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$16 million Sunland Park racing season begins Friday

Sports

POSTED: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 3:15pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 7:37pm

Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino unveils an impressive $16 million live horse racing
season on Friday, December 7 and continues through Tuesday, April 16, 2013.

The 76-day meet provides an abundant inventory of prestigious stakes races. Horsemen will relish an  enviable a purse distribution of over $16 million. Average daily purses for the new meet should exceed the $210,000 level.

The meet’s highlight is the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) to be run on Sunday, March 24, 2013.
The 11th running of the Kentucky Derby prep race will be the culmination of a stakes filled card
worth over $1 million. Last year’s 1 and 1/8 mile classic was won by Daddy Nose Best for trainer
Steve Asmussen. Julien Leparoux piloted the winner for owners Mary and Robert Zollars.

The $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) is an integral part of the new point system for entry into the
2013 Kentucky Derby. The winner of Sunland Park’s biggest race will receive 50 qualifying points.
The runner-up earns 20 points, followed by 10 for third and 5 points for fourth. 50 points will be
extremely valuable for a Kentucky Derby candidate.
.
Mine That Bird won the 2009 Kentucky Derby following a fourth place finish in the Sunland Derby (Gr. III).  The $130,000 Mine That Bird Derby (formerly named the Borderland Derby) is held in his honor. The lucrative event on Saturday, Feb. 23 serves as the main local prep for the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III).
.
Sunland Park Director of Racing Dustin Dix said, “Our effort in making Sunland Park racing a more prominent signal has been very successful. Last year’s Sunland Derby (Gr. III) day was a record breaker. The upcoming  season looks very promising strengthened by terrific stables. We are also excited about the Sunland Derby (Gr. III) being an important part of the new Kentucky Derby qualifying point system.”

The lucrative Sunland Derby (Gr. III) day program also includes the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks, The $85,000 La Coneja  Stakes, the $85,000-added Harry Henson Handicap, the $85,000 guaranteed New Mexico Breeders' Derby, the $85,000 guaranteed New Mexico Breeders’ Oaks and the $85,000 guaranteed Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes for open horses racing six and one-half furlongs. The 2013 Sunland Park Oaks winner receives 50 qualifying points towards the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.

The 12th running of the $350,000 Grade 1 Championship at Sunland Park takes place on Saturday, Dec. 30. 2011 World Champion Quarter Horse Cold Cash 123 won last year’s Championship.

The $100,000-added Riley Allison Futurity traditionally lures top two-year-old thoroughbred talent. The 50th renewal  wlll be run at a new distance of one mile on Sunday, Dec. 23.
New Mexico-bred thoroughbreds run for $85,000 guaranteed pots in the Johnie L. Jamison Stakes
and the New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap on Dec. 9; the Enchantress Stakes on
Dec. 16; the Red Hedeman Mile on Dec. 29; the La Senora Stakes on Jan. 12; the Pepsi Cola
Stakes on Jan. 19; the Peppers Pride Stakes on Feb. 16 and the NMSU Stakes on March 17.

New Mexico-bred Quarter Horses compete for $85,000 purses in the Jess Burner Memorial Handicap on Dec. 9; the Challenger Six Handicap at 870 yards on Dec. 15; the Lou Wooten – Sydney Valentini Handicap on Dec. 16, The NMHBA Quarter Horse Stakes on Feb. 17, the Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap on March 10 and the Sunburst Stakes on April 13 are also worth $85,000. Foals of 2010 run in the $275,000 estimated Shue Fly Stakes at 400 yards on Jan. 5, 2013.

The $100,000-added Bank of America New Mexico Challenge at 440 yards and the $275,000 estimated New Mexican Spring Futurity (restricted Grade 1) at 300 yards will both be run on Sunday, April 7.

The 2012 Copper Top Futurity is split into two divisions. Both the colts and geldings division and the fillies  division are valued at $60,000-added. The two 4 and 1/2 furlong features for New Mexico-bred two year-olds will be run on Saturday, April 13.

