Sunland Park Sets New Handle Record on Sunland Derby Day

Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino’s 60th anniversary season reached another plateau on Sunday, March 24, 2019 with a new all-time high New Mexico state record handle.

The 12-race all-Thoroughbred card anchored by the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) generated a track and state record all-sources handle of over $4.8 million, breaking the previous record of nearly $4.3 million wagered on the 2018 Sunland Derby day card. In total, $4,810,923 was wagered on Sunday.

Cutting Humor won this year’s Sunland Derby (Gr. III) by a neck over Anothertwistafate in the closest win margin in the history of the race. A massive on-track crowd of 16,957 fans cheered with a massive roar during Sunland Park’s biggest race. Nearly $2 million was wagered on this year’s Sunland Derby (Gr. III) alone.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Cutting Humor earned 50 qualifying points and a virtual berth in this year’s Kentucky Derby. John Velazquez was the winning rider. Cutting Humor set a new track record for one and one-eighth miles in 1:46.94.

In only 16 editions, the Sunland Derby (Gr. III) has taken on national significance as an important Kentucky Derby prep. The $4.8 million handle record is a testament to the appeal of the race.

Dr. Leonard Blach, DVM, New Mexico State Racing Commissioner and co-owner of 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, said “It was a great day for New Mexico racing. If you want to see how live racing should be run, then you should be at the Sunland Derby. What a great program and a great crowd. So professionally done. We were so pleased.”

Ismael “Izzy” Trejo, Agency Director of the New Mexico State Racing Commission, added “The strong Sunland handle figures indicate the betting public loves to wager on a strong high quality product in New Mexico.”

Live racing resumes Friday at 12:50 p.m. The current season continues through Sunday, May 5.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography