Monday, December 02, 2013
Sunland Park Racetrack will open its 76-day season with an 11-race program on Friday. Post time for the first race is set for 12:15 p.m. (MST).
Friday’s opening-day card features six 400-yard Sunland Park Winter Futurity (G2) trials. A total of 43 2-year-olds have been entered, including Bill B. Price’s Fatal Policy, a homebred gelding by First Down Dash trained by Trey Wood. Fatal Policy has earned $72,435 from eight starts, and he was a finalist in the September 2, $2.6-million All American Futurity (G1) at Ruidoso Downs.
Ricky Ramirez will ride Fatal Policy from post 2 in the fourth of six trials.
Another contender from the Wood barn, Cruzin, is the 6-5 morning-line favorite in the last heat. The bay gelded son of Swingin Jess has won two of four outs, and he was the fifth-fastest qualifier to the 400-yard, $409,000 Dash For Cash Futurity (G1) at Lone Star Park on October 5.
The 10 fastest qualifiers will meet in the $50,000-added Sunland Park Winter Futurity final on December 27.
Sunland Park’s rich stakes schedule features 53 races -- 33 for Thoroughbreds and 20 for Quarter Horses -- worth an estimated $6 million. The track’s Thoroughbred slate is topped by the 1 1/8-mile, $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3) on March 23.
A major Triple Crown prep since its first running in 2003, the Sunland Derby is New Mexico’s only graded Thoroughbred stakes. In addition to the Sunland Derby, the track’s March 23 program will feature five other stakes, including the 1 1/16-mile, $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks for 3-year-old fillies pointing to the May 2 Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs; and three $85,000 New Mexico-bred stakes.
Other major Thoroughbred stakes include the 1-mile, $100,000-added Riley Allison Futurity for 2-year-olds on December 22; the 1 1/16-mile, $120,000 Mine That Bird Derby for 3-year-olds on February 22; and the 1 1/8-mile, $75,000 Sunland Park Handicap on April 13.
Saturday’s 400-yard, $85,000 Jess Burner Memorial Handicap (RG1) is one of 20 stakes on Sunland Park’s $2.6-million Quarter Horse stakes program, which is highlighted by the 400-yard, $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (G1) on December 29.
Quarter Horse racing’s final Grade 1 stakes of the season, the Championship has been a stepping stone to championship seasons for many horses, as its past winners include Streakin Sin Tacha (2002), Ketel Won (‘07), Cold Cash 123 (‘11), and reigning champion aged stallion Prospect To The Top, who won the race last year.
Other highlights of the Sunland Park Quarter Horse stakes schedule include the 400-yard, $300,000 Shue Fly Stakes (RG2) for New Mexico-bred 3-year-olds on January 4; the 400-yard, $100,000-est. West Texas Maturity (G3) on March 1; the 300-yard, $250,000-est. New Mexican Spring Futurity (RG2) for state-bred 2-year-olds on April 6; and the 56th running of the 300-yard, $300,000-est. West Texas Futurity (G2) on April 13.
Sunland Park’s meet runs through April 15. For more information, including a condition book and complete stakes schedule, visit the track’s website at www.sunland-park.com.