Thursday, March 20, 2014
Midnight Hawk, a gray or roan colt by Midnight Lute, is the 5-2 morning-line choice for Sunday’s 1 1/8-mile, $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3) at Sunland Park.
Trained by Bob Baffert for owners Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings Inc., Kitchen, Pegram et al., Midnight Hawk is coming off of a second-place finish to California Chrome in the March 8, $300,000 San Felipe Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita. The colt has earned $171,000 from four races, and his two career wins include a 1 3/4-length victory in the 1-mile, $100,000 Sham Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita on January 11.
Mike Smith, a native of Dexter, New Mexico, who was recently inducted into the New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame, will ride Midnight Hawk from post 7 on Sunday.
A two-time winner of the Sunland Derby, Baffert will also be represented by Chitu. A Kentucky-bred son of Henny Hughes racing for Tanma Corporation, the colt will be making his first start since February 8, when he ran second, a half of a length behind Candy Boy, in the 1 1/16-mile, $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita.
Chitu drew the outside post in the field of nine and will be ridden by Martin Garcia. Baffert and Garcia teamed to win last year’s Sunland Derby with the Midnight Lute colt Govenor Charlie.
Other Sunland Derby contenders include Tanzanite Cat, a Graeme Hall colt owned by James and Ywachetta Driver and trained by Cody Autrey, and WinStar Farm LLC’s Commissioner, a homebred colt by A.P. Indy racing from the barn of Todd Pletcher.
Tanzanite Cat ships in from Oaklawn Park, where he scored a 1 1/4-length win in the 1-mile, $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes on February 17, while Commissioner has won one of his two outs during the current Gulfstream Park meet, and his stakes record at the south Florida track includes a sixth-place finish in the Grade 2, $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes on February 22.
Justin Evans, the leading trainer during the current Sunland Park meet, will be represented by Tony A. Pennington’s Rebranded, a Kentucky-bred Tiznow colt who is coming off of a second-place finish to the New Mexico-bred Proceed in the $120,000 Mine That Bird Stakes at Sunland Park on February 22. Last season, the colt rallied for a two-length win in the 1-mile, $100,000 Riley Allison Futurity at Sunland.
Ry Eikleberry, Sunland’s leading Thoroughbred jockey, has been named to ride Rebranded.
The Sunland Derby is one of seven stakes worth more than $1.4 million scheduled for Sunday’s all-Thoroughbred race program. Post time for the race, which has become a major Triple Crown prep and is New Mexico’s only graded stakes for Thoroughbreds, is set for 5:40 p.m. (MDT).
The complete lineup for the Sunland Derby, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds -- Bourbonize (Ramon Vasquez), 6-1; Garen (Victor Espinoza), 10-1; Commissioner (John Velazquez), 7-2; Global Strike (Javier Castellano), 8-1; Tanzanite Cat (Norberto Arroyo), 6-1; Lawly’s Goal (Irwin Rosendo), 20-1; Midnight Hawk (Mike Smith), 5-2; Rebranded (Ry Eikleberry), 12-1; and Chitu (Martin Garcia), 4-1.
In addition to the solid stakes program, Sunday’s events at Sunland Park will include an opportunity to meet the cast and crew of “50-to-1,” the movie about the New Mexico-based Mine That Bird’s upset victory in the 2009 Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs. This “meet-and-greet” event will take place at 10 a.m. in the track’s Signature Showroom.
Also on Sunday, Daily Racing Form correspondent Jay Privman will conduct a handicapping seminar, beginning at 11 a.m. in the Signature Showroom.
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Sunday’s 1 1/16-mile, $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks for 3-year-old fillies has drawn a field of 6, many of whom have their sights set on the May 2, $1-million Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs.
Morning-line favorite Awesome Baby, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Awesome Again racing for Kaleem Shah Inc. and trained by Bob Baffert, ships in from California, where he has scored wire-to-wire victories in two graded stakes at Santa Anita.
All told, Awesome Baby has won three of five starts and has banked $230,250. Mike Smith will ride the filly from post 5 in the Sunland Park Oaks.
Another contender, Michael B. Tabor’s Lucky For You, was a $310,000 purchase at the 2012 Keeneland September Yearling Sale in Lexington, Kentucky. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the dark bay or brown filly by Malibu Moon is coming off of a five-length victory as the 17-10 favorite in a 1 1/16-mile, $47,000 maiden special weight route at Gulfstream Park on February 15.
The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds -- Lucky For You (Javier Castellano), 5-2; Let Her Dance (Irwin Rosendo), 12-1; D’ya Knowwhatimean (Victor Espinoza), 9-2; George’s Peach (Ry Eikleberry), 10-1; Awesome Baby (Mike Smith), 6-5; and Empress Of Midway (John Velazquez), 7-2.
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Sunday’s stakes action at Sunland Park will kick off with the fifth race, the 1 1/16-mile, $85,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Derby (R) for state-bred 3-year-olds.
D E Lover, a chestnut son of the Pioneering stallion So Long Birdie, will be stretching out in distance off of his three-quarter length win in a 6-furlong, $32,200 non-winners-of-three allowance for New Mexico-breds on March 8. The stakes-placed gelding races for E.B. Racing and trainer Tony Sedillo.
