held since 1961. Garcia added, “I feel he is a special horse. In only his second race going a distance, he beat good ones. Just look at how he did it.”

Pegram became the first owner to win two Sunland Derbies (Gr. III). He won the 2006 edition (formerly the WinStar Derby with Wanna Runner. The victory was worth $400,000 and virtual ticket to the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. The winner’s check was a cool $400,000, not a bad payday for the sophomore’s second career win.

The popular runner was coming off a Santa Anita maiden win on Feb. 17.

Pegram said in a post race interview, “It’s a pretty good day. He has been training real good. He broke out, battled and had something left at the end. We didn’t figure the extra eighth of a mile would be an issue. He is getting better with each race. Martin told him to go, and he went.”

Riley Allison Futurity winner Show Some Magic ran a gallant race at 26-1 odds for local owners Kirk and Judy Robison. The Henry Dominguez trainee made a bold move on the far turn and was threatening the winner. Under jockey Luis Contreras, the Any Given Saturday colt ran well but could not stay with the winner. He earned $176,000 and 20 qualifying points the 2013 Kentucky Derby.

The Distorted Humor colt Abraham vied on the inside for command under jockey John Velazquez. The Todd Pletcher trained student fought valiantly but ended up a distant third, beaten over 8 lengths.

San Vicente Stakes (Gr. 2) winner Shakin It Up came in fourth for Baffert and owners Pegram and Cardoza. The Midnight Lute colt tried his best but could not muster his usual stretch kick.

Midnight Lucky scored a dynamic track record setting win in the $200,000 Sunland Oaks. She scored a 6-length win under jockey Rafael Bejarano and trainer Bob Baffert. The budding star is owned by Watson, Pegram and Weitman.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Friday, March 22, 2013

Dynasty Edition sets top time in West Texas Futurity trials

John Stinebaugh’s superior filly Dynasty Edition is the top qualifier for the $284,130 West Texas Futurity (Grade 1) from 10 trials held at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Friday.

The FDD Dynasty filly roared to victory in the 9th trial under jockey Roberto Valero and clocked the 300 yards in a fast 14.887 second. The precocious 2-year-old is owned by Dutch Masters III of Clinton, Mo. Stinebaugh will hold a strong hand in the finale because he qualified three other runners with Anna Delovely, Wr Golden Eagle and Dream Ride.

The finale to the 55th running of the West Texas Futurity will be run on Sunday, April 14.

Here is the list of qualifiers: Dynasty Edition, 14.887; Dashin Little Guy, 14.919; Anna Delovely, 14.953; Paint Me A Winner, 14.987; Hot Tottie, 15.012; Wr Golden Eagle, 15.036; Pouring Rain, 15.047; Three Wild Dreams, 15.057, Armooni B, 15.062 and Dream Ride, 15.087.

Live racing resumes on Saturday at 1 p.m.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Shakin It Up made 5-2 morning line favorite for $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) on Sunday, March 24

In just ten runnings, the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) has sparked some major events in the world of Thoroughbred horse racing and rates as a prized jewel for Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino. Sunland Park’s biggest race was the springboard to greatness for Mine That Bird who went on to score a monumental 50-1 upset win in the 2009 Kentucky Derby and place in both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. A major motion picture entitled “50-1” has been filmed to chronicle the Mine That Bird underdog story. 2005 winner Thor’s Echo was a bright light for Sunland Park in 2006 when the Doug O’Neill trained speed merchant won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint and the Eclipse Award that year for top sprinter.

In 2012, Sunland Derby (Gr. III) day sparked record handle and attendance figures. An all-sources handle of nearly $3.6 million wagered on the 13-race card, besting the former Sunland record by over a half million dollars. The handle was the most ever bet in one card in New Mexico racing history. Also, an all-time Sunland Park record crowd of 18,384 fans came out for the big day.

With 85 total qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby on the line, this year’s $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) appears to be a crucial part of the “Road to the Kentucky Derby.” The 2013 winner of the Sunland Derby (Gr. III) earns 50 qualifying points and a virtual berth in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby. Even the runner-up will receive an important 20 points, followed by 10 for third and 5 for fourth place. Interest in the Sunland classic has been keen from coast to coast.

Nationally renowed trainers Bob Baffert, Todd Pletcher, Jeff Bonde and Doug O’Neill are bringing in talent to run in the Sunland Derby (Gr. III) on Sunday, March 24.

Shakin It Up, a classy son of Midnight Lute, is the 5-2 morning line favorite for trainer Bob Baffert and owners Mike Pegram and Dennis Cardoza. The hard charging stretch runner defeated Treasury Bill in a thrilling San Vicente Stakes (Gr. 2) at Santa Anita on Feb. 17. Shakin It Up is battle tested and packs a terrific stretch kick. He should love the 9 furlong distance of the Sunland Derby (Gr. III). Pegram and Baffert joined forces to direct Kentucky Derby winner Real Quiet and Breeders’ Cup champion Midnight Lute, so it could be all in the family for Shakin It Up. Baffert and Pegram won the 2006 WinStar Derby with Wanna Runner. Shakin It Up will have David Flores in the saddle. Santa Anita maiden winner Govenor Charlie (6-1) is another Baffert candidate for the Sunland Derby (Gr. III). His jockey is Martin Garcia.

WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stables’ Abraham races for the barn of Todd Pletcher. The 4-1 second choice has a series of common denominators to the 2010 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) winner Endorsement. Both horses are owned by the WinStar Farm and are by the extraordinary stallion Distorted Humor. Abraham is distance tested having won a maiden event at Gulfstream Park going 1 and 1/8 miles on Feb. 16. Loaded with potential, he could be deadly in the Sunland Derby (Gr. III) Pletcher is a multiple Eclipse Award winner trainer. His father, J.J. Pletcher was a leading trainer at Sunland Park in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Doug O’Neill, the 2012 Kentucky Derby winning trainer, ships in Mud Flats (6-1) for the Sunland Derby (Gr. III). O’Neill won the 2003 and 2005 WinStar Derbies with Excessivepleasure and Thor’s Echo, respectively. 2011 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) winning trainer Jeff Bonde returns with Saint Prado (8-1).

Famed southwestern trainer Joel Marr has the local powerhouse in Dry Summer (5-1). The Mine That Bird Derby winner holds the home field advantage with two wins over the Sunland oval. Marr trained the fabled New Mexico-bred legend Peppers Pride to a perfect 19 win career.

Don’t forget to join Daily Racing Form authority Jay Privman for a free Sunland Derby (Gr. III) handicapping seminar in the Signature Showroom starting at 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 24. Privman has been the national correspondent for the Daily Racing Form since 1998 and co-authors the popular Derby Watch top 20 list. He also does television work for the NBC Sports Network at all three Triple Crown races. The Sunland Park undercard includes such terrific races as the $200,000 Sunland Oaks, the $75,000 Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes and the $75,000 Harry Henson Handicap. Post time on Sunday for the 12-race all-Thoroughbred race is 1 p.m. The $1.4 million card features 7 stakes races including the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks.

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$800,000 SUNLAND DERBY (Gr. III) to be run on Sunday, March 24.

Winner receives 50 qualifying points to the 2013 Kentucky Derby. Second place earns 20 points. Third place gets 10 points and fourth place receives 5 points.

SHAKIN IT UP

Owner: Mike Pegram and Dennis Cardoza.

Trainer: Bob Baffert.

Lifetime Record: 4-2-1-1, $139,600.

This classy son of Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Midnite Lute will receive plenty of support at the mutuel windows. Trained by Bob Baffert and owned by Mike Pegram and Dennis Cardoza, Shakin It Up hails from one of the most successful owner-trainer tandems in racing history. Baffert and Pegram combined forces to win the 1998 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Real Quiet and came within a nose of winning the Belmont Stakes. Shakin It Up presents an attractive form line with 2 wins from 4 starts including a triumph in the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes over Treasury Bill at Santa Anita on Feb. 17. He was also a fast closing third in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue last winter. The battle tested colt is a patient sort and packs a tremendous stretch wallop. He should love the 9 furlong distance of the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III). Pegram and Baffert were also the forces behind the phenomenal Midnute Lute, so it could be all in the family for Shakin It Up. Baffert and Pegram won the 2006 WinStar Derby with Wanna Runner.

GOVENOR CHARLIE

Owner: Mike Pegram

Trainer: Bob Baffert.

Lifetime Record: 2-1-0-0, $44,800.

Govenor Charlie is another gutsy son of Midnight Lute from the Bob Baffert stable. The colt showed display heart and stamina fending off Footbride in a hotly contest Santa Anita maiden route on Feb. 17. He packs plenty of cruising speed and staying power. Govenor Charlie will be heard from in the Sunland Derby (Gr. III).

DRY SUMMER

Owner: Sam Britt and Michael House.

Trainer: Joel Marr.

Lifetime Record: 8-4-0-0, $205,680.

Dry Summer is the leading local contender for the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) off two scintillating route wins. His most recent score came in the $120,000 Mine That Bird Derby going 1 and 1/16 miles. He drafted off a slow early pace and jetted home with authority holding his rivals at bay. He has defeated Riley Allison Futurity winner Show Some Magic and Stormdriver in his last two triumphs. The son of Any Given Saturday has thrived under the care of Joel Marr, who trained the unbeaten New Mexico-bred sensation Peppers Pride. As a two-year-old, Dry Summer exhibited an affinity for the turf winning the Oak Tree Juvenile at Del Mar. He has won 4 of 8 races and collected earnings of $205,680. Dry Summer gains the home course advantage in Sunland Park’s biggest race.

ABRAHAM

Owner: WinStar Farm LLC and Twin Creeks Racing Stables, LLC.

Trainer: Todd Pletcher.

Lifetime Record: 2-1-1-0, $34,070.

Coming off a testing 1 and 1/8 mile maiden win at Gulfstream Park, this Distorted Humor colt has unlimited potential. He hails from the same barn that brought us 2010 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) winner Endorsement. Multiple Eclipse Award winning trainer Todd Pletcher is his conditioner. The well bred colt certainly has a bright future.

JUST WIN BABY

Owner: Greg Norman.

Trainer: Oscar Garcia.

Lifetime Record: 2-1-0-0, $33,850.

After scoring a rousing 2 and 1/2 length come from behind $56,000 maiden win at Santa Anita on Feb. 28, Just Win Baby was immediately pointed to the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III). The fast closing three-year-old should relish the 1 and 1/8 mile distance having won at just under at that distance in Southern California. This sophomore is just beginning to realize his potential.

SHOW SOME MAGIC

Owner: Kirk and Judy Robison.

Trainer: Henry Dominguez.

Lifetime Record: 10-2-3-1, $192,890.

The 2012 Riley Allison Futurity winner obviously has an affinity for the Sunland Park Racetrack. His owners, Kirk and Judy Robison, have been the leading Thoroughbred owners for the last two seasons. Trainer Henry Dominguez won this race in 2007 with Song of Navarone and is annually considered one of New Mexico’s finest conditioners. Show Some Magic was well traveled as a two-year-old running in the Grade 2 Hopeful and the Grade 3 Delta Jackpot. The well bred son of Any Given Saturday finished second to nemesis Dry Summer in the recent Mine That Bird Derby at Sunland Park. He holds a six figure bankroll of over $192,000.

STORMDRIVER

Owner: Mark Breen.

Trainer: Kevin Eikleberry.

Lifetime Record: 7-1-2-2, $55,997.

Stormdriver is a hard trying son of Discreet Cat has placed in three prestigious stakes races. Trained Kevin Eikleberry saddled his charge to a solid second place finish in the Riley Allison Futurity to Show Some Magic and a good third in the Mine That Bird Derby behind Dry Summer. Leading Sunland Park jockey Ry Eikleberry will be riding for his father Kevin.

MUD FLATS

Owner: Little Red Feather Racing, Pike Place Racing and David Ingordo.

Trainer: Doug O’Neill.

Lifetime Record: 5-1-0-1, $52,234

Trainer Doug O’Neill has won this race twice in 2003 and 2005 with Excessivepleasure and Thor’s Echo when it was named the WinStar Derby. O’Neill won the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness with I’ll Have Another. He also trained the great stakes star Lava Man.

SAINT PRADO

Owner: Jeff Bonde and Phil Lebherz.

Trainer: Jeff Bonde.

Lifetime Record: 3-1-1-1, $45.300

Following a promising third in the Lost in the Fog Stakes at Golden Gate, Saint Prado scored an authoritative maiden win going 7 furlongs at Santa Anita last month. The Kitten’s Joy colt is trained Jeff Bonde who saddled Twice the Appeal to victory in the 2011 Sunland Derby (Gr. III). Top flight Southern California rider Edwin Maldonado is his jockey.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Heavy hitters arriving for $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks

The $200,000 Sunland Parks Oaks to be run on Sunland Derby (Gr. III) day (March 24) has lured in plenty of heavy hitters from across the nation.

This year’s winner of the Sunland Park Oaks earns 50 qualifying points for entry to the Kentucky Oaks. The race for three-year-old fillies going one and one-sixteenth miles should have plenty of marquee value.

Midnight Lucky, a smashing 7 length debut winner at Santa Anita on Feb. 17, might receive the most attention coming from the Bob Baffert stable. The grey roan filly by former Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Midnight Lute scorched through six and one-half furlongs in 1:15.25, and she raised more than a few eyebrows. She earned an impressive 100 Beyer figure. Since her debut win, Midnight Lucky has recorded two workouts including a 58.2 second drill going 5 furlongs on March 6 at Santa Anita. Baffert has absolutely dominated this race having won the 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2012 Sunland Park Oaks with Tough Tiz’s Sis, Gabby’s Golden Gal, Plum Pretty and Princess Arabella. Plum Pretty went on to win the 2011 Kentucky Oaks.

Trainer Jeff Bonde plans to send Unusual Way for the Oaks coming off a solid winter campaign in Southern California. Unusual Way is a courageous daughter of Latent Heat with 3 wins and 2 seconds on her resume. In her last 4 races, the California-bred collected 2 stakes wins and was second in both the California Breeders’ Championship and Soviet Problem Stakes. She is a first class race horse with over $240,000 in the bank. Unusual Way hails from similar connections to 2011 Sunland Derby winner Twice The Appeal who was co-owned by Edward J. Brown and trained by Jeff Bonde.

Countess Curlin is riding a 3-race win streak into the Sunland Oaks for trainer Steve Asmussen. The elegant daughter of Curlin powered her way through extremely dusty conditions to win the Island Fashion Stakes by an expanding 4 lengths. Relishing the local conditions, Countess Curlin rates a major player in the Sunland Oaks and also loves the 2-turn one and one-sixteenth mile distance. The powerful finishing filly has won her last 3 races going one mile. Owned by the Stonestreet Stables, Countess Curlin may have just scratched the surface of her potential.

Todd Pletcher’s Majestic River deserves some serious consideration coming off two nice races at Gulfstream Park. The A.P. Indy filly won at first asking going one mile on Jan. 11. She pulled clear easily to win her debut after pressing the pace. In her second career start over a sloppy track, she finished a close second beaten three parts of a length in an allowance race.

Canticle (Chris Hartman), Shesatopattraction (Henry Dominguez) and Infinitely (Joel Mart) are also possible starters in a deep Sunland Park Oaks.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Attitude E Racer wins $85,000 New Mexico State University Handicap

Under a cool ride from jockey Ken Tohill, Attitude E Racer won the $85,000 New Mexico State University Handicap with a determined effort on Sunday at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Sunday.

Forwardly placed throughout, Attitude E Racer forced the pace early with Groushy Apadana and ran through some terrific head winds down the backstretch of the one mile and 70 yard feature. The tough gelding still had plenty left in the tank for a stirring stretch run. The multiple stakes winning son of Desert God turned in another top level performance. Coming off the far turn, Attitude E Racer found a second gear and moved a half-length in front of Groushy Apadana.

Although narrowly in front, Attitude E Racer seemed to gain confidence and was rolling in mid-stretch. The 7-2 second favorite trained by Joel Marr fought off spirited rallies from both Mr. Wizard and On Down the Road to win by a neck. The winning time was 1:42.57. He paid $9.20 to win. The 2011 New Mexico Breeders’ Derby winner collected his fifth win from 19 starts and earned $51,000 for owner Michael Stinson of Ft. Worth, Texas. Attitude E Racer has a bankroll nearing $350,000. He is out of the mare Energywithattitude who also produced the multiple stakes winner Fullofenergy.

Mr. Wizard, a long shot at 19-1 odds, ran the race of his life to place in a stakes race. The son of Premeditation was coming off two straight allowance wins at the meet. He closed resolutely along the rail with jockey Dusty Shepherd in the irons.

On Down The Road had his 3-race winning streak snapped on Sunday. The Albert Dominguez Memorial Handicap winner trained by Joel Marr trainee went off at even money. He rallied in the final furlong under Carlos Madeira but had to settle for third, beaten less than a length. The favorite completed a $1 trifecta worth $217.90.

E.T. Springer winner Groushy Apadana outran his 27-1 odds to finish a good fourth. The former $5,000 claimer is one of the most improved horses in New Mexico.

Live racing resumes on Tuesday at 1 p.m. The $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) is coming up on Sunday. The 12-race all-Thoroughbred card features 7 stakes races and over $1.4 million in purses.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Friday, March 15, 2013

Moonifisant remains unbeaten, top qualifier for $231,306 New Mexican Spring Futurity

On Down the Road looms large in $85,000 NMSU Handicap on Sunday

Moonifisant rumbled to a 3-length trial win and set the top qualifying time for the $231,306 New Mexican Spring Futurity at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Friday. The half-brother to 2-time Championship at Sunland Park winner First Moonflash was devastating winning the final 300 yard trial in a time of 15.007 seconds with no wind blowing.

The Sixes Royal gelding is unbeaten in two starts for owners Peter Gallegos, Robert Sanchez and Patricia Gonzalez. The New Mexico-bred two-year-old looks like a horse with a big future under the care of Juan M. Gonzalez. He should be the favorite for the rich finale to be run on Sunday, April 7.

Here is the list of qualifiers: Moonifisant, 15.007; Woodys Allstar, 15.039; Jess Sandy Jr, 15.084; Threedeewoodee, 15.10; Queen But A King, 15.101; Call Me Blazin, 15.176; Too Flash for You, 15.179; Unseen Version, 15.188; Patrick James, 15.254 and Spiced Swissie, 15.261.

Live racing resumes on Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. Sunday’s featured 10th race is the $85,000 New Mexico State University Handicap at one mile and 70 yards. Lisa Rehburg’s On Down the Road seeks his fourth straight win. He won the Albert Dominguez Handicap last December for trainer Joel Marr.

The $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) is only one week away to be run on Sunday, March 24. An all-Thoroughbred 12-race card worth over $1.4 million including 7 stakes ignites Sunland Park’s biggest day. Top flight horses from around the country will be shipping in for the major stakes races.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bet On Ballou wins $85,000 Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap

Former claimer Bet On Ballou reached a career zenith by winning the $85,000 Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Sunday.

Rolling through a crest of sharp form, Bet On Ballou won his third straight race of the meet and 10th overall in the stakes race for older New Mexico-bred Quarter Horses. The eight-year-old gelding trained by Wes Giles defeated Stel Gone Corona by a neck in a driving finish. Despite bobbling at the break, Bet On Ballou found his best strides to take the stakes victory and remain a perfect three for three this year. His form in 2012 and 2013 has been exemplary, winning 6 races from 10 tries.

Bet On Ballou earned $51,000 for the Quarter Circle W Bar LLC of Edgewood, New Mexico. Sunday’s victory pushed the winner’s lifetime bankroll past $189,000. He and jockey Jaime Parga Leos sped through the 350 yards in a good 17.065 seconds, earning a 91 speed index. Loyal supporters of the winner received $17.80 on a $2 win ticket.

Stel Gone Corona finished a close second at odds of 6-1 under jockey Manuel Gutierrez. The former stakes winner was flying on the outside and just missed. NMHBA Quarter Horse Stakes winner Sandys Jesse ran another big race. The three-year-old filly performed well in her first attempt against older runners and was game third.

Defending champion Here Kittykittykitty finished fourth beaten one length. The multiple stakes winner of over $427,000 was making his first start since last summer.

Live racing resumes on Tuesday at 1 p.m. The $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) is only 2 weeks away to be run on Sunday, March 24.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Lester’s Echo turns on the speed in $85,000 Mt. Cristo Rey Handicap

Lester’s Echo turned on the speed to win the $85,000 Mt. Cristo Rey Handicap on Saturday at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino. Under jockey Isaias Cardenas, the sharp Lester’s Echo parlayed a jet propelled start into a wire to wire three-quarter length win in the four and one-half furlong sprint for older New Mexico-bred Thoroughbreds.

Despite winning his last two sprints, Lester’s Echo was let go at 7-2 odds at post time. Winning trainer Owen Bringhurst had his charge well prepared for a third straight win. The veteran six-year-old gelding broke like a bullet and was never headed in the feature race. He faced challenges on both sides from Kiss My Hennessy and Agiba Yulla but was up to the task on all fronts. The front runner dug in through the final 100 yards and would not be denied. Despite blustery conditions, the winning time was a fast 50.64.

Lester’s Echo collected his 8th win from 24 career starts and the gelded son of The Trader’s Echo may be reaching a career peak. He earned a $51,000 payday for owners Diana Bringhurst along with Jeff and Chris Meyers of Las Cruces, New Mexico. The high powered speedster has earned over $257,000 in his productive career. Lester’s Echo paid $9.20 on a $2 win ticket.

2012 Copper Top Futurity winner Kiss My Hennessy ran a strong race to finish second. The three-year-old multiple stakes winner was facing older runners for the first time. The 5-2 favorite ran bravely along the inside to get the runner-up spot for trainer Todd Fincher. Agiba Yulla pressed the winner throughout from his outside draw. The grey sprinter almost came to even terms with Lester’s Echo heading into the stretch, but had no answer for the winner down the lane. Doms Flash was fourth, beaten 2 and 1/2 lengths. Defending champion Our Choice failed the muster a substantial stretch attack and wound up sixth.

Live racing resumes on Sunday at 1 p.m. Here Kittykittykitty defends his title in the featured $85,000 Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap (4th race) at 350 yards.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Friday, March 8, 2013

Pj Chick In Black is top qualifier for $202,947 West Texas Derby

$85,000 Mt. Cristo Rey Handicap set for Saturday

$85,000 Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap on Sunday

$800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) coming on Sunday, March 24

AQHA 2012 champion two-year-old filly Pj Chick In Black made her three-year-old debut at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino an impressive one on Friday by setting the top qualifying time for the $202,947 West Texas Derby.

Last year’s New Mexican Spring and Ruidoso Quarter Horse Futurity winner looked imposing defeating her foes with ease in the 3rd trial to the West Texas Derby. The fast filly by Desirio sped through the 400 yards in a blazing 18.841 seconds. Esgar Ramirez rode the favorite for trainer John Stinebaugh. Pj Chick in Black was coming off a sixth place finish in the 2012 All American Futurity after setting the top qualifying time. The New Mexico-bred has 6 wins from 7 career starts and should be the favorite for the finale to be run on Saturday, March 30. This year’s West Texas Derby has an all-time high purse $202,947. The winner receives $95,385.

Jockey Casey Lambert qualified Icu Deity for trainer Mike Joiner. Here is the complete list of qualifiers: Pj Chick in Black, 18.841; Rockin Disco, 18.971; Icu Deity, 18.983; Wild and Game, 18.988; Secret Courage, 18.999; Whiteface Eagle, 19.001; Prince of Alexander, 19.059; Iba Jp, 19.074; First Prize Moon, 19.075 and Caballo Famous Eagle, 19.110.

A full field of ten converges in Saturday’s featured $85,000 Mt. Cristo Rey Handicap (10th race) at four and one half furlongs. Defending champion Our Choice is one of two runners from the top Justin Evans stable. Lester’s Echo is extremely sharp having won a 1,000 yard allowance last time out for trainer Owen Bringhurst.

Here Kittykittykitty defends his title in Sunday’s $85,000 Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap (4th race). Post time on Saturday and Sunday is 1 p.m. The $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) to be run on Sunday, March 24 is just over 2 weeks away. An all-thoroughbred 12-race card with 7 stakes and over $1.2 million in purses will be on the line.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Tf Featured Effort scores upset win in $95,423 West Texas Maturity

With a jet propelled start, Tf Featured Effort scored a mild upset win in the 26th running of the $95,423 West Texas Maturity (Grade 2) at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday.

The 2012 West Texas Derby winner reversed his slow breaking habits with a fast start in the Grade 2 400 yard dash. The four-year-old stallion by Feature Mr Jess broke like a bullet and was in full command 100 yards away from the gate. Jockey Alonso Rivera was thrilled with the start. He said, “He blew out of the there. He was really ready today. I tried to make sure he was straight and relaxed.”

Tf Featured Effort parlayed the great start to an impressive 1 and 1/4 length win against stellar competition. He sped through the feature in a fast 18.925 seconds, good for a 97 speed index. The fast winner was let go at over 5-1 odds and paid a generous $13.20 to win. Winning trainer Jaime Dominguez was pleased with the performance.

“He hadn’t been breaking for us for a while. He is a really fast horse but has had no luck at the gates. We won last year’s West Texas Derby with him. Now, we will get him ready for Ruidoso.”

Tf Featured Effort improved his career mark to 5 wins, 3 seconds and 4 thirds from 17 starts. He picked up a $45,008 payday for owner-trainer Jaime Dominguez of Peyton, Colorado.

Jess Cuervo, the 6-5 favorite, made a late bid to finish second, a head in front of 2012 Sunland Winter Quarter Horse Derby winner Our First Corona. The runner-up was one of three finalists trained by Victor Rodriguez-Flores. The other two were top qualifier Jump Down Azoom and Bugsy B. They finished sixth and eighth, respectively.

Defending champion First Corona Call wound up a well beaten seventh.

Live racing resumes on Sunday at 1 p.m. Future wagering on the Kentucky Derby (Pool #2) and the Kentucky Oaks concludes on Sunday.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Countess Curlin exudes class in $50,000 Island Fashion Stakes

Countess Curlin exuded class with a confident 4-length win in the $50,000 Island Fashion Stakes at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Sunday. The classy three-year-old Curlin filly won her third straight and might run next in the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks to be run on Sunday, March 24.

Overcoming the extremely windy conditions, Countess Curlin bided her time in sixth place while under a cool ride from jockey Luis Contreras during the early stages of the one mile feature. Racing as the even money favorite, Countess Curlin remained well off the pace racing down the backstretch. Contreras waited for opening and found one while racing into the upper stretch. The responsive filly shot through the hole and raced past the pace setting Shesatopattraction.

Countess Curlin showed great acceleration in the final furlong and won stylishly under a hand ride. The promising star earned $30,000 for the Stonestreet Stables, LLC of Lexington, Kentucky. The route loving chestnut has 3 wins a 1 second from 4 career starts. Her previous 2 wins came at Retama Park and Sam Houston Race Park. Asmussen had her ready for a big effort on Sunday. She paid $4.20 on a $2 win ticket. The winning time was 1:39.68.

Asmussen is the third leading trainer of all-time with over 6,380 career wins. The training wizard is only 47-years-old.

Shesatopattraction ran a brave race for trainer Henry Dominguez and finished second after leading for much of the way. The 16-1 long shot outran her odds and fought grudgingly after setting the pace through a terrific headwind. Infinitely wound up in third, beaten nearly 5 lengths. She completed a $1 trifecta worth $194.30.

Fraudulentfootnote, Challenging, Lady of Luck and Derby Hat rounded out the order of finish.

Live racing resumes on Tuesday at 1 p.m.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Dry Summer gains definitive win in $120,000 Mine That Bird Derby

Dry Summer relished a slow early pace and rocketed on home to gain a definitive win in the $120,000 Mine That Bird Derby at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday.

