Garrity's Sunday Stakes has Sunland Park Picks – the Oaks, the Derby & New Mexico Breeder's Derby, all 3yos
We are headed, on this early spring Sunday, to Sunland Park, where it is the biggest day of the year for horse racing in the state of New Mexico. There’s a 12-race card with seven stakes, with the headliner the Grade 3 Sunland Park Derby. We have plays in three of the stakes, all of them featuring 3-year-olds, and we expect a fast main track for all three. Let’s go.
Sunland Park, Race 9, 6:12 pm ET
$300,000 Sunland Park Oaks, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies
Field size at Sunland is good today, and the Oaks is a good example, as it drew a nice group of ten 3-year-old fillies. We’re all in on a California shipper, 8-Queen of Thorns, a Peter Eurton trainee who has just two starts in her brief career, but they were both good, especially the most recent one, when she staked a fast pace, eventually finishing second, in the Grade 3 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb. 6. We think Queen of Thorns is going to improve off that race, and that means the rest of the field is running strictly for second money. We will bet her to win at 4-1. The bet: Sunland Park, Race 9, $50 to win on 8-Queen of Thorns.
Sunland Park, Race 10, 6:42 pm ET
$250,000 New Mexico Breeders Derby, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, New Mexico-bred 3-year-Olds
Ten sophomore colts bred in the Land of Enchantment line up for the New Mexico Breeders Derby. Quite a few of them are going to have major issues staying the 9-furlong distance, but one who will do well at it, we think, is 5-Jet Set Warrior, who is the pick. He has improved significantly as the races have grown longer, running quite well in each of his last two starts, both of which were at a mile. We wouldn’t go so far to say that he will be finishing like Zenyatta at the end of the race, but he shouldn’t be staggering, which is what most of the other colts will be doing. We will bet Jet Set Warrior to win at 3-1. The bet: Sunland Park, Race 10, $40 to win on 5-Jet Set Warrior.
Sunland Park, Race 11, 7:15 pm ET
Grade 3 Sunland Park Derby, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds
Eight 3-year-olds line up for the Sunland Park Derby, but we have eyes for just one: 4-Slow Down Andy, who showed quite a bit of promise winning the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Futurity in December. Trainer Doug O’Neill thought highly enough of him to run him next in the Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds on Feb. 19, but he flopped in a big way that day: Slow Down Andy tired badly down the stretch, finishing a well-beaten sixth, more than 10 lengths behind the winner.
There are three things about his effort that day that have us thinking that he will rebound here: The first is that it was his first start as a 3-year-old, and he may have needed the race; the second is that from a pace standpoint, he actually ran pretty well, as he contested fast early fractions before faltering late; and the third is that the winner of the Risen Star was Epicenter, who won the Louisiana Derby yesterday, and won it so impressively that he is probably the current favorite for the Kentucky Derby. Add it up, and Slow Down Andy is going to win the Sunland Park Derby. We will bet him to win at 2-1, and we will do so with gusto. The bet: Sunland Park, Race 11, $50 to win on 4-Slow Down Andy.
That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.