The Turk handicapped the Sunland Derby last year. The race had the same purse of $800,000, which was nice, but it lacked the graded stakes designation it now enjoys. Just compare last year's entrants (Yeah, overlook a certain gelding that the Turk had finishing just out of the money)to this year's, and wow, a bit of difference in star power! Today we have a ho-hum Pick Three centered around the Sunland Derby with two top shelf 3 YOs entered, Conveyance and Tempted to Tapit. Could this dust bowl e more of a road to Kentucky then the fake dirt of Keeneland or the Aqueduct? Time will be the judge of that, and regardless of my dislike of race casinos, they are the reality of the day.
Sunland Park Race 11-12-13: First Post 7:15 ET
Watch the track condition, weather and scratches from here!
The Turk is still forming a bet strategy so I'm just going to type and see what comes of it.
Race 11 is the Sunland Park Oaks. A field of six are entered, a fairly even bunch at that. Queen Greeley has two SUN wins and is 3 of 4 on dirt, 4 of 4 in the money and a last race best 86 BSF in a one mile ungraded stakes prep. Trainer Fincher wins 29% of his stakes races and 30% of his WON LAST STARTS. Combined with Jock Enriquez, up, they clip along at 33% at Sunland.
Baffert drops in Ellafitz for her first time on dirt. Comes in off a win at 1 1/16 on fake dirt at SA and the daughter of Tiznow has M. Garcia up, and the Baffert/Garcia combo with 90+ races wins 29% of the time together. Early speed.
If hunting for value, if there is any here, Pyrite on my Mind presents possibilities. Blinkers on for the first time, this last two race Place runner appears to strike the lead and get distracted. Last race out she rallied in the final 16th showing guts. Trainer Cross wins 25% of Blinkers On, albeit with only 8 tries. Harissa also tries dirt for the first time and will attract betting dollars. I don't like her to win but that's why they run em'.
In the main event, the Sunland Park Derby, Conveyance is pointed here after a workmanlike win in the Oaklawn Park Grade III South West. I'm curious if these GSW dollars seemed like more of a sure bet then the Arkansas Derby but I try not to second guess HOF Trainers. Has been working sharply at SA at 6 and 7 furlongs and is 4-0, with three straight 90+ BSF.
Tempted to Tapit comes in off an impressive Maiden win at Aqueduct that was followed up with a second to Discreetly Mine in the Grade II Risen Star. I think he's a solid Grade III competitor but I have my doubts of him consistently beating the best in his age class as a 3 YO. Cohen up for Trainer Klesaris.
Nacho Friend comes in from Aqueduct where he faded in the Grade III Gotham. Worked at Sunland last week and is capable of a mid 90 BSF.
Storming Saint has a Sunland win to his credit through DQ. Would be a significant upset to see him win but I think he's the last of the field with a real shot, apologies to Classical Stew.
The Turk thinks he'll play some straight Super's for the Sunland Park Derby but the other races will only be part of a very cheap Pick 3.
Race 13 is a Maiden 24K for Fillies and Mares. Of the seven horse field, Disturbingly Hot, 4 YO daughter of Unbridled's Song will be a heavy chalk. Shannon Sue, trained by Mr. Chip Wolley for those cowboys at Double Eagle Ranch has a three time Place runner coming in off a career best, last race best 59 BSF.
The Turk will be checking back in later to review his close but no cigar Pick 4 at Fair Grounds yesterday.
Have Fun, Turk Out!