Local Experience Pays Off for Runaway Ghost in Sunland Derby

Runaway Ghost winning the Sunland Derby (gr. III) - Coady Photography Never underestimate the advantage of local experience when horses square off in a major race at an unfamiliar track. Familiarity with the sometimes quirky racing surface (and the high elevation) of Sunland Park certainly paid off for Runaway Ghost in Sunday’s $800,000 Sunland Derby (gr. III). Conditioned by the successful local trainer Todd Fincher, Runaway Ghost was one of just two horses in the field with experience [...]

Spot Plays for Sunland Derby Day

Fifty qualifying points on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” leaderboard are on the line Sunday afternoon in New Mexico when a full field of three-year-olds break from the gate in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby. The featured event on a card that includes six other stakes offers horseplayers a number of challenging races to dissect. I focused my attention on the latter part of the card and came up with these two horses I plan to build my day [...]

Keying Peace in the Sunland Derby

Sunland Park - Coady Photography Over the years, Sunland Park in New Mexico has garnered a reputation as a very fast and speed-favoring racetrack, producing quick times and often favoring horses that secure the early lead. That has certainly been the case for many renewals of the $800,000 Sunland Derby (gr. III), a nine-furlong Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race that will be held for the fifteenth time this Sunday. However, assuming that the track is always [...]

Mine That Bird Derby Highlights Sunday Card at Sunland Park

Sunland Park - Coady Photography On a bit of a quiet weekend of racing, Sunland Park in New Mexico will take center stage on February 25th when hosting a nine-race card that includes three stakes races. The first of the featured events is the $75,000 Island Fashion Stakes (Race 7), a one-mile race for three-year-old fillies that serves as a local prep for the March 25th Sunland Park Oaks. A small field of six has been entered, with the filly [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10 — 1/30/18

Bolt d'Oro - © Benoit Photo. In what could be considered the calm before the storm, very little happened last weekend on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, but with three major prep races scheduled for February 3rd, there’s no doubt that the action is about to heat up quickly. The upcoming races are the $250,000 Withers Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct, the $350,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, and the $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes [...]

West Texas Maturity Trials at Sunland Park on Friday, February 17

The mixed meet at Sunland Park is gearing up for several big Quarter Horse stakes as well Defending champion, Once Over, will run in trials Friday for the West Texas Maturity as their premier. Thoroughbred event, the $800,00 Sunland Derby, a prep race for the Grade 1, Kentucky Derby.   Sunland Park recently announced a schedule change to feature Quarter Horse racing on Friday afternoons. Effective January 27, the New Mexico racetrack will be offering all-Quarter Horse programs [...]