Sunland Derby Handicapping Preview

Sunland Derby Winner Will Qualify for Kentucky Derby

A dozen 3-year-olds with their sights set on this year’s Kentucky Derby will run 1 1/8 miles and chase an $800,000 purse in Sunday’s Sunland Derby (G3). The race marks the final qualifying prep in the Kentucky Derby Championship Series with a 50-20-10-5 points distribution.

Conquest Mo Money (9/2) is unbeaten in three starts, all on this Sunland surface, and he looked especially good winning his last two. This colt by Uncle Mo pulverized a stakes field two back (Jan 29) and the two lengths he won his next/last start by does not do justice as to how much better he was than the rest of the field that day. He’s got strong speed and should be one to watch sitting just off the pace breaking from the outside post No. 12. He’ll be making his run down the stretch with hopefully enough left to hold off the hard, late chargers.

Bronze Age (3/1) is the race favorite, and the $600,000 colt by Mineshaft won when stretching out to a mile for trainer Bob Baffert. He opened a 4 length lead at the top of the stretch and registered a field high 93 speed figure. He’ll be tough to catch.

The next three contenders are all 6/1, and Irap may be a maiden but has run second to the likes of Kentucky Derby hopeful Royal Mo and perhaps the best 3-year-old in the land (Mastery). Irap is a talented $300,000 colt by Tiznow. Kimbear (15/1) gets back on dirt and the son of Temple City could close strong to out-finish his odds.

As soon as Hedge Fund (6/1) moved from sprinting to a route race, he looked like a different horse for trainer Todd Pletcher. The Super Saver colt was “pulling away” late while whipping maidens and improved his speed figure a significant 32 points in the process.

Hence’s (12/1) performance in the Southwest Stakes was most disappointing. The son of Street Boss from the Steve Asmussen barn definitely has ability and his speed figure continues to climb.

A very quick pace is expected with an abundance of speed from a number of runners that do their best racing on or very close to the lead. Shareholder Value (6/1) could be a closer to consider. He was 5th in the LeComte Stakes (G2) two starts back just 2 lengths behind the winner despite being bumped early and running wide. A positive jockey change to Javier Castellano along with trainer Tom Amoss’ strong record with shippers makes him an attractive option at a price.

Check out the Spiral Stakes/Sunland Derby Double – Exacta at twinspires.com.

Click here to view the solid stakes card at Sunland Park leading up to the Race 9 Sunland Derby on Sunday, March 26.

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