Despite multiple delays at the gate, the classy Pj Chick in Black looked great winning the 50th running of the $203,148 West Texas Derby (Grade 3) at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday. The fast starting Desirio filly kicked 1-length clear of a talented field to win her third career stakes race in impressive fashion. The world class filly throttled through the 400 yards in a quick 18.808 seconds, good for a 101 speed index.
Winning jockey Esgar Ramirez had plenty of praise for the star filly in the winner’s circle, “She was 100% today. She has been training better and better every day. She stood up well and was perfect in the gates despite the delays. John did a great job with her. She is just a natural talent.”
Victorious trainer John Stinebaugh was also very pleased with the performance of the three-year-old. “We had a good time bringing her back. She didn’t need surgery. It could be a great summer for her at Ruidoso. We’ve got 6 weeks until the first derby trials. You really don’t know how good it feels to get over this one.” Pj Chick in Black was the top qualifier and odds-on favorite for last year’s All American Futurity before finishing sixth.
Pj Chick in Black completed a perfect two for two season at Sunland Park in 2013. The 2012 New Mexican Spring Futurity winner has never lost in 4 starts over Sunland Park soil. She earned $95,480 for owners Dennis Bowen, Susan Taylor and Jack Smith Farms of El Paso, Texas. Her career mark stands at 7 wins from 8 starts with earnings topping the $623,000 plateau.
Mike Joiner’s Icu Deity ran a gallant race under jockey Casey Lambert to finish second, a nose in front of a fast closing Whiteface Eagle. Icu Deity picked up $36,567 for owners Linda Joiner and Marty Cope of Hobbs, New Mexico.
Prince of Alexander, Secret Courage, Iba Jp, Caballo Famous Eagle, Rockin Disco and First Prize Moon rounded out the order of finish.
Wild and Game was unruly in the gate two times and delayed the start. She was eventually scratched.
Live racing resumes on Sunday at 1 p.m. The $63,090 Red Cell New Mexico Distance Challenge (5th race) at 870 yards is the main event. 2012 World champion distance horse All About Larry and Dm Streakn Thru Fire are the favorites.