Sunland Park's 2012-2013 meet is in the final yards, with 4 cards of racing left on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday. Throughout the meet, we've seen some incredibly talented horses of both breeds, and we still have 9 Stakes events left in the last few days.
Friday's card is a decent card, no Stakes events, but a couple of Allowance events for Thoroughbreds and a 2 year old Maiden for Quarter Horses highlight things. There's an average field size of 9.9 and some terrific betting races so be sure to play.
Things get very exciting on Saturday, with 4 Stakes events carded. The Sunburst Stakes is an $85,000 race for State-bred 3 year old Quarter Horse fillies, which features Sandys Jesse, who won the RGII NMHBA Stakes 2 back. Right after the Sunburst is the West Texas Juvenile Stakes, for 2 year olds who competed in the trials for the West Texas Futurity but did not qualify for the final. The Morning Line sees this as a fairly competitive race, the favorite being All About Tonight at 7/2, a trial winner who was 0.031 seconds short of making the final. Later on the card are the first 2 Stakes races of 2013 for 2 year old Thoroughbreds, the Copper Top Futurity finals for state-breds. There are 2 divisions, 1 for fillies and 1 for colts and geldings. Prides Cousin, a daughter of Diabolical and a Todd Fincher trainee, highlights the filly division off an easy trial victory. Weeping Aly is the favorite in the boy's division, rebounding to win his trial after finishing 4th in a 2 furlong maiden special weight. All 4 of Saturday's stakes feature full fields of 10, so be sure to get in on the action.
Sunday's card features two of the meets greatest races. Race 5 on the card is the West Texas Futurity, the first Grade I Futurity of the year and a very important stepping stone to the All American Futurity and the Futurity Triple Crown at Ruidoso this summer. Trainer Roy Marcom, Jr. has 4 of the 10 in the field, including fastest qualifier Dynasty Edition, who won his trial in a wicked 14.887. I'm very excited for this race, it's one of the country's greatest Quarter Horse races and it's always fun to watch these incredible talents start their careers. Later on the card, Race 10 is the Sunland Park Handicap, the best Thoroughbred race of the meet excluding the Sunland Derby and Oaks. Of course, the highlight of the field is the great Forest Mouse, a 5 year old who's won 12 of his 30 lifetime starts with earnings of $449,879. He won the Zia Park Distance Championship in December, then won the Winsham Lad Handicap here at Sunland in a track record 1.39.01 for the 1 mile 70 yards distance. He then shipped up to Santa Anita for the Grade II Arcadia and the Grade I Frank Kilroe Mile. He was 6th and 5th, respectively, in those races, beaten 4 lengths in the Arcadia and only 2 lengths in the Kilroe Mile. He returns to New Mexico ready to romp as the 127lb highweight. His only competition looks like classy veteran Red Lead, who exits back to back victories in the Curribot Stakes and a classy Optional Claimer on Sunland Derby Day. Tizpat, who dead-heated with Red Lead in the Optional Claimer, also appears here. It's a great race, and a terrific way to end the Handicap season at Sunland.
Tuesday will end the season with a trio of Stakes events, and a mandatory payout in the Solo 6, which should have a carryover of around $2,000 by then after being hit for $18,000 last Sunday. The $50,000 Getaway Stakes is a race for Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds going 870 yards. Then there are 2 Thoroughbred features, the first in the condition book is the $50,000 KHEY Y County Sprint for 3 year olds going 6 furlongs. Highlighting the nominees is Sunland Derby runner-up Show Some Magic. Then, finally there's the Adios Amigos Claiming Handicap, a $12,500 claiming stakes going 1 1/4 miles, the longest race of the meet. Handle is always big on Tuesday's, so I hope to see you all playing.
I've enjoyed this meet very much, it's been fun to follow and handicap. The New Mexico circuit will move to SunRay Park, with their meet starting on Friday, April 19th. I likely won't be handicapping SunRay as much as I did Sunland, but I will be following the meet and paying attention to the happenings.
Have a good one, and good luck.