Dry Summer relished a slow early pace and rocketed on home to gain a definitive win in the $120,000 Mine That Bird Derby at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday.
Racing as the 6-5 favorite, Dry Summer finished with speed in reserve to win by a comfortable 1 and 1/2 lengths in the key local prep race for the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) to be held on Sunday, March 24. The well bred son of Any Given Saturday ridden by Carlos Madeira stalked off the pedestrian tempo set by Ize In Command down the backstretch.
The tepid pace only made matters easier for Dry Summer when he was asked for run by Madeira. The athletic three-year-old chestnut swept to the front and took a commanding presence into the stretch run. Rivals Show Some Magic and Stormdriver were running well but could not make a dent on the winner. Dry Summer galloped through the 1 and 1/16 mile distance in a good 1:45.32.
Winning trainer Joel Marr said in the winner’s circle, “I think everything worked out extremely great. I could not believe how slow they were going on the front end. No one could close with that pace. He was in a good spot throughout. When he came to New Mexico, he was ready to run. We plan on keeping him happy and running in the Sunland Derby.”
As a two-year-old Dry Summer raced for trainer Jeff Mullins and won the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf at Del Mar last September. The Mine That Bird Derby triumph was his 4th career win from 8 starts. The multiple stakes winner earned $72,000 for owners Sam Britt and Michael House of Grenville, New Mexico. Joel Marr has trained Dry Summer to two wins at Sunland Park since shipping in from California last month. Dry Summer sports career earnings of over $205,000. With his love of the Sunland surface, Dry Summer should be a major threat for the Sunland Derby (Gr. III) in one month.
The Mine That Bird Derby was nearly a carbon copy of Dry Summer’s allowance win here on January 27 when he defeated Storm Driver by 2 lengths followed by Show Some Magic.
Riley Allison Futurity winner Show Some Magic finished a good second under jockey Miguel Hernandez. The Any Given Saturday colt was within striking range throughout the feature but could not muster enough to threaten Dry Summer. He finished second, a neck better than Stormdriver.
Doug O’Neill’s California shipper Greeley Awesome was compromised by the slow pace. The stretch runner could not make any impact in the final furlongs and finished fourth, beaten nearly 5 lengths. Ize In Command would up in fifth place.
Live racing resumes on Sunday at 1 p.m. The $50,000 Island Fashion Stakes at one mile is the main event.