Sunland Park officials in Albuquerque announced May 29 that the track's premier race, formerly known as the WinStar Derby, will be renamed the Sunland Derby. It will carry an $800,000 purse with potential to reach $1 million.
Liberty Bull, third behind Denis of Cork and Sierra Sunset in the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) last time out, made that race look even better with a sharp two-length victory in the rich $600,000 WinStar Derby at New Mexico's Sunland Park March 16.
These days, much of Steve Asmussen's focus is on his pair of Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contenders, Pyro and Z Fortune. But on March 16, Asmussen has an opportunity to score some serious earnings with another pair of 3-year-olds, as he will enter Poni Colada and Ablaze With Spirit in the $600,000 WinStar Derby at Sunland Park.
The 3-year-old Dixie Union colt will either run in the WinStar Derby or Lane's End Stakes.
Poni Colada remained unbeaten in New Mexico with an eight-length laugher in the $100,000 Borderland Derby for 3-year-olds at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Feb. 16.
Not even a change to green silks on St. Patrick's Day for Any Given Saturday could deny 2-year-old champ Street Sense a hard-earned victory in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III). Also on Saturday, rapidly emerging stars Cobalt Blue and Curlin burst on the Derby scene with impressive scores in their two-turn debuts.
A slightly wide trip proved to be no problem for Song of Navarone, who ditched his rivals when urged home by jockey Victor Espinoza and tallied his first stakes win in the rich $600,000 WinStar Derby Sunday at Sunland Park in New Mexico.
The Derby trail hits four fronts this weekend, with all eyes on Tampa Bay Downs, Oaklawn Park, Santa Anita, and Sunland Park. Although the races in general are more about potential stars than proven stars, that certainly doesn't apply to the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) which features the match-up of the year, so far.
After running one-two last year, trainer Bob Baffert ships Hal and Patti Earnhardt III's Law Breaker from Santa Anita to the Sunland Park for Sunday's nine-furlong WinStar Derby. With a $600,000 purse, it's worth coming back for more...especially when you'll have the likely favorite.
Borderland Derby winner Indy Wildcat could have returned to New Mexico's Sunland Park for Saturday's rich WinStar Derby, but trainer and part owner Paula Capestro chose instead to stay home for the April 8 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).
With many of the leading 3-year-olds in Florida skipping town because of what most horsemen feel is the unfavorable scheduling of the Florida Derby (gr. I), Gulfstream's premiere event drew a wide variety of horses, most of them non-stakes winners. The headliner will be the undefeated Barbaro, winner of all four of his starts.
The Bob Baffert-trained duo of Wanna Runner and Sky Diving, both disappointing in their most recent starts, lead a field of nine 3-year-olds entered for Saturday's $600,000 WinStar Derby at New Mexico's Sunland Park.
Mike McCarty's Doctor Decherd, who won the Aventura Stakes Jan. 7 at Gulfstream Park by a nose, ships to the Southwest to run in the $100,000 Borderland Derby on Sunday at New Mexico's Sunland Park.
Thor's Echo, who couldn't hold off Southern Africa when the two met the last time, turned the tables on his rival in the $500,000 WinStar Derby at Sunland Park Saturday.
A field of eight, highlighted by the first three finishers in the Borderland Derby and stakes winner Sort it Out, will take the gate for Saturday's $500,000 WinStar Derby, going 1 1/8 miles at Sunland Park.
Undefeated juvenile Cajun Pepper won his fifth in a row, overpowering the field by 4 1/4 lengths in the $161,331 Riley Allison Futurity Sunday at Sunland Park.
Texas bred Hi Teck Man emerged with the lead in mid-stretch and held favored Consecrate at bay to register a stunning 46-1 upset by a half-length in Sunday's $500,000 WinStar Derby for 3-year-olds at Sunland Park in New Mexico.
By Dick Downey -- The $500,000 WinStar Derby sees the sponsor's own VICTORY LIGHT shipping in from Payson Park in Florida, and Pat Day comes along for the ride.
Trainer Doug O'Neill has two shots at repeating last year's victory in the inaugural $500,000 WinStar Derby at Sunland Park Sunday with speedster Hosco and Perfect Moon.
The WinStar Derby and WinStar Sunland Park Oaks will be televised nationally by Fox Sports... Goldinrunner has been honored as 2003 Michigan-bred Thoroughbred horse of the year...The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association's next "New and Prospective Owners Seminar" is scheduled for Friday at Turfway Park.
An impressive maiden winner at Fair Grounds in Louisiana will take on seasoned New Mexico-based stakes winners in the $100,000 Borderland Derby Feb. 29 at Sunland Park.
Football legend and television commentator Terry Bradshaw will host the 2004 WinStar Gala at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on March 27. Joe Thiesmann was previously slated to host the event but had to cancel due to ESPN obligations.
Under strong urging from jockey Pat Day, Excessivepleasure fought off favored Spensive and Apalachian Thunder to record a neck victory in Sunday's $500,000 WinStar Derby at Sunland Park in New Mexico.
Sunland Park's inaugural WinStar Derby, with the attractive scent of a $500,000 purse, has drawn a field of eight 3-year-olds to the New Mexico track just across the border from El Paso, Texas.
A trio of Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) hopefuls stretched their legs in morning workouts at Santa Anita Park on Tuesday in preparation for the track's final Kentucky Derby (gr. I) prep event. The 1 1/8-mile stakes, worth $750,000, is set to be contested on Saturday, Apr. 5.
Trainer Rafael Becerra said that Great State Challenge Juvenile winner Crackup bled badly during his sixth-place effort in Saturday's El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) at Golden Gate Fields and has been declared from consideration for any of the Triple Crown races.
Fueled with revenue from slot machines, the richest live racing season in the historyof Sunland Park Race Track and Casino begins Nov. 19. The 80-day meet, which continues through April 6, 2003, will have all-time record purse distribution of $16 million. Average daily purses at the track just west of El Paso, Texas, should exceed $200,000.
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