Racing as the 6-5 favorite, Dry Summer finished with speed in reserve to win by a comfortable 1 and 1/2 lengths in the key local prep race for the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) to be held on Sunday, March 24. The well bred son of Any Given Saturday ridden by Carlos Madeira stalked off the pedestrian tempo set by Ize In Command down the backstretch.

The tepid pace only made matters easier for Dry Summer when he was asked for run by Madeira. The athletic three-year-old chestnut swept to the front and took a commanding presence into the stretch run. Rivals Show Some Magic and Stormdriver were running well but could not make a dent on the winner. Dry Summer galloped through the 1 and 1/16 mile distance in a good 1:45.32.

Winning trainer Joel Marr said in the winner’s circle, “I think everything worked out extremely great. I could not believe how slow they were going on the front end. No one could close with that pace. He was in a good spot throughout. When he came to New Mexico, he was ready to run. We plan on keeping him happy and running in the Sunland Derby.”

As a two-year-old Dry Summer raced for trainer Jeff Mullins and won the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf at Del Mar last September. The Mine That Bird Derby triumph was his 4th career win from 8 starts. The multiple stakes winner earned $72,000 for owners Sam Britt and Michael House of Grenville, New Mexico. Joel Marr has trained Dry Summer to two wins at Sunland Park since shipping in from California last month. Dry Summer sports career earnings of over $205,000. With his love of the Sunland surface, Dry Summer should be a major threat for the Sunland Derby (Gr. III) in one month.

The Mine That Bird Derby was nearly a carbon copy of Dry Summer’s allowance win here on January 27 when he defeated Storm Driver by 2 lengths followed by Show Some Magic.

Riley Allison Futurity winner Show Some Magic finished a good second under jockey Miguel Hernandez. The Any Given Saturday colt was within striking range throughout the feature but could not muster enough to threaten Dry Summer. He finished second, a neck better than Stormdriver.

Doug O’Neill’s California shipper Greeley Awesome was compromised by the slow pace. The stretch runner could not make any impact in the final furlongs and finished fourth, beaten nearly 5 lengths. Ize In Command would up in fifth place.

Live racing resumes on Sunday at 1 p.m. The $50,000 Island Fashion Stakes at one mile is the main event.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Friday, February 22, 2013

$120,000 Mine That Bird Derby coming Saturday

Isn’t He Clever returns on Saturday undercard

$50,000 Island Fashion Stakes on Sunday

The $120,000 Mine That Bird Derby, the key local prep for the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III), will be run on Saturday at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.

Formerly named the Borderland Derby, the Mine That Bird Derby has the moniker of the 2009 Kentucky Derby winner who hailed from Sunland Park. Saturday’s main event (10th race) presents a solid field of three-year-olds racing one and one-sixteenth miles.

Dry Summer leads the local contingent coming off a solid route win over Stormdriver and Riley Allison Futurity winner Show Some Magic. Joel Marr trains the son of Any Given Saturday for owners Sam Britt and Michael House of Grenville, New Mexico. Last summer, Dry Summer won the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf at Del Mar while racing for trainer Jeff Mullins. His Sunland win on January 27 was his first victory over a dirt surface. Carlos Madeira rides the 5-2 favorite.

Kentucky Derby winning trainer Doug O’Neill ships in Greeley Awesome from California. The fast closing colt by Mr. Greeley has won his last three races over 3 different racetracks (Golden Gate, Santa Anita and Betfair Hollywood Park). He should relish the distance of the Mine That Bird Derby. Saul Arias rides the 3-1 shot. O’Neill won the 2003 and 2005 WinStar Derbies at Sunland Park with Excessivepleasure and Thor’s Echo, respectively.

Henry Dominguez saddles two horses with Show Some Magic and Hardliner. The former is another well traveled son of Any Given Saturday with graded stakes experience. After finishing out of the money in the Grade 2 Hopeful, Jean Laffitt and Grade 3 Delta Jackpot, Show Some Magic scored in the Riley Allison Futurity last December. He is owned by Sunland Park’s leading Thoroughbred owners Kirk and Judy Robison of El Paso, Texas. Dominguez also trains the Rock Hard Ten colt Hardliner who is coming off a nice local maiden win on Feb. 12.

Ize In Command, Invasive Cocktail and Stormdriver help round out the promising field. The $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) will be run on Sunday, March 24.

Isn’t He Clever, a high powered multiple stakes winner, returns to action in Saturday’s 6th race at five and one-half furlongs. Kirk and Judy Robison’s star runner won the Riley Allison Futurity, the Borderland Derby and was second in the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) last season. The son of Smarty Jones polished off his 2012 season with a 13-length win in the Ruidoso Thoroughbred Derby on September 1. The four-year-old gelding sports earnings of nearly $433,000 from 5 career wins. Luis Contreras rides for trainer Henry Dominguez. Isn’t He Clever has recorded four useful workouts in preparation for his comebacker.

Tom Proctor’s Branding leads a high quality group of three-year-old fillies running in Sunday’s $50,000 Island Fashion Stakes at one mile. Branding is coming off a rousing Santa Anita maiden win on January 12. The talented Street Sense filly earned a potent 80 Beyer Speed Figure. She will have Ken Tohill in the saddle.

Countess Curlin is a 2-time winner on the Texas circuit. Trainer Steve Asmussen has assigned Luis Contreras the mount.

Len Schermer’s Lady of Luck also rates highly in the Island Fashion. The Curlin filly hails from the top barn of Justin Evans. Challenging, Sheatopattraction, Fraudulentfootnote, Derby Hat and Infinitely are also part of the field.

The Island Fashion is the local prep for the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks to be run on Sunday, March 24. Post time on Saturday and Sunday is 1 p.m.

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February 21, 2013 Contact: Mike Ziegler (859) 422-2668

SUNLAND PARK EARNS RE-ACCREDITATION FROM THE NTRA SAFETY AND INTEGRITY ALLIANCE

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that Sunland Park in Sunland Park, N.M., has earned re-accreditation from the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance. The re-accreditation followed a complete review of all racing operations at the facility. Sunland Park received its initial Alliance accreditation in December 2010. All accreditations and re-accreditations carry an effective period of two years.

Sunland Park is the 18th Alliance-accredited racetrack to earn re-accreditation, joining Aqueduct Racetrack, Arlington Park, Belmont Park, Betfair Hollywood Park, Calder Casino and Race Course, Canterbury Park, Churchill Downs, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Golden Gate Fields, Keeneland Race Course, Monmouth Park, Pimlico Race Course, Santa Anita Park, Saratoga Race Course, Turfway Park and Woodbine.

The re-accreditation of Sunland Park was the culmination of a lengthy certification process that began with the track’s completion of a 48-page written application and continued as Sunland hosted several meetings with Alliance officials. The on-site review included inspections of all facets of the racing facility, with special attention paid to areas that were newly added to the Alliance’s Code of Standards in 2011 and 2012. Such areas containing new or more stringent requirements include wagering security, race day security, Model Rules pertaining to Furosemide administration and Phenylbutazone threshold levels, injury reporting, post-mortem veterinary inspections, jockey health and safety, paddock safety, aftercare/transitioning of retired racehorses and cross-jurisdictional sharing of vet’s list data. Interviews were also conducted with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, stewards and fans. The inspection team was comprised of Ronald Jensen, DVM; racing official Richard Lewis; Mike Kilpack of the Organization of Racetrack Investigators (ORI); and Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance.

During the latest Alliance inspection of Sunland Park, best practices were identified in areas including fire safety planning and procedures; paddock safety protocols and procedures; security plan; security training; and wagering security protocols, including simulcast sales contract language, exclusion of pools when timing is non-verifiable; policy as a guest when excluded; timing display and synchronization on video broadcast and totalisator, cancel delay elimination, use of latest version of Inter Tote System Protocol; and wagering incident investigation protocols.

“Sunland Park was inspected during its current, live meeting,” said Ziegler. “The track exhibited a solid commitment to the safety and integrity of its racing and wagering operations. The work they’ve done with the New Mexico Racing Commission and their horsemen in meeting the minimum standards set forth in the Alliance Code demonstrate this commitment.”

“I’m pleased that Sunland Park has earned re-accreditation from the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance,” said Harold Payne, General Manager of Sunland Park. “Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our human and equine participants and the integrity of our racing product. I congratulate the many employees here who worked diligently to achieve this recognition.”

Sunland Park is one of 23 racing facilities currently fully accredited by the Alliance. Others are Aqueduct Racetrack, Arlington Park, Belmont Park, Betfair Hollywood Park, Calder Casino and Race Course, Canterbury Park, Churchill Downs, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Fairplex Park, Finger Lakes Casino and Racetrack, Golden Gate Fields, Gulfstream Park, Keeneland Race Course, Kentucky Downs, Monmouth Park, Pimlico Race Course, Santa Anita Park, Saratoga Race Course, Suffolk Downs, Turfway Park and Woodbine.

The Alliance, formed in October 2008 with the goal of establishing national uniform standards in the areas of safety and integrity, includes 55 racetracks in North America and every major national horsemen’s organization. Alliance certification standards cover six broad areas: injury reporting and prevention; creating a safer racing environment; aftercare and transition of retired racehorses; uniform medication, testing and penalties; safety research; and wagering security. Within those six categories, specific standards focus on areas including:
•· Systematic reporting of equine injuries
•· Aftercare of racehorses
•· Pre- and post-race veterinary examinations
•· Post-mortem examinations
•· Health and safety of jockeys
•· Riding crops and their use
•· Horse shoes and hoof care
•· Safety research
•· Safety equipment for jockeys and horse handlers
•· Exogenous Anabolic Steroids
•· Alkalinizing agents (TCO2)
•· On-track emergency medical care for humans and equines
•· Out-of-competition testing
•· Freezing and retrospective testing of post race samples
•· Continuing education
•· Security assessment and training
•· Totalizator technology and “stop wagering” protocols
•· Wagering incident investigation

The NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance is a standing organization whose purpose is to establish standards and practices to promote safety and integrity in horseracing and to secure their implementation. Corporate partners of the Alliance include Pfizer Animal Health, FLAIR Equine Nasal Strips and Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. Information on the Alliance, including the Alliance Code of Standards, can be found at www.NTRAalliance.com.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sandys Jesse speeds home a winner in $85,000 NMHBA Quarter Horse Stakes

New 1 p.m. Post Time starting on Tuesday!

Dismissed at nearly 18-1 odds, Sandys Jesse shocked a field of elite three-year-olds in the New Mexico Horse Breeders’ Association Stakes at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Sunday.

Under jockey Tanner Thedford, Sandys Jesse produced a career best effort to win the New Mexico-bred feature at 400 yards by a half-length. The Jesse James, Jr. filly broke on top and quickly took the lead away from the gate and poured on the pressure. She maintained a high cruising speed through the stretch to hold off both One Blazin Kimbo and Es Dove. The Alonzo Orozco trained filly roared through the distance in a fast 19.267 seconds, good for an 89 speed index. The victory was her fourth overall and first stakes win from nine career starts. The quick sophomore earned $51,000 for owner Chin Lee. Sandys Jesse’s career bankroll is nearing the $100,000 mark.

Sandys Jesse paid a healthy $37.40 to win on a $2 ticket.

One Blazin Kimbo, hailing from the red hot barn of Victor Rodriguez-Flores had no excuses and ran second. The strapping son of Chicks a Blazin broke cleanly but lacked the winner’s gate speed. The runner-up surged in the final yards to get second place, a nose in front of the fast closing Es Dove. The Rodriguez-Flores barn had been winning at almost a 60 percent strike rate this season.

Es Dove closed nicely as a 22-1 long shot. Rex Hill finished fourth, beaten one length. Shue Fly winner Slew by You was never a factor and finished well back in seventh place.

Live racing resumes on Tuesday at 1 p.m. The new post time will remain in effect for the remainder of the meet.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Hennesey Smash wins sixth straight in $85,000 Peppers Pride Handicap

Under a masterful ride from Alfredo Juarez, Jr., Hennesey Smash won her sixth straight race in the $85,000 Peppers Pride Handicap at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday. The sensational stakes star by Roll Hennessy Roll led every step of the way in her first attempt at one mile.

Coming off a rousing win against open company in the Bold Ego Handicap, the New Mexico-bred four-year-old filly was at the top of her game. The only question was the distance, and Juarez made sure it was a comfortable journey for her going 2 turns. She relaxed very nicely and was never pressured early setting tepid fractions of 24.03 and 47.94 seconds for the first two calls.

By the time Rose’s Desert and Iplaytricks came calling at the quarter pole, Hennesey Smash had plenty left and turned the distaff feature into a sprint. She dug in determinedly throughout the stretch run and defeated favored stable mate Rose’s Desert by one and one-quarter lengths in a smashing performance. The Todd Fincher trained winner clocked the one mile in a sharp 1:37.59. She adds the Peppers Pride title to her glossy resume which includes stakes wins at Ruidoso Downs, Albuquerque and Zia Park.

The latest champion out of the blue chip mare Some Smash earned $30,000 for owner Barbara Coleman. Hennesey Smash has won 7 times from 8 starts with earnings moving past $231,000. A $2 win ticket on the Peppers Pride winner was worth $8.20. Hennesey Smash is a half sister to the New Mexico-bred champion gelding Some Ghost.

Multiple stakes winner Rose’s Desert tried her best for Fincher but could not overhaul her speedy stable mate in deep stretch. The even money favorite was coming off a big 5-length win in the New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap on opening weekend. Rose’s Desert kicked into high gear but had to settle for second place under jockey Casey Lambert. Fincher saddled the top two finishers.

Defending champion Iplaytricks ran a solid race under jockey Ken Tohill. Joel Marr’s charge found her best strides too late and finished third, beaten two and one-half lengths. Devon’s Spirit, Soaring Goddess, Gossip Dome and Desert Avenue rounded out the order of finish.

