As I've been tweeting somewhat obsessively for the last few days, it's time for the 2012-13 meet at Sunland Park. Racing recently ended at Zia Park in Hobbs, and now the New Mexico circuit moves to Sunland.
Sunland's recognized for it's major Thoroughbred racing, especially the Grade III $800,000 Sunland Derby, a prep for the Kentucky Derby worth 50 points to the winner in the new qualifying system. The $200,000 Sunland Oaks is worth the same towards the Kentucky Oaks. The Borderland Derby, the final local prep for the Sunland Derby, has now been renamed the Mine That Bird Derby for the track's little treasure.
But this is all stuff anybody who follows racing reasonably well has heard.
Let's get to the good stuff: the Quarter Horses. Much as Los Al is the best Quarter Horse track from a betting prospective, New Mexico is home to the best Quarter Horse racing. There's always big fields and huge excitement. Sunland's signature Quarter Horse events are the Grade I Championship, a $350,000 Invitational going 400Y, and the New Mexico Challenge, a qualifying race for the Grade I Bank of America Challenge. There are many other Quarter Horse stakes spread across the 76 day meet, but those are the 2 notable ones.
One thing about Sunland: it's fast. Track record for 440Y: 20.274, set by First Moonflash. Track record for 870Y: 43.029, set by Gone To The Mountain. Those are absurd times. Great horses set them, sure, but those are ridiculously fast.
Sunland features Pick 4s in the first and last 4 races, and also has $.10 Pick 6 (for those in the States, not available up here in Canada yet) and $1 Grand Slam wagering. Starting this meet, the minimum for Daily Double wagering has been lowered from $2 to $1.