Friday, March 27, 2009

Sunland Derby Capsules, race March 29

Sunland Derby Capsules
By Felix Chavez
Sun-News reporter
SUNLAND PARK — Here is a look at today’s 12-horse field in the Sunland Derby, which will be contested at 1 and 1/8 mile. The race is slated to start at 5:45 p.m.
Horses are in post position order
Valid Stripes
Morning-line odds: 15-1
Jockey: Corey Lanerie
Trainer: O.D. Jamison Jr.
Notes: The Texas-bred standout isn’t the most known horse in the field, but should like the distance and has fared well on the Texas circuit. Has hit board in 6 of 7 races and is the Texas Stallion champion.

Morning-line odds: 12-1
Jockey: David Flores
Trainer: Darrell Vienna
Notes: This talented young horse is improving and gets one of the top jockeys in the nation in David Flores. Ran second to Kelly Leak, who is in this race. Won race in second career start on Jan. 22 at Santa Anita Park.

Morning-line odds: 6-1
Jockey: John Velasquez
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Notes: Pletcher is one of the nation’s top trainers and Velasquez is one of the nation’s top jockeys, making this horse a serious contender because of those connections. Has fared well on different tracks and should be able to handle the distance. Pletcher’s father Jake Pletcher is a former trainer at Sunland Park. Advice is well-bred and could be a very serious challenger here today.

Morning-line odds: 12-1
Jockey: Luis Contreras
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Notes: Ran fifth in Borderland Derby back on Feb. 28 at Sunland. Has failed in two attempts against top notch horses, but does come from good barn and distance won’t be a problem.

Mayor Marv
Morning-line odds: 7-2
Jockey: Victor Espinoza
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Notes: Baffert, Espinoza and owner Mike Pegram have had success before at Sunland Park, winning a WinStar Derby with Wanna Runner in 2006. Mayor Marv is sharp coming in, having won two in a row, including the Turf Paradise Derby. Has hit the board in 6 of 7 and has run against top notch talent in California and in New York.

Morning-line odds: 6-1
Jockey: Michael C. Baze
Trainer: Doug O’Neill
Notes: Scorewithcater has been very good since being claimed by O’Neill’s barn, winning 4 of 5, including the Borderland Derby on Feb. 28. O’Neill won two WinStar Derbies in 2003 and 2005. Scorewithcater should like the distance and is a strong closer.

Mythical Power
Morning-line odds: 10-1
Jockey: Garrett Gomez
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Notes: This Baffert horse has shown improvement in young career. Won last out on March 6 at Santa Anita and is well-bred. In addition, this horse gets the very good Garrett Gomez to ride. Gomez is one of the nation’s elite jockeys and could help this horse reach new heights.

Kelly Leak
Morning-line odds: 4-1
Jockey: Mike Smith
Trainer: Michael Machowsky
Notes: Horse has proven to be very tough on a variety of tracks and should be ok at distance. Has earned more than $120,000 in career and gets jockey Mike Smith aboard. Smith hails from Roswell and will certainly be a big hit with the local race fans. Kelly Leak has hit board in 5 of 7 races and has had some good workouts recently.

Mine That Bird
Morning-line odds: 8-1
Jockey: Casey Lambert
Trainer: Chip Woolley
Notes: This son of former Belmont winner Birdstone has plenty of potential. Ran second in Borderland Derby at Sunland and has earned more than $326,000 in career. Should be able to handle the distance and has been on grounds at track in preparation for this race.

Morning-line odds: 20-1
Jockey: Mark Villa
Trainer: Bart Hone
Notes: After going 0-for-3 in California, horse came to Sunland Park and earned win on March 10. Is bred to go long and gets the always dangerous Mark Villa to ride.

Mark S the Cooler
Morning-line odds: 12-1
Jockey: Corey Nakatani
Trainer: Doug O’Neill
Notes: This horse gave his connections some hope in this race after a very good workout on March 22 at Hollywood Park. Has run against top horses at Santa Anita. Gets the very good Corey Nakatani aboard.

Smokin’ Legend
Morning-line odds: 20-1
Jockey: Jorge Espitia
Trainer: Dwain Grissom
Notes: Espitia said Wednesday that this horse is training well and should like the longer distance. Ran a nice third in Borderland Derby and appears to be coming into his own. Has run at Churchill Downs and Keeneland Racetracks.

Felix Chavez can be reached at; (575) 541-5444


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