Live racing resumes on Sunday at 12:25 p.m. The $85,000 NMHBA Quarter Horse Stakes (4th race) at 400 yards is the featured event.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Friday, February 15, 2013

Rose’s Desert faces elite field in $85,000 Peppers Pride Handicap on Saturday

Shue Fly winner Slew By You runs in Sunday’s $85,000 NMHBA QH Stakes

The classy Rose’s Desert goes for her 8th career win in 11 starts against an elite field of New Mexico-bred fillies in mares in Saturday’s $85,000 Peppers Pride Handicap (10th race) at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino. She is one of two major contenders racing for trainer Todd Fincher.

Rose’s Desert is coming off a rousing 5 length win in the New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap on Dec. 9. Jockey Casey Lambert never asked the superior mare for her best as she defended her title in the 6 furlong sprint win. Rose’s Desert carries the most earnings in the field with a $420,000 bankroll. She is listed as the 2-1 favorite.

Bold Ego Handicap winner Hennesey Smash will be the pace enforcer in the feature for Fincher. The sensational filly by Roll Hennessy Roll has won 6 of 7 career races and defeated open company in the Bold Ego. Jockey Alfredo Juarez will try and ration her speed over a mile distance for the first time.

Defending champion Iplaytricks rates highly at the distance. She defeated Rose’s Desert last year in this race and defeated the favorite at Zia Park. Veteran rider Ken Tohill helps her chances for trainer Joel Marr. Iplaytricks has won 8 of 18 races in her career.

Devon’s Spirit, a mile winner in a time of 1:36.69 is also in the field along with Soaring Goddess, Gossip Dome and Desert Avenue.

Shue Fly winner Slew by You runs in Sunday’s $85,000 NMHBA Quarter Horse Stakes (4th race) at 400 yards. The 9-1 upset winner of the Shue Fly takes on fast company including An Absolut Diamond and One Blazin Kimbo. Post time on Saturday and Sunday is 12:25 p.m.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Eric Alwan (575) 874-5248 or Terri Wyatt (915) 204-5657

SUNLAND PARK RACETRACK AND CASINO TO HOST PINK DAY AT THE RACES FEBUARY 16, 2013. Post Time 12:25.

Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino is pleased to host Pink Day at the Races, February 16, 2013 to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation. This is the first year that Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino has participated. Patrons wearing pink will be given a pink backpack while supplies last. The event will feature jockeys wearing pink silks during the races, prizes, giveaways and a silent auction. Proceeds from Pink Day at the Races will benefit the Susan G Komen Foundation for the Cure Foundation of Central NM.

Pink Day at the Races is organized by trainer Jaime Zamora. Jaime, a Breast Cancer Survivor, is passionate about educating women as well as men about Breast Cancer. The Racing Community throughout the State of NM has backed Mrs. Zamora in her quest to educate racing fans and to raise money for continued research.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Red Lead triumphs in $50,000 Curribot Handicap

The classy Red Lead returned to his old form with a rousing one and one-quarter length victory in the $50,000 Curribot Handicap at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Sunday.

The seven-year-old gelding found a burst of energy in the final furlong to defeat a very solid field of stakes winners at his favorite racetrack. Under jockey Enrique Gomez, Red Lead was forwardly placed down the backstretch racing closely with Global Stage and Hurricane Lake. The multiple stakes winner launched his attack on the second turn and opened up a lead passing the quarter mile marker.

Red Lead set sail for home in upper stretch putting away a fast closing Hurricane Lake and Global Stage. The 4-1 shot collected his sixth victory over Sunland Park soil and his 11th overall for trainer Chris Hartman. The son of Red Bullet earned $30,000 for owner Joey K. Davis. His career bankroll has swelled past the $725,000 mark. Red Lead has been a gem of consistency over the last few years at Sunland Park winning and placing frequently in stakes races. The winning time for the one and one-sixteenth miles was 1:42.84.

Hurricane Lake found his best strides too late and had to settle for second. The veteran stakes gelding was closing with interest but ran out of real estate under jockey Alfredo Juarez, Jr. He finished a good third in the Winsham Lad Handicap last month.

Ruidoso Thoroughbred Championship winner Global Stage made an eye catching middle move and was on par with the leaders at the midway point. He managed to split both Red Lead and Warren’s Knockout but could not seal the deal. He and jockey Ken Tohill finished third, beaten less than 2 lengths.

A stubborn Warren’s Knockout wound up fourth after battling with the winner for much of the race. Ol Winedrinker Who, Watch Me Go and Vamoose rounded out the order of finish. Live racing resumes on Tuesday at 12:25 p.m.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sudden Ghost takes upset win in $50,000 El Diario Handicap

Sudden Ghost scored an upset win in the $50,000 El Diario Handicap on Saturday at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.

The four-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper made her second appearance in a stakes race a winning one in the six and one-half furlong feature for fillies and mares. Under jockey Nancy Summers, the 8-1 long shot produced a career best effort to claim her third win from 14 starts. The bay filly was coming off a nice allowance win on January 18 against softer foes and looked to be in deep water on Saturday.

Trainer Camie Telford had Sudden Ghost poised for a terrific effort. Through the windy conditions, Sudden Ghost and Summers swept on past 6-5 favorite African Rose in upper stretch and had enough resolve to defeat Pyrite on My Mind by three-parts of a length at the wire. The upstart Kentucky-bred filly finished with interest and would not be denied. The winner paid $18.60 on a $2 win ticket. Since shipping in from Arapahoe Park in Colorado, Sudden Ghost is a perfect two for two over Sunland Park soil. She finished out of the money in last season’s Island Fashion Stakes.

Pyrite on My Mind finished a game second under jockey Ken Tohill. The Seattle Fitz mare was forwardly placed throughout and ran a gallant race at 5-1 odds. She extended her consistent form lines which reveal 5 wins, 6 seconds and 10 thirds from 29 starts.

The rapidly developing Patty’s Pulpit also outran her odds and finished a solid third. Joyful Tap finished fourth, a nose in front of African Rose. The latter was used up in an early pace duel down the backstretch.

Live racing resume on Sunday at 12:25 p.m. The $50,000 Curribot Stakes (10th race) at one and one sixteenth miles is the main event. The feature is loaded with stakes winners like Global Stage, Red Lead and Vamoose.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Friday, February 8, 2013

Jump Down Azoom is top qualifier for $95,400 West Texas Maturity

Future win wagering on Kentucky Derby (Pool #1) available through Sunday

$50,000 El Diario and $50,000 Curribot Stakes are on tap this weekend

Jump Down Azoom sizzled in his trial and set the top qualifying time for the $95,400 West Texas Maturity on Friday at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino. Trained by Victor Rodriguez-Flores, Jump Down Azoom outran Tres Seis Nueve and posted a time of 19.276 seconds for the 400 yard heat.

Rodriguez-Flores also qualified Jess Cuervo and Bugsy B. for the finale to be run on Saturday, March 2. Here is the complete list of qualifiers: Jump Down Azoom, 19.276; Tres Seis Nuevo, 19.354; Tf Featured Effort, 19.441; Really a Fantasy, 19.474; Jess Cuervo, 19.483; Our First Corona, 19.488; Bugsy B, 19.502; The Redd Zone, 19.562; First Corona Call, 19.580 and Rabbit Revival, 19.604.

Future win wagering on this year’s Kentucky Derby is available now through Sunday. Past performances are on hand at the program stands.

The speedy African Rose is the 3-1 morning line favorite for Saturday’s featured $50,000 El Diario Handicap at six and one-half furlongs. The Bwana Charlie filly has 6 career wins and looked sensational in a recent local victory. Leading trainer Justin Evans is her conditioner. Miguel Hernandez gets the return mount.

Alydarla promises to inject plenty of speed into the race. Her jockey Casey Lambert has won 4 stakes races this season.

The $50,000 Curribot Stakes at one and one-sixteenth mile is Sunday’s main event. Global Stage leads the list of accomplished stakes winners in the route feature. Post time on Saturday and Sunday is 12:25 p.m.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Melody Lady sings sweet tune in $50,000 El Paso Times Handicap

In an absolutely dazzling performance, the well bred filly Melody Lady galloped away from her rivals by over 6 lengths to win the $50,000 El Paso Times Handicap at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday.

Out of the Grade 1 stakes winning mare Lady Tak, Melody Lady attracted much attention and was coming off a sharp maiden win at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. Under jockey Casey Lambert, Melody Lady raised her game to another level and completely dominated a group of winning three-year-old fillies in the six and one-half furlong tilt. The Unbridled’s Song filly rated kindly off the pace setters and then shifted to gears to take the lead after the first quarter mile. The rest of the race was academic.

Lambert simply hand rode the winner to an impressive performance. The 8-5 favorite widened the margins on her rivals with each subsequent call. The budding stakes star clocked the distance in a fast 1:15.76, and she was never asked for her best from Lambert. Melody Lady is trained by the powerful Steve Asmussen who won last year’s $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) with Daddy Nose Best.

Melody Lady earned $30,000 for the Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings, Inc. led by J.G. Sikura and Edward McGhee. Sunland Park fans hope that the star filly returns for the $50,000 Island Fashion Stakes on Sunday, Feb. 24 at one mile. The Island Fashion is the prelude to the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks which runs on Sunday, March 24. This year’s Sunland Park Oaks winner receives 50 points towards entry to the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks.

Fraudulentfootnote tried her very best but was no match for the classy winner. The 29-1 long shot finished second under a solid ride from Duane Sterling. Flamboyance finished third followed by the second favorite Challenging.

Live racing resumes on Sunday at 12:25 p.m. Racing continues on Tuesday. A special live racing card will be held on Thursday, January 31. There will be racing on Friday and Saturday of next week. There will be no live racing on Sunday, Feb. 3 (Super Bowl Sunday).

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Friday, January 25, 2013

Free Nominations to $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) close on Friday, February 1

Horsemen are reminded that free nominations for the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) close on Friday, February 1.

Sunland Park’s biggest race will be held on Sunday, March 24. This year’s winner of the Sunland Derby (Gr. III) receives 50 points toward entry to the Kentucky Derby. The Sunland Derby (Gr. III) day card also includes the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks, the $75,000 Harry Henson Handicap and the $75,000 Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes. The Sunland Park Oaks winner will receive 50 points toward entry to the Kentucky Oaks.

For more information, contact Racing Secretary Robert Junk at (575) 874-5238.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Saturday’s co-feature honors the late Margaret O. duPont

$50,000 El Paso Times Handicap draws quick fillies

Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino will honor the late great tennis champion and racehorse owner Margaret Osborne duPont with Saturday’s co-featured 9th race.

Margaret O. duPont was a world #1 tennis great with 37 Grand Slam titles including victories at the Championships at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the French Open. She won a record 20 Grand Slam doubles titles with Louise Brough. Mrs. duPont was ranked the 59th greatest player of all-time by The Tennis Channel.

Following her illustrious tennis career, she retired to El Paso, Texas and began a new passion with horse racing. Along with her good friend Margaret Bloss, she owned a stable of powerful stakes winners in New Mexico for nearly six decades. Bloss and duPont owned a brigade of runners named with tennis terms. Their impressive list of stars included such standouts as Tie Breaker, Half Smash, Net Set, Show Courts, Some Smash, Slamming and Set Records. Houseafire was also a major stakes winner for the classic stable. Mrs. duPont’s final stakes win came with Storms Surprise who won the 2012 George Maloof Futurity at Albuquerque and would subsequently win the Red Hedeman Mile at Sunland Park.

Saturday’s featured 10th race is the $50,000 El Paso Times Handicap at six and one-half furlongs. A very quick collection of three-year-old fillies is set to compete.

Steve Asmussen ships in Fair Grounds maiden winner Melody Lady for the local feature. The royally bred Unbridled’s Song filly is out of the Grade 1 stakes winner Lady Tak. Casey Lambert rides the 5-2 morning line favorite. Justin Evans counters with multiple winner Flamboyance who already has a win over the track. She and jockey Miguel Hernandez are listed at 3-1 odds. Alex Hartman’s smashing debut winner Challenging also looms large at 4-1. The daughter of Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Pleasantly Perfect won her career debut at Sunland Park on Dec. 30 by nearly 8 lengths.

Post time on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday is 12:25 p.m.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Jd Baccarat pulls clear to win $50,000 KOFX-Radio Handicap

Jd Baccarat showed his class by pulling clear in the final stages to win the $50,000 KOFX-Radio Handicap at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Sunday.

The former Higheasterjet Stakes winner was let go a 7-1 odds despite racing for the elite barn of Paul Jones. The five-year-old son of Mr Jess Perry responded with a terrific effort under jockey Ricky Ramirez. The sorrel gelding broke well and contended for the lead throughout the 350 yard dash. He propelled to the front with a powerful move in the final 75 yards to seal to victory. Jd Baccarat beat Zulu Dragon by a neck in a fast time of 16.88 seconds with no wind blowing. The timing earned a 96 speed index.

The 7-time winner earned a $30,000 paycheck for the syndicate of Cope, Herzog, Southway, Hubbard and Masterson. His career bankroll swelled past $239,000. Loyal backers of Jd Baccarat received $16.40 on a $2 win ticket.

Last season’s West Texas Maturity runner-up Zulu Dragon once again had to settle for a close second place finish. Under jockey Larry Gamez, the well bred stallion by First Down Dash rallied after a bumpy start and was rolling in deep stretch. The stakes winner from Zia Park rallied gamely but could not get by the winner.

Sunland Park Winter Quarter Horse Derby runner-up Tres Seis Nieve finished a good third, beaten only a half length. Kr Dragonfly, A Spring Snow, Teller More Bourbon, Time For A Cigar, Corona for You and One Diamond Kitty rounded out the order of finish.

Live racing resumes on Tuesday at 12:25 p.m. There will be a special live racing card on Thursday, January 31. No live racing takes place on Sunday, February 3 (Super Bowl Sunday).

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Devons Ca Ching rings up winning score in $85,000 Pepsi Cola Stakes

Expertly handled by veteran rider Ken Tohill, Devons Ca Ching charged his way to victory in a stirring rendition for the $85,000 Pepsi Cola Stakes at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday.

