The volatile nature of the 2017 Triple Crown trail found its way to New Mexico March 26 in the $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3).
Yet again an upset was sprung at Sunland Park, with 50 Road to the Kentucky Derby points going to Calumet Farm's homebred 10-1 longshot Hence, as he hit the wire 3 3/4 lengths ahead of previously unbeaten Conquest Mo Money.
Video: Sunland Derby (G3)
The son of Street Boss trained by Steve Asmussen found himself 10th—11 1/4 lengths back—under jockey Alfredo Juarez Jr. as Hedge Fund ran the first quarter in :22.26, moved up in the backstretch and wide in the turn, hooked Conquest Mo Money in the stretch, and pulled away late.
Hedge Fund ran a half-mile in :45.72 and six furlongs in 1:10.22, and held third by a head over Irap, but was 4 1/2 lengths behind Conquest Mo Money. The winner took over to run a mile in 1:35.71 and finished off the 1 1/8-mile test in 1:48.10.
Favored Bronze Age stumbled at the start and tracked the early leader in second but was eased late in the backstretch.
Sent off at 10-1, Hence returned $23.60, $12.60, and $7.40 across the board. Conquest Mo Money paid $4.80 and $4, while Hedge Fund was worth $4.60.
Seventh in the Southwest Stakes (G3) in his start prior, Hence broke his maiden in his fourth start Jan. 16 at Oaklawn Park by three-quarters of a length going 1 1/16 miles on a sloppy main track. He now has a 2-1-1 record from six starts with earnings of $542,601.
The colt was bred in Kentucky, out of the A.P. Indy mare Floating Island.
The victory was Asmussen's second in the Sunland Derby, following Daddy Nose Best in 2012.