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.
Sort it Out enters the WinStar off an unplaced effort in the March 12 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) while making his first start for trainer Bob Baffert. Robert and Janice McNair's Stonerside Stable privately purchased an interest in the son of Out of Place
from Preferred Pals Stables shortly before the Louisiana Derby. Sort it Out, who won three straight races to kick start his 3-year-old season, including the Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct, was previously trained by Allen Iwinski.
Providing a strong challenge to Sort it Out will be the Michael Puhich-trained Southern Africa, who scored a length win in the Feb. 27 Borderland Derby, also at Sunland. He began the year with an unplaced effort in the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita.
A son of Cape Town
, Southern Africa is owned by Al and Sandra Kirkwood.
California trainer Doug O'Neill will saddle Thor's Echo and Dover Dere. O'Neill won the inaugural running of the WinStar Derby with Excessivepleasure.
A son of Swiss Yodeler, Thor's Echo finished second in the Borderland Derby after breaking his maiden by four lengths in January at Santa Anita. O'Neill conditions Thor's Echo for Royce S. Jamie Racing Stable and Suarez, Inc.
Dover Dere, a son of Cherokee Run
, has third-place finishes in both the Borderland Derby and Golden Gate Derby on his resume. O'Neill conditions Dover Dere for STD Racing Stable and Jason Wood.
The field for Saturday's $500,000 WinStar Derby at Sunland Park includes:
1-- Quiet Money (Alfredo Juarez, 122)
2-- Riverman Jack (Jorge Bourdieu, 122)
3-- Thor's Echo (Corey Nakatani, 122)
4-- Dover Dere (Felipe Martinez, 122)
5-- Tudor Needed (Glen Murphy, 122)
6-- Cajun Pepper (Ken Tohill, 122)
7-- Southern Africa (Jon Court, 122)
8-- Sort it Out (Patrick Valenzuela, 122)