A dozen 3-year-olds have passed the entry box for Sunland Park's $125,000 Pepsi Cola Handicap Saturday. Restricted to sophomores bred in the state of New Mexico, the field is co-highweighted by restricted stakes winners Sandias Peppermint, victorious at the end of 2004 in the Red Hedeman Mile Handicap over the track, and Leon's Bull, a winner in six of his seven trips postward.
Both horses will carry 122 pounds and be making their first starts of the 2005 season. Clayton Atkinson, Trey Malechek, and George Gerogiades' Sandias Peppermint took the Red Hedeman by five lengths for the fourth win of his seven-race career. Bred by Joyce Erikson, the chestnut colt has hit the board in six of seven starts and won or placed in four stakes.
By Sandia Slew, out of the To a Wild Kris mare Peppermint Kris, Sandias Peppermint was originally purchased for $1,700 and has earned $131,355. Trained by Jackie Riddle, he comes in off a half-mile work in :49.20 at Sam Houston Park and retains the services of Casey Lambert, who was aboard for the last win. They will break from post 10.
Leon Sutherland's eponymous homebred Leon's Bull looks to get back to the form that saw him win six straight, beginning with a 10 1/4-length maiden win at first asking last June. In his third start, the son of In Excessive Bull captured the restricted Rio Grande Senor Futurity by 9 3/4 lengths at Ruidoso Downs.
Trained by Jose Gonzalez, Leon's Bull posted an impressive three-furlong work in :36.00 over the course Jan. 10 and will be ridden by regular jockey Ken Tohill and will break from post seven.
Three-time winner Oso Tricky (by Tricky Run) will vie from the nine-hole shouldering 120 pounds. A winner of $114,711, Oso Tricky was victorious by a neck in the track's restricted Copper Topper Futurity in a contest that saw Sandias Peppermint finish third.
Danny Stafford and Steve Usherwood own the dark bay or brown colt, and he is trained by H. R Ashford Jr. Rider Glen Murphy gets the call for the first time.
Two-time winners Frisky Money, by Untold Gold; and El Minuto, by Corwyn Bay are other entries of note.Pepsi Cola Handicap, State-Bred, 3-Year-Olds, Six furlongs, $125,000, 4:00 PM MST.
PP--Horse, weight, jockey
1--Abullwithapurpose, 116, Wade Rini
2--C. G's Dollar, 117, Vickie Yolanda Smallwood
3--Je Dis Command, 116, David Lidberg
4--Frisky Money, 118, Alfredo Juarez
5--El Minuto, 118, Carlos Madeira
6--Mr. Boomer, 116, Jose Alferez
7--Leon's Bull, 122, Ken Tohill
8--Bullish Ego, 116, Perry Whetstone
9--Oso Tricky, 120, Glen Murphy
10--Sandias Peppermint, 122, Casey Lambert
11--Smartlildevil, 116, Jorge Martin Bourdieu
12--Lobo Joe, 116, Clark Jones