D E Lover is one of two winners from as many starters from the Birdonthewire mare Alicita My Love, a 14-year-old Florida-bred mare who ran second in the 2004 Ohio Valley Handicap at Mountaineer Racetrack in West Virginia.
The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds -- Mancation (Irwin Rosendo), 10-1; Mays Or Mantle (Luis Contreras), 3-1; Pancho Who (Carlos Madeira), 8-1; Rising Giant (Ricardo Jaime), 8-1; Clay Court (Dusty Shepherd), 7-2; D E Lover (Joe Martinez), 5-2; Desert Mystery (Alfredo Juarez Jr.), 5-1; and Delayed By Who (Enrique Gomez), 12-1.
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A field of six sprinters, topped by morning-line favorite Wine Police, has been entered in the 6 1/2-furlong, $75,000 Bill Thomas Memorial Handicap.
A 6-year-old gelding by Speightstown racing for J. Kirk and Judy Robison of El Paso, Texas, and trained by Henry Dominguez, Wine Police will be making his first start since November 2, when he ran eighth, just 4 3/4 lengths behind winner Secret Circle, in the 6-furlong, $1.5-million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita.
Wine Police has earned $337,037 from 12 starts, and his five wins include a three-quarter length victory in last year’s $150,000 Remington Sprint Cup Stakes at Remington Park.
The Robisons and Dominguez will also be represented by Isn’t He Clever, a 5-year-old Smarty Jones gelding who won this race last year.
The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey and weight assignments and morning-line odds -- Patriot’s Voyage (Martin Garcia, 118), 4-1; Spanish Jazz (Ry Eikleberry, 118), 6-1; Wine Police (Luis Contreras, 120), 2-1; Isn’t He Clever (Enrique Gomez, 120), 5-2; Warren’s Knockout (Alfredo Juarez Jr., 120), 5-1; and L.A. Weekend (Geovanni Franco, 120), 5-1.
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Leading trainer Justin Evans will send out three of the seven entries in the 1-mile, $75,000 Harry Henson Handicap for fillies and mares.
One of Evans’ entries, Judge Lanier Racing’s African Rose, has won both of his starts during the current Sunland Park meet, including the 6 1/2-furlong, $50,000 El Diario Handicap on February 8. The 5-year-old daughter of the Indian Charlie stallion Bwana Charlie scored a two-length victory in last year’s Harry Henson Handicap.
Another contender, Ace Racing Stable’s Warrens Venedalucy, has won her only out over the track, last year’s 5 1/2-furlong, $50,000 Bold Ego Handicap.
The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey and weight assignments and morning-line odds -- With A Miracle (Irwin Rosendo, 118), 3-1; Wine Thief (Alejandro Medellin, 119), 6-1; African Rose (Alfredo Juarez Jr., 120), 5-2; Hard To Resist (Luis Contreras, 118), 4-1; Ricspretentiousgal (Geovanni Franco, 119), 5-1; Paloma Mesa (Jose Beitia, 116), 12-1; and Warrens Venedalucy (Ry Eikleberry, 118), 9-2.
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A field of nine, including the undefeated morning-line favorite My Bikini Fell Off, has been entered in the 1 1/16-mile, $85,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Oaks (R) for state-bred sophomore fillies.
A homebred daughter of the Elusive Quality stallion Elusive Jazz owned by Brian Mundell and trained by Bart Hone, My Bikini Fell Off has won both of her outs and has banked $30,360 during the current Sunland Park meet. The filly is the first starter produced by the unraced Grand Slam mare Unconstitutional.
Martin Garcia will ride My Bikini Fell Off from post 4.
Other contenders include Linda Hunter’s Roll Set Roll, a multiple stakes-placed Roll Hennessy Roll filly trained by Todd Fincher.
The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds -- Birdie Brew (Alejandro Medellin), 10-1; D E Come On (Irwin Rosendo), 12-1; Princess Chime (Enrique Gomez), 12-1; My Bikini Fell Off (Martin Garcia), 5-2; Rollsetroll (Alfredo Juarez Jr.), 7-2; Renewed Vows (Ry Eikleberry), 5-1; B B Looker (Miguel Fuentes Jr.), 6-1; Zasha (John Velazquez), 8-1; and Happy N Harmony (Carlos Madeira), 6-1.
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Ruth Summers’ Tricky R. puts her win streak on the line in the 5 1/2-furlong, $85,000 La Coneja Stakes (R) for New Mexico-bred fillies and mares.
A 7-year-old daughter of the Phone Trick stallion Favorite Trick trained by Camie Telford, Tricky R. has won three consecutive races. On January 30, the mare came off of a 3 1/2-month layoff to score a 2 1/2-length victory in a 5-furlong, $32,900 allowance-optional claiming ($50,000) sprint for New Mexico-bred distaffers.
Nancy Summers has been named to ride Tricky R. in the La Coneja.
The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds -- Lakehouse Fun (Luis Contreras), 5-1; Soaring Dea (Ry Eikleberry), 6-1; Park Lane Lass (Dusty Shepherd), 8-1; Gossip Dome (Alfredo Juarez Jr.), 6-1; Funnyoushouldask (Alejandro Medellin), 3-1; Tricky R. (Nancy Summers), 7-2; Way To Go Gerda (Enrique Gomez), 10-1; and Piratz Stash (Carlos Madeira), 4-1).