Many of the region's top Thoroughbred stakes runners converge in the $85,000 Sunland Park Handicap at 1 and 1/8 miles on Sunday, April 14.

The Grade I $250,000 estimated West Texas Futurity featuring the nation’s elite two-year-old
Quarter Horses is also set for Sunday, April 14.

Live racing will be held on a Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday basis for most of the season.
Racing on Wednesday, Dec. 26 and Thursday, January 31, 2013 are the only exceptions. There will be no live racing on Tuesday, Dec. 25 (Christmas) and Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013 (Super Bowl Sunday). Post time is 12:25 p.m.  Two-time Sunland Park training champion Henry Dominguez is absolutely loaded with a terrific stable. Dominguez won last year’s training title. Leading owners Kirk and Judy Robison have an arsenal of fine runners.  Leading Thoroughbred rider Miguel Hernandez will back along with the top Quarter Horse jockey Esgar Ramirez.

Here is the list of stakes races for the upcoming season:

Saturday, Dec. 8 - Jess Burner Memorial Handicap. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds.
and up. New Mexico-breds. 400 yards.

Saturday, Dec. 8 - KLAQ Handicap. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds and up.
5 and 1/2 furlongs.

Sunday, Dec. 9 - Johnie L. Jamison Stakes. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds and up.
New Mexico-breds. 6 and 1/2 furlongs.

Sunday, Dec. 9 – New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds and up. Fillies and mares. New Mexico-breds. 6 furlongs.

Saturday, Dec. 15 - Challenger Six Handicap. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds
and up. New Mexico-breds. 870 yards.

Sunday, Dec. 16 - Lou Wooten – Sydney Valentini Handicap. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed. RG I. Three year olds and up.
Fillies and mares. New Mexico-breds. 400 yards.

Sunday, Dec. 16 – The Enchantress Stakes. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed. Two year olds. Fillies.
New Mexico-breds. One Mile.

Satruday, Dec. 22 - Bold Ego Handicap. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds and up.
Fillies and mares. 5 and 1/2 furlongs.

Sunday, Dec. 23 - Riley Allison Futurity. Purse $100,000-added. Two year olds. One Mile.

Friday, Dec. 28 – Sunland Park Winter Quarter Horse Futurity. Grade 2. Purse $175,000 estimated, $50,000-added.
Two year olds. 400 yards.

Saturday, Dec. 29 - Sunland Park Winter Quarter Horse Derby. Grade 2. Purse $50,000-added. Three year olds.
400 yards.
Saturday, Dec. 29 - Red Hedeman Mile. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed. Two year olds.
New Mexico-breds. One Mile.
Sunday, Dec. 30 - The Championship at Sunland Park. Grade I. Purse $350,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds and up. 400 yards.

Sunday, Dec. 30 - Albert Dominguez Memorial Handicap. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds and up. New Mexico-breds. 1 and 1/16 miles.

Saturday, Jan. 5 - The Shue Fly. Purse $275,000 estimated. Foals of 2010. New Mexico-breds.
400 yards.

Sunday, Jan. 6 - Winsham Lad Handicap. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds and up.
One Mile and 70 yards.

Saturday, Jan. 12 - La Senora Stakes. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds.
Fillies. New Mexico-breds. 6 furlongs.

Saturday, Jan. 19 - Pepsi Cola Stakes. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds.
New Mexico-breds. 6 furlongs.
Sunday, Jan. 20 - KOFX – Radio Handicap. Grade 2. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds and up.
350 yards.

Saturday, Jan. 26 - El Paso Times Handicap. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds.
Fillies. 6 and 1/2 furlongs.

Saturday, Feb. 2 - Budweiser Handicap. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds and up.
5 furlongs.

Saturday, Feb. 9 – El Diario Handicap. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds and up.
Fillies and mares. 6 and one-half furlongs.

