Hustle Up goes wire to wire in $100,000 Mine That Bird Derby
New Mexico-bred sensation Hustle Up scored a wire to wire win in the 19th running of the $100,000 Mine That Bird Derby on Sunday at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.
Under a cool ride from Shane Laviolette, Hustle Up was able to control the pace and made every pole a winning one. The three-year-old son of Abstraction used his tactical speed to hold clear over a fast closing Wicked Indeed and win the last local prep for the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) by one length. The front running expert timed the one mile and one-sixteenth distance in a good 1:42.31. The 2018 Copper Top Futurity and 2019 Red Hedeman Mile winner served notice with a polished performance and remains unbeaten over Sunland Park soil in four outings. His amazing career record stands at 8 wins from 10 starts.
The Todd Fincher trained dynamo could have a substantial impact in the Sunland Derby (Gr. III) to be run on Sunday, March 24. Hustle Up earned $60,000 for owner Dale Taylor, Bobby McQueen and Suzanne Kirby. The perfect Sunland runner paid $7.00 to win as the second favorite at 5-2 odds.
4-5 favorite Wicked Indeed was 5-wide on the far turn and tried his best under leading rider Luis Contreras. The gray roan Tapit colt closed too late and had to settle for second place. Steve Asmussen trains for the Winchell Thoroughbreds. The runner-up earned $20,000.
Walker Stalker finished 4 lengths behind the winner in third place. The former maiden winner from the barn of Jose R. Gonzalez, Jr. mounted a serious charge coming off the far turn.
Photo Credit: Coady Photography