The $800,000 Sunland Derby (gr. III) March 24 lost a couple of high-profile horses in Overanalyze and Titletown Five, who are going elsewhere. But the 1 1/8-mile event still drew several interesting Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) prospects, headed by the Bob Baffert-trained pair of Shakin It Up and Govenor Charlie, both sons of Midnight Lute .
Shakin It Up, owned by Mike Pegram and Dennis Cardoza, is coming off a victory in the seven-furlong San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) and will be making his two-turn debut. David Flores, who was aboard for the San Vicente, again will be in the saddle and they will break from post 4 in the nine-horse field.
Govenor Charlie, owned solely by Pegram, showed a lot of courage breaking his maiden last time out at a mile in only his second career start. With Martin Garcia aboard, Governor Charlie out-dueled the highly regarded Footbridge to win by a neck. Garcia will be back aboard and will break from post 7.
The race also drew the first three finishers of the local Mine That Bird Derby—Dry Summer, Show Some Magic, and Stormdriver. But the big danger in here could be the Doug O'Neill-trained Mudflats, whose fifth-place finish in the San Vicente was much better than it looks on paper.
The son of Tapit , purchased privately by O'Neill for Little Red Feather Racing and Keh S. Pike following the gelding's maiden victory at Aqueduct Racetrack in December, had a disastrous trip in the San Vicente, but was running on strongly at the end to be beaten only 2 1/2 lengths. Mudflats drew post 9 and will have Edwin Maldonado back aboard.
Dry Summer has won two in a row at Sunland Park for trainer Joel Marr after racing unsuccessfully at Santa Anita Park. In the Mine That Bird Derby, he stalked the pace throughout and drew clear in the final sixteenth to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Show Some Magic and Stormdriver both ran well, but had no apparent excuses.
The intriguing horse in here is the lightly raced Just Win Baby, a son of The Daddy who rebounded big-time off his career debut sprinting at Santa Anita when he stretched out to two turns and rallied in the stretch to win by 2 1/2 lengths, earning a respectable 85 Beyer figure. Trained by Oscar Garcia, Just Win Baby will break from the rail under Alonso Quinonez.
No big Derby prep would be complete without a Todd Pletcher-trained horse. Pletcher decided to bypass the race with Overanalyze and point that colt for the Arkansas Derby (gr. I), but will run recent maiden winner Abraham, a son of Distorted Humor who won by a length going 1 1/8 miles in the slop at Gulfstream. Regular rider John Velazquez will be back aboard.
Rounding out the field is another recent Santa Anita maiden winner, Saint Prado, a son of Kitten's Joy who had previously finished third in the Lost the Fog Stakes at Golden Gate Fields. Rafael Bejarano comes in from California to ride the Jeff Bonde-trained colt.
$800,000 Sunland Derby (Race 11, approximate post 5:40 p.m.), 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles