Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Sunland Park Racetrack opens its 76-day Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse meet with an 11-race program on Friday. Post time for the first race will be 12:25 p.m. (MST).
Sunland's opening-day card includes seven 400-yard Sunland Park Winter Futurity (G2) trials. A total of 69 2-year-olds have been entered, including graded stakes winners Secret Courage, Blackberry Czech, and Im Rowdy James.
Secret Courage will be shortening in distance following his upset victory in the 440-yard, $200,000 Southwest Juvenile Championship (G1) at Zia Park on November 25. Blackberry Czech ships in from California, where he scored a head win in the May 20, $268,000 Kindergarten Futurity (G2) at Los Alamitos.
Im Rowdy James brings a three-race win streak into his Winter Futurity trial. Racing at Arapahoe Park near Denver last summer, the Ivory James gelding won the 330-yard, $75,000 Cherry Creek Futurity (RG3) for Colorado-breds on June 17.
The 10 fastest qualifiers from Friday's trials will meet in the $50,000-added Sunland Park Winter Futurity final on December 28.
Quarter Horse stakes trials continue on Saturday with four 400-yard Sunland Park Winter Derby (G3) trials. A total of 35 3-year-olds have been entered in four heats, including graded stakes winner Top Gun B. The winner of last year's Sunland Park Winter Futurity, Top Gun B will break from post 5 in the first trial.
During its 2012-13 meet, Sunland Park is expected to offer average purses of $210,000 per day. The track's stakes schedule will once again be topped by the 1 1/8-mile, $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3) – New Mexico's only graded Thoroughbred stakes – on Sunday, March 24. The winner of this season's Sunland Derby will receive 50 Kentucky Derby (G1) qualifying points.
“Our effort in making Sunland Park racing a more prominent signal has been very successful,” said Sunland Park director of racing Dustin Dix. “Last year’s Sunland Derby day was a record breaker, and the upcoming season looks very promising strengthened by terrific stables. We are also excited about the Sunland Derby being an important part of the new Kentucky Derby qualifying point system.”
For more information on Sunland Park's 2012-13 season, visit the track's website at www.sunland-park.com.