Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sunland Derby Prediction, race is March 28

Conveyance to win Sunland Derby
By Felix Chavez
El Paso Times
Sunday’s version of the Sunland Derby promises to be the best ever in the eight years of the event, which takes place at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.
Most likely, this year’s winner and perhaps another horse will move on to the Kentucky Derby. The Grade 3 event is worth $800,000 overall and half of that goes to the winner.
The field is nine-deep and there are several notable contenders among the 3-year-olds.
The leader of the pack and the general consensus as the favorite is Conveyance, which has won all four career races and proved he can travel well when went to Oaklawn Park in Arkansas last month and won the Southwest Stakes. He previously had raced in California. Conveyance is fast and earning the No. 3 post will only help his trek around the track in the one and 1/8th mile race.
Conveyance is trained by Bob Baffert and gets the talented Martin Garcia to ride. It’s going to very difficult to beat him if he’s at his best.
Baffert likes his horse a great deal and feels he’s improving a great deal as he matures.
Conveyance’s challengers are likely to be Tempted To Tapit, Classic Slew, Nacho Friend and Storming Saint.
Storming Saint has familiarity with the track having won the Borderland Derby last month and he is getting better with each race.
Nacho Friend is an improving for trainer Kelly Breen and might just have a chance against this field if he can get clear in the final stretch.
Classic Slew is an interesting horse and is going the distance for the first time. Trainer Doug O’Neill has had plenty of success at Sunland Park and may have this horse sharp in time to do some damage.
Tempted to Tapit comes into this race with high hopes. He’s won just 1 of 5 but is finding his groove as a horse and a win isn’t out of the question in this race. He will go for the lead up front with Conveyance and that could set up an interesting speed battle.
But in the end, I have to go with the 9-5 morning favorite Conveyance. He has all the factors working for him – jockey, trainer, confidence and the ability to go wire to wire. Conveyance looks the part of a Kentucky Derby horse and he seems to be improving with each workout in the morning and with each performance at the track. And Baffert knows how to get a horse ready for the Derby.
In the final analysis, I like Conveyance for the top spot followed by Nacho Friend and Tempted to Tapit.

Felix Chavez can be reached at fchavez@elpasotimes.com; (915) 546-6374