Overcoming a slow start, Devons Ca Ching exploded along the rail to take command of the 12 horse field of top flight New Mexico-bred three-year-olds heading into the far turn. The grey roan son of Devon Lane forced a hot pace while under a controlled ride from Tohill. He moved ahead of double stakes winner Kiss My Hennessy, and then was presented a challenge by Red Hedeman Mile Storms Surprise at the top of the lane.

The resolute three-year-old continued rolling along on the lead and showed no signs of stopping despite setting fractions of 21.61 and 44.44 seconds for the first two calls. Storms Surprise flattened out on the rail and Devons Ca Ching held off late surges from both Todd Fincher trained runners in Thermal and Kiss My Hennessy. Devons Ca Ching held firm to win by a half-length in a driving finish. He sped through the 6 furlong sprint in a fast 1:10.1. The victory was his third from four starts. He earned a $51,000 jackpot for owner Lester Wright of Runaway Bay, Texas. The impressive gelding has flourished since breaking his maiden at Zia Park and winning a Sunland Park allowance last month. His career earnings moved past the $93,000 mark.

The newly crowned Pepsi Cola Stakes champ paid $10.60 to win.

Multiple stakes winner Thermal ran a very strong race from off the pace. Under jockey Duane Sterling, Thermal launch an eye catching 5-wide moved around the far turn and was closing with interest in the final furlong. The gelded son of Attila’s Storm simply ran out of real estate after a terrific effort. The runner-up earned $17,000 for owner R.D. Hubbard of Palm Desert, California.

The 2012 Copper Top Futurity winner Kiss My Hennessy also ran a courageous race. He raced near the front throughout and never gave way. The Roll Hennessy Roll gelding seemed to find a second wind in deep stretch and finished third under jockey Casey Lambert, only beaten one length. Storms Surprise made a very bold move passing the quarter mile marker but could not maintain his momentum. He finished fourth under jockey Isaias Cardenas.

Attila’s Hurricane, the 9-5 favorite, could not keep up with the front flight and eventually finished last.

Live racing resumes on Sunday at 12:25 p.m. The $50,000 KOFX Radio Handicap (4th race) is the featured event at 350 yards.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Friday, January 18, 2013

Saturday’s $85,000 Pepsi Cola Stakes attracts a stellar field

$50,000 KOFX – Radio handicap on Sunday

A stellar field of 12 stakes horses has assembled for Saturday’s $85,000 Pepsi Cola Stakes at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino. As part of Pepsi Day at the Races, free Pepsi products will be on hand.

The finest New Mexico-bred three-year-olds will compete over six furlongs in the Pepsi Cola (10th race). Trainer Todd Fincher will saddle three entrants include double stakes winners Kiss My Hennessy and Thermal. Kiss My Hennessy won last spring’s Copper Top Futurity and is loaded with speed. Casey Lambert is the regular pilot. Lambert and Fincher have combined to win three stakes races this meet. Thermal won stakes races at Ruidoso Downs and Zia Park last year and is a stretch running artist. Both horses have earned in excess of $173,000. The third Fincher runner in the race is the impressive maiden winner Hush’s Storm.

The Red Hedeman Mile winner Storms Surprise races for local owner Margaret Bloss and is in peak form. The versatile stakes winner also won George Maloof Futurity at Albuquerque and remains effective going 6 furlongs. He handily defeated Attila’s Hurricane and Indication N M in the Red Hedeman.

The very quick Attila’s Hurricane should appreciate the cut back in distance the most. The son of Attila’s Storm rattled through two wins at Zia Park with consummate ease last fall. Isaias Enriquez returns for the mount. Allowance winner Devons Ca Ching also rates as an important part of a great field.

The $50,000 KOFX Radio Handicap at 350 yards is set for Sunday.

Post time on Saturday and Sunday is 12:25 p.m.

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SunlandPark Race Track and Casino

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Five Sunland Park horses win AQHA championship titles

Five Sunland Park race horses earned 2012 AQHA Championship titles in the award ceremony held at Heritage Place in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.

Three-timeSunlandPark Quarter Horse of the Meet Rylees Boy earned the Champion Aged Gelding and Aged Division Champion awards following a stellar 2012 campaign. The hard charging gelding won the Bank of America New Mexico Challenge Championship atSunlandPark for the third straight year. He followed that up with big wins in the Challenge Championship final at Prairie Meadows and the Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos.

870 yard specialist All About Larry was named the 2012 AQHA Racing Distance Champion. The Sunland Park star won the Red Cell Distance last spring and then won major stakes races at Lone Star Park and Prairie Meadows. All About Larry was ridden by Salvador Martinez and trained by John Stinebaugh.

Pj Chick In Black was the third Sunland Park champ to earn an award. The sensational New Mexico-bred filly was named the AQHA Champion Two-year-old filly. The daughter of Desirio won the New Mexican Spring Futurity at Sunland Park and the Ruidoso Quarter Horse Futurity.

West Texas Futurity winner El Duero earned the AQHA Champion two-year-old gelding award.

2012 Championship at Sunland Park winner Prospect to the Top took home the AQHA Champion Aged Stallion award.

Racing at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino resumes on Friday at 12:25 p.m. The $85,000 Pepsi Cola Stakes is the featured event on Saturday with a 12 horse field.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Tyger Teras rolls home in $85,000 La Senora Stakes

Former $12,500 claimer Tyger Teras upset 6-5 favorite Back Seat Roll to gain a 1 and 1/4 length win in the $85,000 La Senora Stakes at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.

On a bitterly cold Saturday afternoon, Tyger Teras produced a career best to defeat a 3-time stakes winner and a talented field in the New Mexico-bred stakes race for three-year-old New Mexico-bred fillies. Under a heady ride from Derek Bell, Tyger Teras swept by the front running K B’s Princess in upper stretch and held off a furious late rally from the favorite to take the third and most important win in her career. The grey roan filly by To Teras ran a bold race from off the pace and responded eagerly when challenged in deep stretch. The filly dug in bravely under Bell to take first prize monies of $51,000.

Let go at nearly 9-1 odds, Tyger Teras was coming off a resounding $12,500 claiming win at Sunland Park on Dec. 14 when she earned a 70 Beyer Speed figure. She confirmed that rating for an elated winning trainer Chris Hartman. The La Senora champion paid $19.60 to win. She is a 3-time winner from 7 starts.

Back Seat Roll came into the feature seeking her 5th consecutive win. The Roll Hennessy Roll filly broke alertly and was well within striking range early but found herself in tight quarters for much of the race. When jockey Enrique Portillo Gomez moved her to the outside, the filly responded with a gallant effort. She finished second over 2 lengths in front of the third place finisher Lakehouse Fun. Back Seat Roll won the $85,000 Enchantress Stakes at Sunland Park last month going one mile for trainer Henry Dominguez. She earned $17,425 for local owners Kirk and Judy Robison.

The Robisons also own Lakehouse Fun. K.B.’s Princess tired slightly down the lane after leading for three calls.

Live racing resumes on Sunday at 12:25 p.m.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Forest Mouse sets new track record in $50,000 Winsham Lad Stakes

Forest Mouse, the leading older stakes winner in New Mexico, blasted away to a track record setting 3-length win in the 37th running of the $50,000 Winsham Lad Stakes at Sunland Park Race Track and Casino on Sunday.

In a commanding performance, Forest Mouse cemented his claim as the top handicap horse in the area by dominating a stellar field. He and jockey Ry Eikleberry cruised home in a time of 1:39.01 for the one mile and 70 yards. The winner bested the former mark of 1:39.83 held by Rents Paid. Ridden patiently, Forest Mouse executed a clean 3-wide trip on both turns and was teaming with energy in the final 3 furlongs. Eikleberry directed his mount towards the lead in upper stretch and Forest Mouse opened up the throttle. He blasted past a determined Tap The Gold and motored well clear of the field.

Forest Mouse raced as the 8-5 favorite coming off wins in the Zia Park Distance Championship and the San Juan County Commissioners Handicap at SunRay Park. He made over $271,000 from 4 wins in 2012. The Winsham Lad victory was worth $30,000 to winning owner Parnell Thomas. Forest Mouse is a five-year-old stallion by Teton Forest with 12 career wins and $453,629 in earnings.

Winning trainer Henry Dominguez indicated Forest Mouse might be pointed to the $50,000 Curribot Stakes on Sunday, Feb. 10.

14-1 upstart Tap The Gold ran a courageous race in his stakes debut to finish a polished second. The runner-up ridden by Ken Tohill attended the pace and fought his heart out for trainer Cal Martin. The improving son of Tapit was coming off maiden and allowance victories.

Robertino Diodoro’s Hurricane Lake made a wide run to get third place. Ruidoso Thoroughbred Championship winner Global Stage closed eagerly up the rail to gain the fourth spot. Zia Park Derby winner Ol Winedrinker Who was fifth followed by Red Lead, Watch Me Go, Happy Toes and Fog Alert.

Live racing resumes on Tuesday at 12:25 p.m.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Slew by You takes upset win in $252,796 Shue Fly

$50,000 Winsham Lad Stakes staged on Sunday

Slew by You surged late to take an upset win in the 41st running of the rich $252,796 Shue Fly at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday.

Trained by the talented Juan M. Gonzalez, Slew by You won the most important race of her young career and extended her win streak to three races. The 9-1 long shot called upon all her strength to close in the final 100 yards and defeat Taleas Liberty by a nose at the wire.

With 2-time All American Futurity winning rider Ramon Sanchez, Slew by You gained the prestigious win in the New Mexico-bred feature for the Valle Guadiana Corporation of El Paso, Texas. The three-year-old Dash Ta Fame filly collected a $118,814 paycheck for her connections. She beat an outstanding field in a tight finish going 400 yards. The winning time was 19.345 second through some very cold conditions. The winner paid $20.40 on a $2 win ticket.

Since breaking her maiden at Zia Park in her fifth career start, Slew by You has turned the corner and risen to the top of her division. Juan M. Gonzalez deserves much of the credit for her success. Gonzalez is a 5-time winner of the Shue Fly and leads one of the more powerful divisions of New Mexico-bred Quarter Horses every year.

42 -1 long shot Taleas Liberty ran the race of her life and just missed with jockey Oscar Rincon in the saddle. The maiden came within a breath of taking the Shue Fly. The Jesse James Jr. filly led with 50 yards to go. The runner-up earned $45,503 for owner Eusebio Sanchez of Berino, New Mexico. Taleas Liberty sparked a lucrative $1 exacta to pay $302.10.

An Absolut Diamond, the top qualifier from Mike Joiner, found his best strides too late and finished third. The Ketel Won gelding was only beaten by a neck with jockey G.R. Carter in the saddle. The 2-1 favorite One Blazin Kimbo finished a close fourth followed. Krazy Good was a nose back in fifth.

Live racing resumes on Sunday at 12:25 p.m. The $50,000 Winsham Lad Stakes (10th race) at one mile and 70 yards is the main event. Zia Park Distance Championship winner Forest Mouse is one of the leading contenders.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Friday, January 4, 2013

Justin Evans finishes 2012 as nation’s 8th leading trainer

Joiner duo targets $252,796 in Saturday’s Shue Fly

Forest Mouse leads a strong $50,000 Winsham Lad Handicap

Sunland Park conditioner Justin Evans finished 2012 was the nation’s 8th leading trainer with 163 Thoroughbred wins from 632 starters. Evans completed the dream season with a 26 per cent winning clip. The 31-year-old trainer currently leads the trainer standings at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino with 14 wins and was the trainer champion at SunRay Park, the Downs at Albuquerque and Zia Park. His stable earned nearly $2.5 million last year. He saddled Nuggets Please and Our Choice to a 1-2 finish in the $85,000 Johnie L. Jamison Stakes at Sunland Park on opening weekend.

Evans acquired a strong contingent of runners from Del Mar last summer and will be visiting Keeneland sales this weekend in hopes of gaining more stock.

Last season’s Sunland Park training champion Henry Dominguez finished the year as the 18th leading trainer on the country with 137 wins.

The Michael Joiner trainer duo of Krazy Good and An Absolut Diamond look very tough in the Saturday’s 41st running of the $252,796 Shue Fly Stakes at 400 yards. Both Ketel Won geldings won their trial heats impressively and were the top two qualifiers. G.R. Carter rides An Absolut Diamond and Salvador Martinez will be aboard Krazy Good in the featured 5th race.

Forest Mouse, New Mexico’s leading older stakes horse, will be gunning for the $50,000 Winsham Lad Stakes title on Sunday at one mile and 70 yards. In 2012, Forest Mouse earned over $271,000 from 4 wins including victories in the Zia Park Distance Championship at Zia Park and the Ruidoso Thoroughbred Championship. Ry Eikleberry rides the five-year-old for trainer Henry Dominguez. His arch rival and stable mate Global Stage will also be running in the 10th race with the hot riding Alejandro Medellin.

2011 Kentucky Derby finalist Watch Me Go, $692,796 stakes winner Red Lead and Zia Park Derby winner Ol Winedrinker Who are part of a terrific field.

Post time on Saturday and Sunday is 12:25 p.m.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Prospect to the Top captures $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (Gr. 1)

On Down the Road finishes fast in $85,000 Albert Dominguez Memorial Handicap

Following a jet propelled start, Prospect to the Top cruised home a definitive winner against some of the nation’s finest Quarter Horses in the $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (Gr. 1) on Sunday.

The 4-year-old stallion by Coronas Prospect remained sharp and was at the top of his game for the 400 yard classic on a cold afternoon. With jockey Oscar Rincon aboard, Prospect to the Top broke fast and took complete control of the feature in the first 100 yards. The front runner for 2012 leading older stallion honors parlayed the perfect start to an impressive Grade 1 stakes win. The 5-2 favorite ran straight as a string and hit the finish line a half length in front of Jess Featureme Quick. The winning time through some head winds was a fast 19.03 seconds. The classy Prospect to the Top ends 2012 with a flourish winning the Championship at Sunland Park, the Zia Park Quarter Horse Championship and the All American Gold Cup.

