SUNLAND PARK, NM (KTSM) – This Sunday is the Sunland Derby at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino and a local trainer is hoping for another shot at the Kentucky Derby.

A gray horse wearing a turquoise logo could be seen preparing for Sunday’s race on the Sunland Park track on Thursday, his name is Bye Bye Bobby.

“He’s a big pretty gray horse, I think he’s probably the only gray horse in the race so I think he stands out as far as color goes,” said Fincher.

He’s trained by local trainer Todd Fincher and will be ridden by a local jokey on Sunday.

“These are, our roots, this would mean a lot to someone from El Paso,” said Fincher.

The winner of the Sunland Derby qualifies for the Kentucky Derby, and back in 2018 Fincher had a horse named Runaway Ghost that won the Sunland Derby.

However, he never made it to Kentucky as Runaway Ghost suffered a cracked shin and was out of the race.

Fincher hoping to win Sunday’s derby with Bye Bye Bobby, who was bought as a yearling for $870,000 and has been trained with the Sunland Derby in mind.

“It’s the staple race in Sunland Park you know you win the Sunland Derby your automatically qualified for the Kentucky Derby so yes we have been pointing this horse for this race since the day we bought him, this has been our goal,” said Fincher.

Sunland Park Track Announcer Eric Alwan saying Bye Bye Bobby will have some tough competition coming in from California. Saying to look out for two horses by the name of Straight Up G and Slow Down Andy.

“The winner of the Mine that Bird Derby, and that’s a horse called Straight Up G so he has a little bit of favor of a least running over our race track, he likes it here, he’s won in California too and he’s an up and comer and definitely going to be a major player maybe the second favorite,” said Alwan.

“Slow Down Andy, another star from California that’s coming into the race with excellent credentials, trained by Doug O’niell whos won our Sunland Derby twice in the past and is a Kentucky Derby winning trainer,” said Alwan.

There will be a total of 12 races on Sunday but the 11th will be the Sunland Derby. Local trainer Fincher talking about the talented jockeys coming in to town.

“There’s an outstanding racing card on Sunday, you’ve got top jockeys coming in from all over the place the 2021 eclipse winning jockey is here to ride, he’s the number one jockey in the world and he’ll be here riding the Sunland derby and other big races as well, so it’s a big day for Sunland park,” said Fincher.

Officials with Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino say the approximate time the Sunland Derby race will begin is 5:15. Expecting bets for the day to break records.

“Were anticipating a record amount of wagering going on at Sunland Park and around the world our record is 4.8 million and were expecting over 5 million for the day,” said Dustin Dix the Director of Racing Operations at Sunland Park Race Track and Casino.

For more information on the weekend’s events, click here.

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