Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Sunland Park Racetrack ended its 54th racing season on Tuesday, recording increases in wagering handle and average daily purse distribution.
Handle figures during the 77-day meet reached more than $62 million, an increase of nearly 5 percent from the 2010-11 season. On Sunland Derby Day, March 25, a track and state record $3,586,225 was wagered on the track's 13-race all-Thoroughbred program.
Sunland Park's average daily handle was $806,308, which was helped by a 6.4-percent gain in out-of-state handle on the track's signal, as California wagering sites imported more racing from Sunland during its meet.
The track's on-track handle decreased 6.6 percent, from $86,849 last year to $81,147 this year, but the decline was offset by the $43,500 per day increase in out-of-state handle.
“We're going to end up being up in our (total) handle for our racing season, and it's tough for a lot of tracks to say that these days,” said director of racing operations Dustin Dix.
Also, Sunland Park paid average daily purses of $227,420, up less than 1 percent over last season.
Daddy Nose Best, a Kentucky-bred colt by Scat Daddy racing for Bob and Cathy Zollars of Dallas, was named Sunland's Thoroughbred horse of the meet and top 3-year-old colt or gelding. Daddy Nose Best won the meet's richest race, the $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3), and he is expected to make his next start in the Grade 1, $2-million Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5.
Other meet Thoroughbred honors went to Sunland Park Oaks winner Princess Arabella (top 3-year-old filly), two-time stakes winner Isn't He Clever (2-year-old colt/gelding), Twelve Twenty Two (older mare, female sprinter and router), Imco Spirit (older sprinter colt/gelding), Fog Alert (router), Our Choice (New Mexico-bred sprinter colt/gelding), That's Who (New Mexico-bred 3-year-old colt/gelding), Rose's Desert (New Mexico-bred 3-year-old filly), Desert Hennessy (New Mexico-bred older router colt/gelding), Kiss My Hennessy (New Mexico-bred 2-year-old colt/gelding), Hennessy Road (New Mexico-bred 2-year-old filly), Ribald (most improved), and Max Bean and Catch The Bean (claiming horses).
Sunland Park's top Quarter Horse, T Bill Stables Inc.'s Cold Cash 123, won the December 31, $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (G1). The now 4-year-old gelding by Oak Tree Special is also the reigning AQHA world champion.
Other Quarter Horse honors went to Rylees Boy (top older stallion or gelding), TF Featured Effort (3-year-old colt/gelding), Kool Angel (3-year-old filly), El Duero (2-year-old colt/gelding), PJ Chick In Black (New Mexico-bred 2-year-old filly), Here Kittykittykitty (New Mexico-bred older stallion/gelding), First Blazin Love (New Mexico-bred 2-year-old colt/gelding), and Coronas Boy (distance horse).
Henry Dominguez was Sunland Park's leading Thoroughbred trainer with 55 wins, five more than runner-up Justin Evans. Roberto Sanchez led all Quarter Horse trainers with 25 wins from 138 starters.
The meet's leading Thoroughbred jockey, Miguel Hernandez, rode the winners of 71 races, 14 more than runner-up Enrique Gomez. Esgar Ramirez won 56 races to lead all Quarter Horse jockeys for the fifth time.
J. Kirk and Judy Robison of El Paso were Sunland's leading Thoroughbred owners with 15 wins from 56 starters, including Isn't He Clever, the winner of the December 30, $104,200 Riley Allison Futurity and the February 25, $150,000 Borderland Derby. The Robisons' starters won at a 27-percent clip and collected purse earnings of $641,475.
The SM Cattle Export Co. and Jaime Dominguez were Sunland Park's top Quarter Horse owners with nine victories from 31 starters.