The former $4,000 bargain purchase rattled through three stakes wins in his last four appearances for trainer Brandon Muniz. His 10th career win was a lucrative one coming with a $157,000 payday for owner Joel Tavarez of Odessa, Texas. The 2011 West Texas Derby and Hobbs America Derby winner ranks as one of the year’s greatest racing bargains. His hefty bankroll is pushing past $924,000.

Loyal supporters of Prospect to the Top received $7.00 to win.

Jess Featureme Quick, third place finisher in the Zia Quarter Horse Championship, ran an improved race to finish a solid second under jockey Saul Ramirez. The Feature Mr Jess gelding trained by Paul Jones picked up momentum in the final stanza and was gaining on the winner. The runner-up earned $70,000 for owner Melissa Miller

Jess Burner winner First Blazin Love produced another top notch effort to finish third on the outside. The Paul Jones trainee raced as a close second favorite at 5-2 odds. Tt Featured Effort was fourth. Dm Streakn Thru Fire broke last and was left with too much to overcome. The Mike Joiner trained horse closed belatedly to get fifth. The Long Knife, Miracle Snow, Block N Tackle, Llano Teller and Kool Country Man rounded out the order of finish.

On Down the Road generated a strong late rally to win his second straight stakes race in the $85,000 Albert Dominguez Memorial Handicap at 1 and 1/16 miles. Racing for trainer Joel Marr, On Down the Road dug in for the final furlong to overhaul stable mate Attitude E Racer. The two Marr horses finished one-two with On Down the Road in front by three parts of a length.

Carlos Madeira rode the double stakes winner for owner Lisa Rehburg of Mountain Center, California. On Down the Road completed his third straight win including a nice win in the $180,000 New Mexico Cup Classic at Zia Park last October. The five-year-old Desert God gelding has 5 wins from 13 starts and carries a money line reaching $269,000. The 2012 Albert Dominguez Memorial winner is just beginning to realize his enormous potential in route stakes.

Attitude E Racer opened up a winning break in upper stretch and looked long gone with a 3-length lead. The pace setter wore down in the final 100 yards and just missed under jockey Isaias Enriquez. Johnie Jamison Stakes winner Nuggets Please finished nearly 2 lengths back in third place. Cross Chris Run was fourth. 14-race winner Our Choice failed to deliver his usual closing punch and was sixth.

Live racing resumes on Tuesday, New Year’s Day at 12:25 p.m.

Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Storms Surprise wins $85,000 Red Hedeman Mile at 19-1 odds

Our First Corona nails down $126,512 Sunland Park Winter QH Derby (Gr. 2)

$350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (Gr. I) set for Sunday

$85,000 Albert Dominguez Memorial is the co-feature

Let go at 19-1 odds, Storms Surprise slipped through a narrow opening and exploded to a 4 and one-half-length win in the $85,000 Red Hedeman Mile at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday.

Owned by the legendary El Paso horsewoman and hall of fame athlete Margaret Varner Bloss, Storms Surprise produced a resounding effort in his first attempt at one mile. The George Maloof Futurity winner from Albuquerque relaxed kindly for jockey Isaias Cardenas while a stormy pace ensued between Attila’s Hurricane, Indication NM and Key To The Venture.

Cardenas allowed his mount to settle while planning an attack maneuver on the second turn. The New Mexico-bred bay gelding by Attila’s Storm shot through a hole passing the quarter mile marker to seize control of the race. The confident two-year-old romped to a dazzling score in a time of 1:38.54, leaving his rivals far behind. Despite his stakes winning resume, Storms Surprise paid $40.80 on a $2 win ticket.

Bloss has been an influential racehorse owner at Sunland Park and New Mexico for well over six decades. Her past champions include Houseafire, Tie Breaker, Set Records, Half Smash, Show Courts and Some Smash just to name a few. She and the late Tennis legend Margaret Osborne DuPont bred the winner.

Owen Bringhurst trains the double stakes winner. His talented star now owns 3 wins from 6 starts. The Red Hedeman Mile win was worth $51,000. Storms Surprise has earned over $111,000 in just one year of racing.

The 4-5 favorite Attila’s Hurricane suffered his first career defeat going the route distance. The sprinting sensation trained by Bart Hone set a strong pace throughout under jockey Isais Enriquez but could not maintain a quick tempo through the stretch. He settled for runner-up honors. Indication N M finished a neck back in third. The Governor’s Cup Stakes winner stalked from a wide position throughout but could only muster a minor rally in the stretch. Eddy County Stakes winner Jenson’s Miracle was fourth.

With a jet propelled start, top qualifier Our First Corona nailed down a driving neck win in the 46th running of the $126,512 Sunland Park Winter Quarter Horse Derby on Saturday.

The classy Corona Cartel gelding trained by Mike Joiner made no mistakes in the 400 yard dash and broke fast under jockey Salvador Martinez. The talented sophomore parlayed an excellent start to a half-length lead midway home, and the Arizona-bred speedster would not relinquish control of the gas pedal. Racing as the mild 5-2 favorite, Our First Corona maintained a high finishing speed and beat a determined Tres Seis Nueve to the wire. The winning time of 19.254 seconds earned a 90 speed index.

Our First Corona’s second win of the meet was worth a large $59,461 for owners Kevin and Robin Allred. The Sunland Winter Quarter Horse Derby champion owns 4 wins, 3 seconds and 1 third from 11 starts. With a building six figure bankroll, the rising stakes winner should be a major force in stakes races next year.

Tres Seis Nueve ran a very bold race and came up just short with jockey Jesse Levario in the saddle. The Tres Seis colt completed his second stakes placed effort in 2012. He was also second beaten a neck in the Hobbs America Derby at Zia Park last October. Juan M. Gonzalez’s hard trying colt completed a highly productive year. He earned $22,772 on Saturday, pushing his yearly take to over $138,000.

Feature Mr Who and jockey Esgar Ramirez finished up in third, beaten three-parts of a length. He ran hard but was no threat to the top two finishers.

Live racing resumes on Sunday at 12:25 p.m. The $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (Gr. I) is the featured 10th race at 400 yards. Prospect to the Top is the 3-1 morning line favorite in the classic. A jam packed field of 12 New Mexico-bred stars converges in the $85,000 Albert Dominguez Memorial (9th race) at one and one-sixteenth miles.

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SunlandParkRacetrack and Casino

Friday, December 28, 2012

Wasting No Corona wins $197,007 Sunland Park Winter Quarter Horse Futurity (Gr. 2)

$350,000 Championship atSunlandPark(Gr. I) draws star power on Sunday

$85,000 Albert Dominguez Memorial lures a great field of 12 on Sunday

$126,512 Sunland Park Winter Quarter Horse Derby (Gr. 2) set for Saturday

Jenson’s Miracle headlines $85,000 Red Hedeman Mile on Saturday

Under elite rider Esgar Ramirez, Wasting No Corona sped to an impressive 1 length win in the 47th running of the $197,007 Sunland Park Winter Quarter Horse Futurity on Friday at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino. The rapidly improving gelding Coronas Leaving Who gelding has blossomed under the care of trainer Victor Rodriguez-Flores and was simply too much for his rivals in the 400 yard Grade 2 event.

Wasting No Corona broke on top and stayed there under a cool ride from Ramirez to collect his third straight win since breaking his maiden atLoneStarParklast November. The 4-1 shot earned a $92,594 pay day for owner Anna M Crowson ofMidlandTexas. The winning time of 19.079 seconds earned a 94 speed index. Loyal supporters of Wasting No Corona received $10.20 on a $2 win ticket.

Rodriguez-Flores also trained the runner-up in Ramblin Cartel who is also owned by Crowson Racing.

Speed Regard ended up third followed by Jess Makin Waves. Top qualifier and 3-2 favorite Icu Deity failed to repeat his trial performance and fizzled in fifth.

A jam packed stakes filled weekend is coming up highlighted by the 12th running of the $350,000 Championship atSunlandPark (Gr. I) on Sunday.

In 2011, the prestigious 400 yard classic was won by World Champion Quarter Horse Cold Cash 123. The 2012 edition (10th race) displays an excellent field on 10 Quarter Horse stars led the ultra-consistent four year-old stallion Prospect to the Top. An efficient horse for course, Prospect to the Top won the 2011 West Texas Derby over Sunland soil. The son of Coronas Prospect is coming off a stellar win in the Zia Park Quarter Horse Championship last fall. His sparkling resume also shows a win in the 2012 All American Gold Cup over former Championship atSunlandPark winner Noconi and a second place finish in the 2011 All American Derby behind Llano Teller. Oscar Rincon will ride the probable favorite who carries earnings of over three quarter million dollars.

Mike Joiner’s resurgent stakes horse DM Streakn Thru Fire is finding his best form just in time for the Championship. Despite a slow break, he finished a solid second to Prospect to the Top in the Zia Park Championship. Prior to that effort, he was second in the Lovington Stakes atZiaParkand defeated the classy JD Baccarat. The four-year-old son of Walk Thru Fire is closing in on $400,000 in earnings from 5 career wins. He was a close third behind Cold Cash 123 in the 2011 Rainbow Derby. Cody Jensen will ride the gelding.

Other big stars in the Championship atSunlandParkare $1.7 million stakes winner Llano Teller, Jess Burner winner First Blazin Love, Texas Classic Derby winner The Long Knife, Jess Featureme Quick and Miracle Snow.

Sunday’s $85,000 Albert Dominguez Memorial Handicap (9th race) draws a terrific field of 12 runners going 1 and 1/16 miles. Leading New Mexico-bred stars like Johnie Jamison Stakes winner Nuggets Please, On Down The Road, Our Choice, Attitude E Racer and Desert Gamble are competing. Combined lifetime earnings of the field stands at over $2.5 million.

The $126,512 Sunland Park Winter Quarter Horse Derby (5th race) at 400 yards and the $85,000 Red Hedeman Mile (10th race) on Saturday are excellent betting races. Mike Joiner’s Our First Corona was the top qualifier for theDerby. Eddy County Stakes winner Jenson’s Miracle rates the second choice at 7-2 odds and looks for his second straight route win in the Red Hedeman for trainer Johnie Nall. The fast Attila’s Hurricance should be the speed of the race and is the 5-2 favorite. Locally owned Indication N M relishes the distance. Double stakes winner Thermal is listed at 5-1 odds.

Post time on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday is 12:25 p.m.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Show Some Magic delivers in $106,000 Riley Allison Futurity

Show Some Magic did just that by delivering a driving win in the 50th running of the $106,000 Riley Allison Futurity at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Sunday.

With leading rider Miguel Hernandez at the controls, Show Some Magic parlayed a stalking trip into a successful journey in the one mile prep for both the $130,000 Mine That Bird Derby on Feb. 23 and the $800,000 Sunland Park Derby (Gr. III) on March 24.

A very well built colt by Any Given Saturday, Show Some Magic realized some of his potential in the Riley Allison producing the best effort of his young career. The former Saratoga maiden winner was well placed down the backstretch and generated a punishing move on the far turn to take the lead. The chestnut two-year-old responded eagerly and was called upon by Hernandez in mid-stretch.

Show Some Magic fought off a valiant effort from 23-1 long shot Stormdriver. The two talented freshmen were locked in battle for almost a furlong but Show Some Magic pulled away by one-half length in the final yards. The 6-5 favorite was timed in a good 1:38.19.

Winning the Riley Allison Futurity for the second straight year were owners Kirk and Judy Robison of El Paso, Texas. Last season’s leading owners at Sunland Park may have another star in the barn. They won the 2011 edition with the talented runner Isn’t He Clever who went on to win the Borderland Derby and finish second in the Sunland Derby (Gr. III). Show Some Magic ran 5th in the Grade 2 Hopeful Stakes behind eventual Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Shanghai Bobby. The Riley Allison Futurity win was worth $63,000, pushing his lifetime earnings to nearly $163,000.

A jubilant winner trainer Henry Dominguez said that the Mine That Derby on Feb. 24 might be his next assignment.

Stormdriver ran the race of his life in the one mile text. Jockey Ry Eikleberry claimed foul on the winner for bearing out in the stretch. Following a stewards’ inquiry, there was no change in the order of finish. The runner-up earned $23,320 for owner Mark Breen of Scottsdale, Arizona. Stonebridge Gold wound up in third place and was no threat to the top two finishers.

There will be no live racing on Tuesday (Christmas Day). A special live racing card will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 26 starting at 12:25 p.m.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hennesey Smash rockets to win $50,000 Bold Ego Handicap

$106,000 Riley Allison Futurity set for Sunday

New Mexico-bred sensation Hennesey Smash rocketed to victory against open company in the 21st running of the $50,000 Bold Ego Handicap at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday.

Although facing very stiff competition, the five time winner received plenty of betting support and was actually the second choice at 3-1 odds. Under jockey Casey Lambert, Hennesey Smash exploded from just off the pace in third position down the back stretch of the five and one-half furlong sprint. Heading into the stretch, the three-year-old chestnut filly took off like a rocket and engulfed the Churchill Downs invader and even money favorite Alydarla. Lambert asked for more speed down the lane and Hennesey Smash responded in kind. The multiple stakes winner kept rolling in deep stretch and held off a late charge from Pyrite on My Mind to win by three parts of a length.

The daughter of Roll Hennessy Roll and the blue chip mare Some Smash collected her sixth career win and third stakes victory in a time of 1:03.93. She has only lost once in her young career. Winning owner Barbara Coleman of Farmington, New Mexico picked up a check worth $30,000. Her outstanding filly has earned over $201,000 under the direction of the talented trainer Todd Fincher.

The Bold Ego Handicap victory was the third stakes win of the new meet for the red hot trainer-jockey combination of Todd Fincher and Casey Lambert. The dynamic duo has also won the New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap with Rose’s Desert and the Challenger Six Handicap with Rollickin Red.

