Garrity's Sunday Stakes heads to Sunland Park in New Mexico, for the Hedeman, Mine That Bird and Dominguez
Successful minor tracks are essential to the health of horse racing. Sure, most attention, including ours, goes to the big stakes on major circuits in New York, Kentucky, Florida, and California, but the sport as a whole cannot survive, let alone thrive, without viable smaller tracks in more far-flung places.
And the news on this front has not been good of late: Minor tracks are hurting. It is fitting and appropriate, then, that we will turn our attention, and our pari-mutuel dollars, to Sunland Park in New Mexico, where we’ve selected three very playable stakes races to comprise our Sunday action. All of the racing at Sunland Park is on dirt, and we expect a fast main track today. Let’s go.
Sunland Park, Race 7, 5:04 pm ET
$100,000 Red Hedeman Mile, 1 mile, Dirt, New Mexico-bred 3-Year-Olds
The Hedeman mile drew a field of ten sophomore state-bred colts. The presence of a lot of speed in the group, especially a couple of stretch-out sprinters, makes the pick 7-Antonios Mark, the only runner in the field with a win at a distance of a mile or longer. He prevailed in the Hobbs Fall Classic at Zia Park in December by sitting just off the early pace, and rolling late; we see a similar setup, and a similar result, for him today. We will bet him to win at 4-1. The bet: Sunland Park, Rce 7, $40 to win on 7-Antonios Mark.
Sunland Park, Race 8, 5:32 pm ET
$100,000 Mine That Bird Derby, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds
This race is named after Mine That Bird, who won the Kentucky Derby back in 2009. It would be appropriate, considering that he was 50-1 when he prevailed in the Run for the Roses, to play a long shot here, but we like a Southern California shipper who is entirely logical: 4-Henry Q, whose last start was a win in a maiden race at Santa Anita three weeks ago. He’s yet to run around two turns, but both his pedigree and his running style suggest he can handle it; we see him getting a ground-saving, stalking trip from his inside post, sitting just behind the leaders, and seizing control when the field turns for home. We will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Sunland Park, Race 8, $40 to win on 4-Henry Q.
Sunland Park, Race 9,
$100,000 Albert and Henry Dominguez Memorial Handicap, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, New Mexico-breds 4 & Up
Eleven go in the Dominguez Memorial Handicap. The pick is 9-Thunder Dome, who is still running very well at 9 years old, and after 54 career starts. He has back class – he won the New Mexico Classic Cup Championship last October – and he also seems primed for a maximum effort in his third start of the year, with the last two being excellent efforts at shorter distances. We see him mid-pack early, but first where it matters, and will bet the old warrior to win at 7/2. The bet: Sunland Park, Race 9, $40 to win on 9-Thunder Dome.
That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.