Sunland Park Season concludes with a surge; Govenor Charlie named Horse of the Meet
The 2012-13 live racing season at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino Casino ended on Tuesday with a positive surge of business. The 76 day season generated nearly $61 million in all sources handle, which was nearly even with last year’s statistics. Considering the season presented 42 less races than last year, the current stand was actually up 3.44% on an average per race basis. Almost $55 million was bet on the popular Sunland product from off-track sources.
2013 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) day was a major success. A crowd of 18,184 fans came out for the all-star 12-race card. The all-sources handle of $3,820,986 set a new track and New Mexico state record for a single card.
Director of Racing Dustin Dix said, “We are encouraged by these numbers, especially off track. We will continue to look for ways to grow the off-track handle and revitalize the on-track handle.”
$800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) winner Govenor Charlie was named the Horse of the Meet and is considered a viable threat for this year’s Kentucky Derby to be run on May 4. Owner Mike Pegram is the only 2-time winner of the Sunland Derby (Gr. III). Winning trainer Bob Baffert joins Doug O’Neill as the only 2-time winning trainer of the Sunland classic. Pegram and Baffert also combined forces to win the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks with the terrific filly Midnight Lucky.
Hennesey Smash and Rose’s Desert enjoyed tremendous campaigns for trainer Todd Fincher. Each won two stakes races at the meet. Forest Mouse was unstoppable in the route division winning both the Winsham Lad and Sunland Park Handicaps for trainer Henry Dominguez. Isn’t He Clever won the best sprinter title following a track record setting win in the Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes. Attitude E Racer earned the top older New Mexico-bred router award for trainer Joel Marr. Trained Owen Bringhurst had two divisional champs with Lester’s Echo and Storms Surprise.
$350,000 Championship at Sunland Park winner Prospect to the Top was crowned the Quarter Horse of the Meet. He is owned by Joel Tavarez and trained by Brandon Muniz. Todd Fincher’s distance loving Quarter Horse Rollicking Red was the champion New Mexico-bred 870 yard runner.
Here are the 2012-13 Sunland Park champions:
HORSE OF THE MEET AND TOP 3-YEAR-OLD - GOVENOR CHARLIE.
Top 3-year-old filly – MIDNIGHT LUCKY.
Top 2-year-old colt or gelding – SHOW SOME MAGIC.
Top older mare – AFRICAN ROSE.
Best Sprinter – ISN’T HE CLEVER.
Best Router and older Horse – FOREST MOUSE.
Champion New Mexico-bred filly or mare – HENNESEY SMASH AND ROSE’S DESERT.
Top New Mexico-bred 2-year-old filly – LADY GENIUS.
Top New Mexico-bred 2-year-old colt or gelding – STORMS SURPRISE.
Best New Mexico-bred 3-year-old filly – BACK SEAT ROLL.
Top New Mexico-bred 3-year-old – HUSH’S STORM.
Champion Older New Mexico-bred – ATTITUDE E RACER.
Top New Mexico-bred Sprinter – LESTER’S ECHO.
Best Claimer – BRADIUM.
Most Improved – GROUSHY APADANA.
QUARTER HORSE OF THE MEET – PROSPECT TO THE TOP.
Best 2-year-old filly – WR GOLDEN EAGLE.
Best 2-year-old colt or gelding – WASTING NO CORONA.
Top 3-year-old filly – PJ CHICK IN BLACK.
Best 3-year-old colt or gelding – OUR FIRST CORONA.
Best 870 yard horse – ALL ABOUT LARRY.
Champion New Mexico-bred 870 yard horse – ROLLICKING RED.
Top New Mexico-bred 2-year-old colt or gelding – MOONIFISANT.
Top New Mexico-bred 2-year old filly – SLEW BY YOU.