Sunday, Feb. 10 - Curribot Handicap. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds and up.
1 and 1/16 miles.

Saturday, Feb. 16 - The Peppers Pride Stakes. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed.
Four year olds and up. Fillies and mares. New Mexico-breds. One Mile.

Sunday, Feb. 17 - NMHBA Quarter Horse Stakes. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed. RG 2. Three year olds.
New Mexico-breds. 400 yards.

Saturday, Feb. 23 – Mine That Bird Derby. Purse $130,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds.
1 and 1/16 miles.

Sunday, Feb. 24 - The Island Fashion Stakes. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds.
Fillies. One Mile.

Saturday, March 2 - West Texas Maturity. Grade 2. Purse $65,000-added.
Three year olds and up. 400 yards.

Saturday, March 9 - Mt. Cristo Rey Handicap. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds and up. New Mexico-breds. 4 and 1/2 furlongs.

Sunday, March 10 - Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds and up. New Mexico-breds. 350 yards.

Sunday, March 17 – New Mexico State University Stakes. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed.
Four year olds and up. New Mexico-breds. One Mile and 70 yards. .

Sunday, March 24 - Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds and up. 6 and 1/2 furlongs.

Sunday, March 24 - La Coneja Stakes. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed. Four year olds and up.
Fillies and mares. New Mexico-breds. 5 and 1/2 furlongs.

Sunday, March 24 - Harry W. Henson Handicap. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds and up. Fillies and mares. One Mile.

Sunday, March 24 – New Mexico Breeders’ Oaks. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds. Fillies. New Mexico-breds. 1 and 1/16 miles.

Sunday, March 24 - New Mexico Breeders' Derby. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds. New Mexico-breds. 1 and 1/16 miles.

Sunday, March 24 - Sunland Park Oaks. Purse $200,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds. Fillies. 1 and 1/16 miles.

Sunday, March 24 - Sunland Derby (Gr. III). Purse $800,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds. 1 and 1/8 miles.

Saturday, March 30 – West Texas Derby. Grade 3. Purse $175,000 estimated, $65,000-added.
Three year olds. 400 yards.

Sunday, March 31 - Red Cell New Mexico Challenge. Grade 3. Purse $50,000-added.
Three year olds and up. 870 yards.
Saturday, April 6 - New Mexican Spring Fling. Purse $50,000-added.
Two year olds. New Mexico-breds. 300 yards.
Saturday, April 6 - Czaria Handicap. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds and up.
Fillies and mares. 6 furlongs.

Sunday, April 7 – Bank of America New Mexico Challenge Championship. Grade I.
Purse $100,000-added. Three year olds and up. 440 yards.

Sunday, April 7 - New Mexican Spring Futurity. RG I. Purse $275,000 estimated, $100,000-added.
Two year olds. New Mexico-breds. 300 yards.

Saturday, April 13 - West Texas Juvenile Stakes. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed.
Two year olds. 300 yards.

Saturday, April 13 – Sunburst Stakes. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed. Three year olds.
Fillies. New Mexico-breds. 350 yards.

Saturday, April 13 - Copper Top Futurity. Purse $60,000-added for Two-year-old Colts and Geldings Division.
Purse $60,000-added for Two-year-old Fillies Division. New Mexico-breds. 4 and 1/2 furlongs.

Sunday, April 14 - West Texas Futurity. Grade I. Purse $250,000 estimated, $100,000-added.
Two year olds. 300 yards.

Sunday, April 14 - Sunland Park Handicap. Purse $85,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds and up. 1 and 1/8 miles.

Tuesday, April 16 - The Getaway Stakes. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds. 870 yards.

Tuesday, April 16 – KHEY/Y-96 Sprint. Purse $50,000 Guaranteed.
Three year olds. 6 furlongs.

Tuesday, April 16 - Adios Amigos Claiming Handicap. Purse $35,000.
Three year olds and up. Claiming $12,500. 1 and 1/4 miles.
 

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