Sunland Derby at Sunland
Sunday, March 23rd we have the $800,000 Grade 3 Sunland Derby at Sunland. The Sunland Derby is one of the Kentucky Derby Championship races and will award points to the top 4 horses that will go towards their chance to enter this year’s Kentucky Derby. If you are unfamiliar with the Kentucky Derby Points System, read up on it and book mark this page- 2014 Kentucky Derby Points System. The first running of the Sunland Derby was in 2003. In last year’s edition of the race, Govenor Charlie won by 5 lengths and set the current record for the race with a time of 1:47.54. This year’s field is looking to best that time, so let’s get started and find us a winner!
Grade 3 Sunland Derby
The $800,000 Grade 3 Sunland Derby is the 11th race on the card Sunday at Sunland and will feature a field of 9 three year olds traveling 1 1/8 mile. The 5/2 morning line favorite is Midnight Hawk. Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Mike Smith, Midnight Hawk was the winner of the Grade 3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita back in January. Since then he has run 3rd in the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis and 2nd in the Grade 2 San Felipe, both at Santa Anita. This horse is full of front-end speed and should be up front early. Next on the morning line is Commissioner at 7/2. He didn’t fare as well as his connections had hoped in his last outing in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth where he finished 6th, but might have a better chance here if a speed duel gets the best of Midnight Hawk. Midnight Hawk may very well end up in that fight for the front-end, especially with Chitu and Tanzanite Cat up in the mix. For value, I’m going to step outside of my comfort zone and ignore the speed duel upfront by going with Tanzanite Cat at 6 to 1 on the morning line. I was very impressed with the Smarty Jones win at Oaklawn. So much so that I am willing to throw out the 5th place finish in the Southwest and give him another try here. For a longshot, I’m going with Rebranded at 12 to 1 on the ML. He doesn’t have some of the class these others are sporting, but his speed figures are good and he could just show up and upset this field. Good luck everybody!