Favored Black Hills closed stoutly from the rear of the on the final turn and romped to a five-length victory in the $100,000 Sunland Park Handicap (VIDEO) in New Mexico April 17.
Owned by Class Racing Stable, the 7-year-old gelding by Judge T C won for the fourth time in five starts at Sunland. Jockey Miguel Hernandez guided Black Hills to victory for trainer Bart Hone in an excellent time of 1:48.59 for the 1 1/8-mile distance on a fast track.
Black Hills was coming off a disappointing seventh-place effort in the Maxxam Gold Cup Handicap at Sam Houston Race Park March 5. He began the year winning the Winsham Lad Stakes at Sunland Jan. 8.
Cape Time and Imco Spirit set a solid pace (:22.67, :45.76, 1:10.73) for the distance with Black Hills trailing the seven-horse field while racing off the rail. Black Hills gained ground on the outside into the second turn and was full of run when asked for a response by Hernandez in the stretch.
Runner-up Schramsberg also came from off the pace for Jorge Bourdieu, but could not match strides with the winner while edging Quiet Again and Ken Tohill by a half-length for second.
A solid performance on the New Mexico circuit for some time, Black Hills registered his 10th lifetime win in 23 starts and extended his earnings to $444,830. Juan Centeno bred the dark bay/brown gelding in Florida. He is out of the Tactical Advantage mare Little Sioux.
The 8-5 choice carried 119 pounds and paid $5.20, $3.20 and $2.60. Schramsberg, winner of the John B. Connally Turf Cup (gr. IIIT) at Sam Houston Jan. 29, returned $5 and $4 and completed at $21.80 exacta. Quiet Again was $3.60 to show.
Infinite Resource finished fourth, followed by Cape Time, Imco Spirit and Tizsosexy.