25-1 long shot Pyrite on My Mind closed with energy to gain second place under jockey Francisco Giles. The runner-up finished over 3 lengths in front of Alydarla. The latter was shipping in from Kentucky following at allowance win at Churchill Downs for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Zia Park Distaff winner African Rose was burned up in an early speed duel with Alydarla and finished well back in sixth place.

Live racing resumes on Sunday at 12:25 p.m. The 50th running of the $106,000 Riley Allison Futurity at one mile is the featured 10th race. There will be no live racing on Tuesday (Christmas Day). A special live racing card will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 26 starting at 12:25 p.m.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Friday, December 21, 2012

Saturday’s $50,000 Bold Ego Handicap draws a strong field

$100,000 Riley Allison Futurity coming up on Sunday

No live racing on Christmas Day

Special live racing card on Wednesday, Dec. 26

Two terrific Thoroughbred stakes race are on the menu this weekend at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino. Saturday’s $50,000 Bold Ego Handicap and the $100,000 Riley Allison Futurity on Sunday take center stage.

A power field of 8 fillies and mares will race in the Bold Ego (10th race) at five and one-half furlongs. Zia Park Distaff winner African Rose should draw plenty of support with jockey Isaias Enriquez in the saddle. African Rose has enjoyed an outstanding 2012 campaign winning 5 races from 11 tries. The speed merchant is trained by leading conditioner Justin Evans.

New Mexico-bred stakes sensation Hennessy Smash will inject plenty of speed into the feature. Steve Asmussen saddles Churchill Downs allowance winner Alydarla. Henry Dominguez trains Belmont Park shipper Rose’s Turn.

Sunday’s $50th running of the $100,000 Riley Allison Futurity will be contested at one mile for the first time. Kirk and Judy Robison’s Show Some Magic brings in graded stakes experience. I Stand Alone and Holiday Mischief are also ones to watch.

Post time on Saturday and Sunday is 12:25 p.m. There will be no live racing on Tuesday (Christmas Day). A special Wednesday racing card will be presented on Dec. 26 at 12:25 p.m.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Back Seat Roll trounces foes in $85,000 Enchantress Stakes

Little Bit Southern defends title in $85,000 Lou Wooten and Sydney Valentini Handicap

Back Seat Roll trounced her foes with a powerful final quarter mile and came home a 3 and 1/2 length winner in the $85,000 Enchantress Stakes at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Sunday.

The accomplished stakes winning filly had no problems negotiating the one mile trip in her first attempt around two turns. The daughter of Roll Hennessy Roll relaxed kindly for jockey Enrique Gomez down the backstretch. When Gomez asked for run, his filly delivered a commanding performance and pulled away from her rivals at will. The 3-5 favorite was coming off big stakes win at Zia Park and Ruidoso Downs, and she was well prepared on Sunday by trainer Henry Dominguez.

Back Seat Roll scored her fourth consecutive win and should be the leading New Mexico-bred two-year-old filly of 2012. Her Enchantress victory was worth $51,000 for owners Kirk and Judy Robison of El Paso, Texas. The stylish filly has won over $207,000 in her freshman season. Her impressive record stands at 4 wins, 1 second and 1 third from 6 starts. Back Seat Roll should be in for a promising three-year-old campaign in 2013.

Todd Fincher’s Desertsmagic produced a gallant run to earn second place honors with jockey Casey Lambert in the saddle. The runner-up finished with good energy but was no threat to the winner. The Desert God filly earned $18,275 for owners Dale Taylor and Lee Lewis.

Dandy Devona R F, the Dessie and Fern Sawyer Futurity winner, found her best strides in deep stretch. She and jockey John Rochabrun wound up third, beaten 7 lengths.

Little Bit Southern made no mistakes and successfully defended her title in the $85,000 Lou Wooten and Sydney Valentini Handicap at 400 yards. With an alert start, Little Bit Southern and jockey Salvador Martinez held off a late bid from Wonwabbitwon to win by a neck in a time of 19.078 seconds. The high quality mare by Southern Corona found her top form to annex the lucrative stakes races for New Mexico-bred fillies and mares. The durable multiple stakes winner picked up a $51,000 paycheck for owner Edilberto Estrada of Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is trained by Miguel Castillo.

Let go at nearly 7-1 odds, Little Bit Southern returned $15.40 on a $2 win ticket. She has earned over $314,000 in her very productive career.

Wonwabbitwon finished a very strong second under jockey Alejandro Medellin. The hard charging Rabbits Rainbow mare finished a half length in front of Snow Regard. Wonwabbitwon was also second in her previous race – the New Mexico Cup Fillies and Mares Championship at Zia Park. Call Me a Blazn Chic, the heavy favorite at 3-5, broke slowly and never fired. The half million dollar stakes winner finished well back in seventh place.

Live racing resumes on Tuesday at 12:25 p.m.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Rollickin Red demolishes field in $85,000 Challenger Six Handicap

Rollickin Red demolished his rivals and remained unbeaten over Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino soil after scoring a dominant 3 and 1/4 length victory in the Challenger Six Handicap at 870 yards on Sunday.

With expert rider Casey Lambert in the irons, the amazing distance expert broke well from the #7 post position and quickly assumed a powerful presence in the New Mexico-bred stakes race. Rolling comfortably in the 3-path, Rollickin Red pulled clear of the field in mid-stretch and was striding powerfully down the lane. 18-l long shot De Wagons Strawfly made a pronounced wide move but could not advance on the 3-5 public choice. Lambert said he had a “ton of horse left at the wire.”

Trainer by Todd Fincher, Rollickin Red earned his third career stakes win. The four-year-old son of Roll Hennessy Roll holds 7 wins from 10 career starts has won all five of his starts at Sunland Park. He covered the distance in a fast 44.739 seconds, good for 93 speed index. The winner picked up a $51,000 pay day for the Rollickin Red Partners of El Paso, Texas. Rollickin Red has dominated this division and has earned over $233,000.

Fincher and Lambert have two stakes wins so far in the young meet. The highly successful trainer-jockey combination won last weekend’s $85,000 New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap with the high powered filly Rose’s Desert.

The resurgent speedball De Wagons Strawfly ran a fine race to gain second despite a very wide journey. The upstart broke from the #8 post position and was unable to save any ground throughout the feature. The 870 lover finished second over 3 lengths in front of defending champion Kc Royal Flush. The latter could not generate a stretch kick and finished a well beaten third.

Call Me A Blazn Chic, a winner of over a half million dollars, puts her glossy resume on the line in Sunday’s $85,000 Lou Wooten and Sydney Valentini Handicap (4th race) at 400 yards. Double stakes winner Back Seat Roll and Desertsmagic collide in the $85,000 Enchantress Stakes (10th race) at one mile.

Post time on Sunday and Tuesday is 12:25 p.m.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Friday, December 14, 2012

An Absolut Diamond qualifies fastest for $252,659 Shue Fly

KC Royal Flush defends title in Saturday’s $85,000 Challenger Six Handicap

$85,000 Lou Wooten and Sydney Valentini Handicap and $85,000 Enchantress on Sunday

An Absolut Diamond roared to an impressive trial win and set the top qualifying time for the $252,659 Shue Fly at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Friday.

One of two impressive trial winners from trainer Mike Joiner, An Absolut Diamond put away a challenge from One Blazin Kimbo to win by a half-length and clocked the 400 yards in a rapid 19.003 seconds with a tail wind blowing. The son Ketel Won earned a 96 speed index. Joiner’s first winner on the day was Krazy Good who was timed in a good 19.062. Both trial winners were ridden by Salvador Martinez. The Joiner stable will be very tough in this season’s Shue Fly finale which will be held on Saturday, January 5, 2013.

Here is the list of qualifiers: An Absolut Diamond, 19.003; Krazy Good, 19.062; One Blazin Kimbo, 19.089; Jess Reuben James, 19.134; Runin Sixes, 19.229, Coronas Hot Pink, 19.25; Taleas Liberty, 19.282; Jess Sue Me, 19.299 and Fames Magic, 19.302.

Defending champion KC Royal Flush meets arch rival Rollickin Red in a terrific Saturday feature – the $85,000 Challenger Six Handicap (5th race) at 870 yards. Both horses are multiple stakes winners are experts at the distance.

Call Me A Blazn Chic puts her glossy resume on the line in Sunday’s $85,000 Lou Wooten and Sydney Valentini Handicap (4th race) at 400 yards. Double stakes winner Back Seat Roll and Desertsmagic collide in the $85,000 Enchantress Stakes (10th race) at one mile.

Post time on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday is 12:25 p.m.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Nuggets Please closes fast to win $85,000 Johnie L. Jamison Stakes

Rose’s Desert cruises to win $85,000 New Mexico St. Racing Commission Handicap

Nuggets Please closed with a furious rush to win the $85,000 Johnie L. Jamison Stakes at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Sunday.

Under jockey Derek Bell, Nuggets Please fired a career best to defeat stable mate Our Choice by 2 and 1/4 lengths in a dramatic finish. Both horses were trained by Justin Evans who ranks as the 10th leading Thoroughbred trainer in the country in terms of races won. His new star defeated a field which carried over $3 million in lifetime earnings.

Nuggets Please has thrived under the care of Evans in recent months. The former $15,000 claimer ripped through his first career stakes win in a time of 1:17.30. He has 7 wins overall. Bell kept his mount free and clear of traffic issues and was nearly 9-wide coming off the far turn. The stretch runner kicked into high gear after racing in last place at the half mile marker. Nuggets Please raced as a 14-1 under dog and paid $30.20 to win. He picked up a $51,000 payday for the Stable H. M. A. of Tempe, Arizona.

Our Choice, last season’s top older New Mexico-bred sprinter, also ran a terrific race but had to settle for second place honors. The powerful closing son of Desert God closed with interest in upper stretch after racing 8-wide on the turn. The valiant runner-up was ridden by Ry Eikleberry. He is also owned by the Stable H. M. A. The all-Justin Evans – Stable H.M.A. exacta paid a strong $166.20 on a $1 ticket.

The pace setting Mostly Dust finished in third after leading for much of the six and one-half furlongs. The Weston Martin trainee held on to third place, over 3 lengths in front of Attitude E Racer.

The impeccable New Mexico-bred filly Rose’s Desert dominated her foes by 5 lengths in the $85,000 New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap at six furlongs.

She caught the distance in a good 1:11 under a snug hold with speed in reserve.

When jockey Casey Lambert asked for run, Rose’s Desert responded with a bold run and completely engulfed the front runners. The multiple stakes winning filly roared to the front and open up a sizeable. Lambert simply hand rode the champion through the stretch for a commanding victory. Rose’s Desert collected her seventh career win and successfully defended her 2011 title in the New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap.

Under the direction of Todd Fincher, Rose’s Desert has scored four stakes wins and has won seven of her 10 career starts. The prohibitive favorite earned $51,000 for owner Joe Peacock. Already considered one of the all-time best New Mexico-bred fillies, Rose’s Desert carries a bankroll of over $420,000.

Gossip Dome made a nice late move for trainer Jamie Zamora to earned second place. The runner-up was no threat to the winner but ran courageously under jockey Ry Eikleberry. Mulitple stakes winning filly Iplaytricks finished third with a late effort under jockey Ken Tohill. Iplaytricks was coming off a stakes win over Rose’s Desert at Zia Park last October.

Live racing resumes on Tuesday at 12:25 p.m.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Saturday, December 8, 2012

First Blazin Love speeds to win $85,000 Jess Burner Memorial Handicap

Safe Trip takes $50,000 KLAQ Handicap

First Blazin Love broke like a bullet and roared to a three-quarter length win in the 16th running of the $85,000 Jess Burner Memorial Handicap at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday. Last season’s Shue Fly champion beat a terrific group of New Mexico-bred stakes winners with combined lifetime earnings in excess of $2.5 million.

With an alert start under jockey Jesse Levario, First Blazin Love seized control early in the 400 yard feature. The three-year-old colt by Chicks a Blazin beat his elders with a sustained burst of speed down the lane. He was timed in a sharp 19.071 seconds, good for a 94 speed index. Despite coming off a stakes win at Zia Park, First Blazin Love was let go at a generous 5-1 odds. The Paul Jones trainee paid $12.40 to win.

The newly crowned Jess Burner winner improved his record to 6 wins from 13 starts. He picked up a paycheck worth $51,000 for owners Dwayne Johnson, Lisa Saumell and Sammy Martinez. First Blazin Love has career earnings of over $351,000.

Klassic Strawfly finished a game second. Untangled Vines finished a head back in third. The 3-2 favorite Miracle Snow wound up in fourth.

Safe Trip took a driving three quarter length win in the $50,000 KLAQ Handicap going five and one-half furlongs. The heavy favorite at 3-5 used a stalking trip to pounce on the lead on the far turn, and the chestnut gelding held off a furious late charge by Lion Hall to win the meet’s first Thoroughbred stakes race.

Since shipping to New Mexico from Monmouth Park in New Jersey, Safe Trip has taken the state by storm winning three straight races including two stakes races for winning trainer Weston Martin. Miguel Hernandez rode the fast son of Tale of the Cat. Winning owners Molly Morris and Raymond Simpson received $30,000 in first place monies. Safe Trip sped through the feature in a fast 1:03.

Lion Hall ran a big race for trainer Chris Hartman. The grey roan son of Lion Heart used a powerful late threat to nearly catch the winner in the final yards. Derek Bell rode the runner-up. Defending champion Jam’n Jackson finished third, beaten over a length.

Our First Corona is the top qualifier for the $126,455 Sunland Park Winter Quarter Horse Derby. The finale will be run on Saturday, Dec. 29. Here is the list of qualifiers: Our First Corona, 18.854; Fittest, 18.952; Really A Fantasy, 18.992; Tres Seis Nueve, 19.034; Feature Mr Who, 19.044; Lethal Volt, 19.093, Dashing Yes Perry, 19.113; Hauling The Cash, 19.156, Abra Cadabraa, 19.215 and Storm Winds, 19.252.

