The enriched $150,000 Borderland Derby sponsored by Casa Ford has attracted a quality field on Saturday at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.
$104,200 Riley Allison Futurity winner Isn’t He Clever returns home for the chief local prep to the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) to be run on Sunday, March 25. Locally owned by J. Kirk and Judy Robison, Isn’t He Clever has made a major impact in New Mexico where he remains unbeaten in three starts. Last November, he traveled out to Remington Park in Oklahoma City and ran a strong second in the Clever Trevor Stakes. The bay gelding by Smarty Jones bounced back with a stylish 12 length win in the Riley Allison at Sunland Park and broke the stakes record for the six and one-half furlongs in 1:15.10. He earned a 97 Beyer figure for his effort.
The Henry Dominguez trained charge faced elite company in the Grade 2 $200,000 Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita on Feb. 4. He forced a fast pace with jockey Corey Nakatani and led for 6 furlongs before finishing fourth. Alejandro Medellin gets the mount back in the Borderland Derby (11th race). Medellin has ridden Isn’t He Clever to two career victories. He has earned $125,960.
The Robisons have a second runner in the feature with the unbeaten So Far So Fast. The Cuvee gelding has impressed many fans with two nice wins over the local oval going shorter. Red hot rider Enrique Portillo Gomez will be in the saddle.
Zackn’mat ships in from Santa Anita fresh off a smart score in a $56,000 maiden race going 7 furlongs on Jan. 29. The Northern Afleet colt ran second to the highly rated Bob Baffert trained runner Fed Biz on Dec. 30 at Santa Anita. The capable Martin Jones is the trainer. Hector Berrios will ride the three-year-old.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf finalist Tequila Factor is also a part of the field. He will be joined by the impressive Sunland Park maiden winner Justanoldsong, Strong Resolve, and the Steven Asmussen trained Major Hope. This year’s Borderland Derby has been enriched by $50,000 from its former value of $100,000.
Post time on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday is 12:45 p.m. 12-race cards are planned each day.