Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Govenor Charlie, a colt by Midnight Lute who is expected to make his next start in the May 4, $2-million Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs, was named horse of the meet at Sunland Park Racetrack, which ended its 76-day season on Tuesday.
Owned by Mike Pegram and trained by Bob Baffert, Govenor Charlie scored a five-length victory as the 13-10 favorite in the 1 1/8-mile, $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3) on March 24. The Kentucky-bred colt was also named Sunland's top 3-year-old Thoroughbred.
Baffert also won the March 24, $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks with Midnight Lucky, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Midnight Lute who was the meet's top 3-year-old Thoroughbred filly. The filly races for Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman, and she is being pointed to the Grade 1, $1-million Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs.
Other meet Thoroughbred honors went to the following horses – Show Some Magic (top 2-year-old colt or gelding), African Rose (top older mare), Isn't He Clever (top sprinter), Forest Mouse (top route horse and older horse), Hennessey Smash and Rose's Desert (co-top New Mexico-bred filly or mare), Lady Genius (top New Mexico-bred 2-year-old filly), Storms Surprise (top New Mexico-bred 2-year-old colt or gelding), Back Seat Roll (top New Mexico-bred 3-year-old filly), Hush's Storm (top New Mexico-bred 3-year-old), Attitude E Racer (top New Mexico-bred older horse), Lester's Echo (top New Mexico-bred sprinter), Bradium (top claimer), and Groushy Apadana (most improved horse).
Prospect To The Top, a 5-year-old stallion by the Corona Cartel stallion Coronas Prospect, was named the top Quarter Horse of the Sunland Park meet. Racing for Joel Tavarez from the barn of trainer Brandon Muniz, Prospect To The Top earned a half-length victory in the 400-yard, $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (G1) on December 30.
Other meet Quarter Horse honors were earned by the following horses – WR Golden Eagle (top 2-year-old filly), Wasting No Corona (top 2-year-old colt or gelding), PJ Chick In Black (top 3-year-old filly), Our First Corona (top 3-year-old colt or gelding), All About Larry (top 870-yard horse), Rollicking Red (top New Mexico-bred 870-yard horse), Moonifisant (top New Mexico-bred 2-year-old colt or gelding), and Slew By You (top New Mexico-bred 2-year-old filly).
Also, Justin Evans was the meet's leading Thoroughbred trainer. Evans saddled the winners of 63 races from 256 starters, 19 more winners than runner-up Henry Dominguez. Ry Eikleberry won 55 races, three more than runner-up Miguel Hernandez, to lead all Thoroughbred jockeys.
J. Kirk and Judy Robison were Sunland's leading Thoroughbred owners. Residents of El Paso, Texas, the Robisons won 13 races from 74 starts, four more than runner-up Lane Seliger of Amarillo, Texas. The Robisons campaign Isn't He Clever, a 4-year-old gelding by 2004 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Smarty Jones who won the 6 1/2-furlong, $75,000 Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes on Sunland Derby Day.
Esgar Ramirez rode the winners of 48 races to lead all Quarter Horse jockeys. Mike Joiner won 20 races to lead all Quarter Horse trainers, and Dennis and Norma Crowson's Crowson Racing was the meet's leading Quarter Horse owner.
Meanwhile, Sunland Park's 2012-13 meet generated nearly $61 million in mutuel handle, which was nearly even with similar figures from the 2011-12 season. Almost $55 million of that was wagered at off-track sites.
Sunland Derby Day, March 24, attracted an attendance of 18,184. Handle that day reached a state-record $3,820,986, of which $3,450,282 was wagered off track.
“We're encouraged by these numbers, especially off track,” said Sunland Park director of racing operations Dustin Dix. “We will continue to look for ways to grow the off-track handle and revitalize the on-track handle.”