Racing resumes on Sunday at 12:25 p.m. The $85,000 Johnie L. Jamison Stakes (10th race) and the $85,000 New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap (8th race) are the main events.

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Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Friday, December 7, 2012

$85,000 Jess Burner Handicap and $50,000 KLAQ Handicap on Saturday

$85,000 NM St. Racing Commission and $85,000 Johnie Jamison Stakes on Sunday

Icu Deity is top qualifier for $196,878 Sunland Park Winter Quarter Horse Futurity

This weekend’s racing menu at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino is loaded with four big stakes races.

Saturday’s $85,000 Jess Burner Memorial Handicap (5th race) and the $50,000 KLAQ Handicap (10th race) have terrific fields. Multiple stakes winners Miracle Snow, Fury of the Storm, First Blazin Love and Genuine American help make up an outstanding Jess Burner at 350 yards for New Mexico-breds.

Hot Springs Stakes winner City Sage, Zia Park sensation Safe Trip and defending champion Jam’n Jackson collide in a speed fueled KLAQ Handicap at five and one-half furlongs.

The impeccable stakes winner Rose’s Desert meets arch rival Iplaytricks in the $85,000 New Mexico St. Racing Commission Handicap (8th race) on Sunday going 6 furlongs. An extremely deep field converges in the $85,000 Johnie L. Jamison Stakes (10th race) at six and one half furlongs. Last season’s leading New Mexico-bred sprinter Our Choice is running along with multiple stakes winners Attitude E Racer, Smash Dancer and Desert Hennessy. Combined lifetime earnings of the field stands at over $3 million.

Mike Joiner’s Icu Deity ran a career best and set the top qualifying time for the $196,878 Sunland Park Winter Quarter Horse Futurity. The muscular son of Fdd Dynasty rolled through his 400 yard trial in a fast 18.94 seconds. Under jockey Salvador Martinez, the impressive freshman soundly defeated Ramblin Cartel by nearly 2 lengths.

The finale to the Sunland Winter Quarter Horse Futurity will be run on Friday, Dec. 28. Here is the list of qualifiers: Icy Deity, 18.941; Wasting No Corona, 19.178, Scoot With Da Loot, 19.190; Obamano, 19.216; Ramblin Cartel, 19.217, Im Rowdy James, 19.246; Speed Regard, 19.262, Jess Makin Waves, 19.263, Izoro, 19.279 and Winners Adversary, 19.28.

Post time on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday is 12:25 p.m.

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Wednesday, Novemberr 28, 2012
$16 million Live Racing Season begins Friday, Dec. 7
2012-13 Sunland Park Stakes Schedule
$800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) highlights the meet

Contact: Eric Alwan (575) 874-5248

Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino unveils an impressive $16 million live horse racing

season on Friday, December 7 and continues through Tuesday, April 16, 2013.

The 76-day meet provides an abundant inventory of prestigious stakes races. Horsemen will relish an

enviable a purse distribution of over $16 million. Average daily purses for the new meet should exceed
the $210,000 level.

The meet’s highlight is the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) to be run on Sunday, March 24, 2013.
The 11th running of the Kentucky Derby prep race will be the culmination of a stakes filled card
worth over $1 million. Last year’s 1 and 1/8 mile classic was won by Daddy Nose Best for trainer

Steve Asmussen. Julien Leparoux piloted the winner for owners Mary and Robert Zollars.

The $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) is an integral part of the new point system for entry into the

2013 Kentucky Derby. The winner of Sunland Park’s biggest race will receive 50 qualifying points.

The runner-up earns 20 points, followed by 10 for third and 5 points for fourth. 50 points will be

extremely valuable for a Kentucky Derby candidate.

.
Mine That Bird won the 2009 Kentucky Derby following a fourth place finish in the Sunland Derby (Gr. III).

The $130,000 Mine That Bird Derby (formerly named the Borderland Derby) is held in his honor. The

lucrative event on Saturday, Feb. 23 serves as the main local prep for the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III).
.
Sunland Park Director of Racing Dustin Dix said, “Our effort in making Sunland Park racing a more prominent
signal has been very successful. Last year’s Sunland Derby (Gr. III) day was a record breaker. The upcoming
season looks very promising strengthened by terrific stables. We are also excited about the Sunland Derby (Gr. III)
being an important part of the new Kentucky Derby qualifying point system.”

The lucrative Sunland Derby (Gr. III) day program also includes the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks, The $85,000 La Coneja
Stakes, the $85,000-added Harry Henson Handicap, the $85,000 guaranteed New Mexico Breeders’ Derby, the
$85,000 guaranteed New Mexico Breeders’ Oaks and the $85,000 guaranteed Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes
for open horses racing six and one-half furlongs.

The 2013 Sunland Park Oaks winner receives 50 qualifying points towards the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.

The 12th running of the $350,000 Grade 1 Championship at Sunland Park takes place on Saturday, Dec. 30.
2011 World Champion Quarter Horse Cold Cash 123 won last year’s Championship.

The $100,000-added Riley Allison Futurity traditionally lures top two-year-old thoroughbred talent. The 50th renewal
wlll be run at a new distance of one mile on Sunday, Dec. 23.

New Mexico-bred thoroughbreds run for $85,000 guaranteed pots in the Johnie L. Jamison Stakes
and the New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap on Dec. 9; the Enchantress Stakes on
Dec. 16; the Red Hedeman Mile on Dec. 29; the La Senora Stakes on Jan. 12; the Pepsi Cola
Stakes on Jan. 19; the Peppers Pride Stakes on Feb. 16 and the NMSU Stakes on March 17.

New Mexico-bred Quarter Horses compete for $85,000 purses in the Jess Burner Memorial Handicap on Dec. 9;
the Challenger Six Handicap at 870 yards on Dec. 15; the Lou Wooten – Sydney Valentini Handicap on Dec. 16,

The NMHBA Quarter Horse Stakes on Feb. 17, the Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap on March 10 and the Sunburst
Stakes on April 13 are also worth $85,000. Foals of 2010 run in the $275,000 estimated Shue Fly Stakes at 400 yards
on Jan. 5, 2013.

The $100,000-added Bank of America New Mexico Challenge at 440 yards and the $275,000 estimated
New Mexican Spring Futurity (restricted Grade 1) at 300 yards will both be run on Sunday, April 7.

The 2012 Copper Top Futurity is split into two divisions. Both the colts and geldings division and the fillies
division are valued at $60,000-added. The two 4 and 1/2 furlong features for New Mexico-bred two year-olds will be run on Saturday, April 13.

Many of the region’s top Thoroughbred stakes runners converge in the $85,000 Sunland Park Handicap
at 1 and 1/8 miles on Sunday, April 14.

The Grade I $250,000 estimated West Texas Futurity featuring the nation’s elite two-year-old
Quarter Horses is also set for Sunday, April 14.

Live racing will be held on a Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday basis for most of the season.
Racing on Wednesday, Dec. 26 and Thursday, January 31, 2013 are the only exceptions. There will be no live
racing on Tuesday, Dec. 25 (Christmas) and Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013 (Super Bowl Sunday). Post time is 12:25 p.m.

Two-time Sunland Park training champion Henry Dominguez is absolutely loaded with a terrific stable.
Dominguez won last year’s training title. Leading owners Kirk and Judy Robison have an arsenal of fine runners.

Leading Thoroughbred rider Miguel Hernandez will back along with the top Quarter Horse jockey Esgar Ramirez.

Here is the list of stakes races for the upcoming season:

Saturday, Dec. 8 – Jess Burner Memorial Handicap. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds.
and up. New Mexico-breds. 400 yards.

Saturday, Dec. 8 – KLAQ Handicap. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds and up.
5 and 1/2 furlongs.

Sunday, Dec. 9 – Johnie L. Jamison Stakes. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds and up.
New Mexico-breds. 6 and 1/2 furlongs.

Sunday, Dec. 9 – New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds and up. Fillies and mares. New Mexico-breds. 6 furlongs.

Saturday, Dec. 15 – Challenger Six Handicap. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds
and up. New Mexico-breds. 870 yards.

Sunday, Dec. 16 – Lou Wooten – Sydney Valentini Handicap. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed. RG I. Three year olds and up.
Fillies and mares. New Mexico-breds. 400 yards.

Sunday, Dec. 16 – The Enchantress Stakes. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed. Two year olds. Fillies.
New Mexico-breds. One Mile.

Satruday, Dec. 22 – Bold Ego Handicap. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds and up.
Fillies and mares. 5 and 1/2 furlongs.

Sunday, Dec. 23 – Riley Allison Futurity. Purse $100,000-added. Two year olds. One Mile.

Friday, Dec. 28 – Sunland Park Winter Quarter Horse Futurity. Grade 2. Purse $175,000 estimated, $50,000-added.
Two year olds. 400 yards.

Saturday, Dec. 29 – Sunland Park Winter Quarter Horse Derby. Grade 2. Purse $50,000-added. Three year olds.
400 yards.

Saturday, Dec. 29 – Red Hedeman Mile. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed. Two year olds.
New Mexico-breds. One Mile.

Sunday, Dec. 30 – The Championship at Sunland Park. Grade I. Purse $350,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds and up. 400 yards.

Sunday, Dec. 30 – Albert Dominguez Memorial Handicap. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds and up. New Mexico-breds. 1 and 1/16 miles.

Saturday, Jan. 5 – The Shue Fly. Purse $275,000 estimated. Foals of 2010. New Mexico-breds.
400 yards.

Sunday, Jan. 6 – Winsham Lad Handicap. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds and up.
One Mile and 70 yards.

Saturday, Jan. 12 – La Senora Stakes. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds.
Fillies. New Mexico-breds. 6 furlongs.

Saturday, Jan. 19 – Pepsi Cola Stakes. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds.
New Mexico-breds. 6 furlongs.

Sunday, Jan. 20 – KOFX – Radio Handicap. Grade 2. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds and up.
350 yards.

Saturday, Jan. 26 – El Paso Times Handicap. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds.
Fillies. 6 and 1/2 furlongs.

Saturday, Feb. 2 – Budweiser Handicap. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds and up.
5 furlongs.

Saturday, Feb. 9 – El Diario Handicap. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds and up.
Fillies and mares. 6 and one-half furlongs.

Sunday, Feb. 10 – Curribot Handicap. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds and up.
1 and 1/16 miles.

Saturday, Feb. 16 – The Peppers Pride Stakes. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed.
Four year olds and up. Fillies and mares. New Mexico-breds. One Mile.

Sunday, Feb. 17 – NMHBA Quarter Horse Stakes. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed. RG 2. Three year olds.
New Mexico-breds. 400 yards.

Saturday, Feb. 23 – Mine That Bird Derby. Purse $130,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds.
1 and 1/16 miles.

Sunday, Feb. 24 – The Island Fashion Stakes. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds.
Fillies. One Mile.

Saturday, March 2 – West Texas Maturity. Grade 2. Purse $65,000-added.
Three year olds and up. 400 yards.

Saturday, March 9 – Mt. Cristo Rey Handicap. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds and up. New Mexico-breds. 4 and 1/2 furlongs.

Sunday, March 10 – Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds and up. New Mexico-breds. 350 yards.

Sunday, March 17 – New Mexico State University Stakes. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed.
Four year olds and up. New Mexico-breds. One Mile and 70 yards. .

Sunday, March 24 – Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds and up. 6 and 1/2 furlongs.

Sunday, March 24 – La Coneja Stakes. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed. Four year olds and up.
Fillies and mares. New Mexico-breds. 5 and 1/2 furlongs.

Sunday, March 24 – Harry W. Henson Handicap. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds and up. Fillies and mares. One Mile.

Sunday, March 24 – New Mexico Breeders’ Oaks. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds. Fillies. New Mexico-breds. 1 and 1/16 miles.

Sunday, March 24 – New Mexico Breeders’ Derby. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds. New Mexico-breds. 1 and 1/16 miles.

Sunday, March 24 – Sunland Park Oaks. Purse $200,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds. Fillies. 1 and 1/16 miles.

Sunday, March 24 – Sunland Derby (Gr. III). Purse $800,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds. 1 and 1/8 miles.

Saturday, March 30 – West Texas Derby. Grade 3. Purse $175,000 estimated, $65,000-added.
Three year olds. 400 yards.

Sunday, March 31 – Red Cell New Mexico Challenge. Grade 3. Purse $50,000-added.
Three year olds and up. 870 yards.

Saturday, April 6 – New Mexican Spring Fling. Purse $50,000-added.
Two year olds. New Mexico-breds. 300 yards.

Saturday, April 6 – Czaria Handicap. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds and up.
Fillies and mares. 6 furlongs.

Sunday, April 7 – Bank of America New Mexico Challenge Championship. Grade I.
Purse $100,000-added. Three year olds and up. 440 yards.

Sunday, April 7 – New Mexican Spring Futurity. RG I. Purse $275,000 estimated, $100,000-added.
Two year olds. New Mexico-breds. 300 yards.

Saturday, April 13 – West Texas Juvenile Stakes. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed.
Two year olds. 300 yards.

Saturday, April 13 – Sunburst Stakes. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds.
Fillies. New Mexico-breds. 350 yards.

Saturday, April 13 – Copper Top Futurity. Purse $60,000-added for Two-year-old Colts and Geldings Division.
Purse $60,000-added for Two-year-old Fillies Division. New Mexico-breds. 4 and 1/2 furlongs.

Sunday, April 14 – West Texas Futurity. Grade I. Purse $250,000 estimated, $100,000-added.
Two year olds. 300 yards.

Sunday, April 14 – Sunland Park Handicap. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds and up. 1 and 1/8 miles.

Tuesday, April 16 – The Getaway Stakes. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds. 870 yards.

Tuesday, April 16 – KHEY/Y-96 Sprint. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds. 6 furlongs.

Tuesday, April 16 – Adios Amigos Claiming Handicap. Purse $35,000.
Three year olds and up. Claiming $12,500. 1 and 1/4 miles.

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