El Paso, TX — Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino is in the midst of final preparations for a huge weekend in celebration of the Sunland Derby.
It all begins this Saturday March 22nd with the 12th Annual Sunland Park Gala benefitting United Blood Services (UBS). The annual event is the largest fundraiser for UBS, a non-profit organization, and honors the participants of the Sunland Park Oaks and Grade III Sunland Park Derby. The keynote speaker for the event is professional football and baseball player, Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, and TV analyst Deion Sanders. The event begins at 6:30pm and continues throughout the evening with all proceeds benefiting UBS. UBS is pleased to announce that the gala has sold out. As an added treat this year, the cast and crew of the upcoming major motion picture 50 to 1 will be in attendance. 50 to 1 is based on the story of Mine That Bird who raced in the Sunland Park Derby and went on to win the Kentucky Derby in 2009 at 50 to 1 odds. The crew is promoting the movie ahead of its national release April 4th.
On Sunday March 23rd a full day of activities is planned. A meet-and-greet with the cast and crew of 50 to 1 is scheduled in the Signature Showroom beginning at 10:00am. Academy Award-winning writer/producer/director Jim Wilson will lead a panel of the cast and crew from the movie and fans will experience this special one-on-one opportunity up close and personal. This event is open to the public.
The 50 to 1 meet-and-greet will be followed by a FREE handicapping seminar in the Signature Showroom with expert Jay Privman. Mr. Privman is a national correspondent for the Daily Racing Forum. He is the author of "Breeders' Cup: Thoroughbred Racing's Championship Day", a contributing writer of "Champions," and a six-time winner of the Red Smith Award for Best Kentucky Derby Story, which are the most noteworthy among his numerous writing honors. He joined Daily Racing Form in 1998.
Sunday’s day continues with the National Anthem at 12:00pm and will be performed by 50 to 1 star Christian Kane. Throughout the day, the cast of 50 to 1 will participate in the activities including riding in the post parade of the Sunland Park Derby. The first race of the day will be at 12:55pm and the post parade for the Sunland Derby will be approximately at 5:15PM.
Six stakes races will be run at Sunland Park on Sunday including the Sunland Park Oaks and Sunland Park Derby. Both races are points races, which means the top finishers will earn points qualifying them for the Kentucky Derby and Oaks. The fields for all races are strong that day with many internationally recognized names coming from coast to coast to claim their winnings.