Dry Summer relished a slow early pace and surged home to gain a definitive 1 1/2-length win in the $120,000 Mine That Bird Derby at Sunland Park | BloodHorse.com Track Profile">Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino Feb. 23 (VIDEO).
Racing as the 13-10 favorite in a field of six 3-year-olds, Dry Summer finished with speed in reserve to win comfortably in the key local prep race for the $800,000 Sunland Derby (gr. III) March 24. The Mine that Bird Derby, named for the New Mexico-based winner of the 2009 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), was formerly the Borderland Derby.
The well-bred son of Any Given Saturday out of the stakes-winning Street Cry mare Greenstreet was ridden to victory by Carlos Madeira for trainer Joel Marr and owners Sam Britt and Michael House. Dry Summer was bred in Kentucky by Richard Shultz and was purchased for $120,000 as a 2-year-old in training last April at the Ocala Breeders' Sale Co.
Dry Summer stalked in second off a slow tempo down the backstretch set by Ize In Command, who led through quarter mile splits of :26.04, :51.17, and 1:14.82.
The tepid pace only made matters easier for Dry Summer when he was asked for run by Madeira. The athletic chestnut ridgling swept to the front in the stretch run, and while rivals Show Some Magic and Stormdriver were running well, they could not make an impact on the winner. Dry Summer galloped through the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:45.32.
"I think everything worked out extremely great," Marr said in the winner's circle. "I could not believe how slow they were going on the front end. No one could close with that pace. He was in a good spot throughout. When he came to New Mexico, he was ready to run. We plan on keeping him happy and running in the Sunland Derby."
As a 2-year-old Dry Summer raced for trainer Jeff Mullins and won the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf at Del Mar last September. The Mine That Bird Derby triumph was his fourth career win from eight starts. A distant fourth in the Sham Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita Park Jan. 5, he is 2-for-2 for Marr this winter after a two-length allowance victory Jan. 27 at Sunland.
The multiple stakes winner earned $72,000 and has now banked $205,680 in his career. With his fondness for the Sunland surface, Dry Summer should be a major threat for the Sunland Derby in one month.
Riley Allison Futurity winner Show Some Magic finished a good second under jockey Miguel Hernandez. The Any Given Saturday colt was within striking range throughout, but could not muster enough to threaten Dry Summer. He finished a neck better than Stormdriver, ridden by Ry Eikleberry.
Doug O'Neill's stretch-running California shipper Greeley Awesome was compromised by the slow pace and finished fourth. Ize In Command was fifth with Hardliner trailing. Invasive Cocktail was a veterinarian's scratch.