Edited from a release
One day before New Mexico's richest race, the $500,000 WinStar Sunland Derby, WinStar Farm will sponsor a parallel race for fillies at the racetrack. Nine fillies are entered for the $250,000 WinStar Sunland Park Oaks on March 29.
Nelson Bunker Hunt's stakes winning Souris should be a major player in the prestigious race for three-year-old fillies. Trained by Steve Asmussen, the nation's leading conditioner in term of wins, Souris has competed well against elite stakes horses. The Dehere filly won the Top Flight Handicap at Arlington Park last fall. She was stakes placed in three subsequent efforts at Churchill Downs, Sam Houston and Delta Downs. Her latest triumph was a confident score in the $75,000 Wishing Well Stakes at Delta Downs.
Souris has compiled lifetime earnings of $213,410. She will be ridden by Corey Lanerie, last year's leading rider at Lone Star Park and second leading jockey at the current Fair Grounds meeting. Saturday's Oaks will be Lanerie's Sunland Park debut.
The speedy Santa Anita export Himalayan also merits serious consideration. The Kentucky-bred daughter of Mountain Cat displays a formidable resume with four career wins at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park for trainer Ted West and a $150,566 bankroll.
Himalayan ran a creditable third behind Elloluv in the Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) after setting a brisk pace. She subsequently finished a close third in the La Habra Stakes over the downhill turf course at Santa Anita Park. Southern California rider G.F. Almeida rides the probable pace setter.
Valid Pulpit is the second Asmussen-trained entrant in the field. The multiple stakes winning daughter of Pulpit has won three of her last four races. Steven Baker's filly won the El Paso Times and Princess Handicaps at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino and the Bayou City Handicap at Sam Houston Race Park. Casey Lambert rides the $137,820 earner.
The field for the WinStar Sunland Park Oaks, from the rail out, with jockeys. All entrants will carry 122 pounds:
1--Ela Ela, Martin Boudieu
2--Valid Pulpit, Casey Lambert
3--Souris, Corey Lanerie
4--Isit Still Legal, Nena Matz
5--Sa Moken, Carlos Madeira
6--Fatal Caper, Ricardo Jaime
7--Island Fashion, Iggy Puglisi
8--Manzotti Queen, Miguel Fuentes
9--Himalayan, G.F. Almeida
Post time on Saturday and Sunday is 12:15 p.m. The WinStar Sunland Park Oaks will be run at approximately 3:51 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time.