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Sunland Derby

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Sunland Derby

Contenders and Morning Line Odds

PPHorse JockeyWgtTrainerM/L
1Mucho Gusto (KY) J Talamo122B Baffert8-5
2Anothertwistafate (KY) J J Hernandez122B D Wright3-1
3Hustle Up (NM) S Laviolette122T W Fincher5-1
4Wicked Indeed (KY) L Contreras122S M Asmussen6-1
5Cutting Humor (KY) J R Velazquez122T A Pletcher8-1
6Walker Stalker (NM) A Medellin122J R Gonzalez, Jr.15-1
7Pasamonte Man (NY) K S Tohill122J H Marr20-1
8Collusionist (CO) A J Juarez, Jr.122O A Martinez, Jr.25-1
9Diamond Blitz (KY) K J Desormeaux122J K Desormeaux15-1
10Eye Cloud (KY) I D Enriquez122T A Norris30-1

Sunland Derby Race History

The Sunland Derby is held annually every March at Sunland Park Racetrack in Sunland Park, New Mexico. The Sunland Derby is contested by three-years-old willing to race at a distance of 1 1/8 miles (or 9 furlongs), and is run on a dirt surface, left-handed track. The maximum weight requirement for fillies is 117 pounds and for colts and geldings it’s 122 pounds.

The Sunland Derby began racing in 2003 and has been held every year except 2016. It was cancelled that year because of an Equine herpesvirus 1 outbreak. The American Graded Stakes Committee labeled it as a grade three status race in 2010. It features a purse of $800,000 and its main sponsor is WinStar Farm. From 2003-2008, the Sunland Derby was known as the WinStar Derby.

The Sunland Derby is a part of the Kentucky Derby prep race circuit and rewards the winner with 50 Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifying points. No horse has won both the Sunland Derby and the Kentucky Derby in the same year, but Mine That Bird did compete in the event and later go on to win the Kentucky Derby. He finished fourth in the 2009 Sunland Derby before wining the

About the Sunland Derby

The Sunland Derby is run out of Sunland Park in New Mexico. As an official leg of the Road to the Kentucky Derby, it offers 50-20-10-5 points to the top four finishers. It is listed as a Grade-III stakes race and offers an $800,000 purse.

Inaugurated in 2003, the first race was won by Excessivepleasure who clocked a time of 1:42.84 over 8 ½ furlongs. The current speed record holder is Firing Line, who won the 2015 Sunland Derby and is also best known for finishing behind American Pharoah in the 2015 Kentucky Derby.

The only other notable winner of this race is Thor’s Echo, the 2005 Sunland Derby winner and 2006 Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion.

In fact, many Sunland winners have gone on to compete in the Kentucky Derby and various legs of the Triple Crown but none have placed as well as Firing Line. Kelly Leak (2009), Tice The Appeal (2011), Daddy Nose Best (2012), Governor Charlie (2013), Chitu (2014) and Hence (2017) all won the Sunland Derby as three-year-old colts, but failed to impress at the American Classics. The best finish amongst them is 9th in the Preakness.

The 2016 Sunland Derby was called off to a sudden, and since resolved, outbreak of an equine herpevirus.

Victor Espinoza and Martin Garcia are the winningest jockeys in Sunland Derby history, each scoring twice in back-to-back years. Espinoza won in 2006 and 2007, while Garcia was the winner in 2013 and 2014.

Bob Baffert owns three wins in the Sunland Derby, winning his most recent two with jockey Martin Garcia aboard Governor Charlie and Chitu.

Sunland Derby Records

The biggest margin of victory at the Sunland Derby is 14 1/2 lengths, which was set by Firing Lane in 2015.

The record for $2 win was set in 2004 by Hi Teck Man at $94.60.

The record for fastest time at the Sunland Derby at its current 1 1/8-mile distance was set by Firing Lane in 2015, with a winning time of 1:47.39. The fastest winning time at its former distance of 8 furlongs was 1:42.84, set by Excessivepleasure in 2003.

The record for most Sunland Derby wins by a jockey is two, with Victor Espinoza (2006, 2007) and Martin Garcia tied for the record. Bob Baffert, with three wins (2006, 2013, 2014), holds the record for most Sunland Derby wins by a trainer. The record for most wins by an owner is two: Michael E. Pegram (2006, 2013). Espinoza, Baffert, and Pegram teamed up to win the Sunland Derby together with Wanna Runner in 2006.

Sunland Derby Past Winners

2006 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Thor’s Echo is the most famous horse to win the Sunland Derby, taking the crown in 2005 when it was known as the WinStar Derby. Jockeys Pat Day, Mike E. Smith, and Gary Stevens, and trainers Doug O’Neill, Bob Baffert, and Steve Asmussen are other notable Sunland Derby winners.

*2016 No Running (March 20 renewal cancelled in aftermath of equine herpes virus outbreak that put Sunland Park in quarantine procedures on Jan. 21)

2019Cutting HumorJohn R. VelazquezTodd A. Pletcher
2018Runaway GhostTracy J. HebertTodd W. Fincher
2017HenceAlfredo J. Juarez, Jr.Steven M. Asmussen
2015Firing LineGary L. StevensSimon Callaghan
2014ChituMartin GarciaBob Baffert
2013Govenor CharlieMartin GarciaBob Baffert
2012Daddy Nose BestJulien R. LeparouxSteven M. Asmussen
2011Twice the AppealChristian Santiago ReyesJeff Bonde
2010EndorsementRobby AlbaradoShannon Ritter
2009Kelly LeakMike E. SmithMichael Machowsky
2008Liberty BullGerard MelanconThomas M. Amoss
2007Song of NavaroneVictor EspinozaHenry Dominguez
2006Wanna RunnerVictor EspinozaBob Baffert
2005Thor’s EchoCorey S. NakataniDoug F. O’Neill
2004Hi Teck ManRicardo JaimeJohnnie L. Nall
2003ExcessivepleasurePat DayDoug F. O’Neill