Over $1.4 million in purses will be offered on Sunland Derby Day – Sunday, March 22, 2020.
The 17th running of the $700,000 Sunland Derby (GR III) at one and one-eighth miles will be the richest and most important race of the meet for three-year-old thoroughbreds seeking a berth into the 2020 Kentucky Derby. The winner of the Sunland Derby receives 50 critical qualifying points for entry into the Kentucky Derby. Qualifying points are also awarded to the next three finishers – 20 points for 2nd, 10 for 3rd, and 5 for 4th place. A record crowd of 19,081 fans came to witness the 2015 edition of the Sunland Derby.
The 2015 Sunland Derby winner, Firing Line, ran second to eventual Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the 2015 Kentucky Derby. Sunland Derby winners Hence (2017), Chitu (2014), Governor Charlie (2013), Daddy Nose Best (2012) and Twice the Appeal (2011) all ran in the Kentucky Derby. In 2009, Mine That Bird parlayed a fourth-place finish in the Sunland Derby to an improbable victory in the Kentucky Derby at 50-1 odds. Bird then went on to finish 2nd in the Preakness and 3rd in the Belmont Stakes that year.
In addition to the Sunland Derby, the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks, $100,000 Harry W. Henson Handicap, $100,000 Bill Thomas Memorial Handicap, $120,000 New Mexico State University Stakes, $120,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Oaks and $120,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Derby will help propel Sunland Park’s biggest live racing day on March 22.
SUNLAND DERBY WINNERS
|03/24/2019||Cutting Humor||Todd A. Pletcher||John R. Velazquez||1-1/8 mile||$800,000|
|03/25/2018||Runaway Ghost||Todd W. Fincher||Tracy J. Hebert||1-1/8 mile||$800,000|
|03/26/2017||Hence||Seven M. Asmussen||Alfredo J. Juarez Jr.||1-1/8 mile||$800,000|
|03/22/2015||Firing Line||Simon Callaghan||Gary L. Stevens||1-1/8 mile||$800,000|
|03/23/2014||Chitu||Bob Baffert||Martin Garcia||1-1/8 mile||$800,000|
|03/24/2013||Govenor Charlie||Bob Baffert||Martin Garcia||1-1/8 mile||$800,000|
|03/25/2012||Daddy Nose Best||Steven M. Asmussen||Julien R. Leparoux||1-1/8 mile||$800,000|
|03/27/2011||Twice the Appeal||Jeff Bonde||Christian Santiago Reyes||1-1/8 mile||$800,000|
|03/28/2010||Endorsement||Shannon Ritter||Robby Albarado||1-1/8 mile||$800,000|
|03/29/2009||Kelly Leak||Michael Machowsky||Mike E. Smith||1-1/8 mile||$800,000|
|03/16/2008||Liberty Bull||Thomas M. Amoss||Gerard Melancon||1-1/8 mile||$600,000|
|03/18/2007||Song of Navarone||Henry Dominguez||Victor Espinoza||1-1/8 mile||$600,000|
|04/01/2006||Wanna Runner||Bob Baffert||Victor Espinoza||1-1/8 mile||$600,000|
|04/02/2005||Thor's Echo||Doug F. O'Neill||Corey S. Nakatani||1-1/8 mile||$500,000|
|03/28/2004||Hi Teck Man||Johnnie L.Nall||Ricardo Jaime||1-1/16 mile||$500,000|
|03/30/2003||Excessivepleasure||Doug F. O'Neill||Pat Day||1-1/16 mile||$500,000|
* 2003 – WinStar Derby inaugural running.
* 2009 – Name is changed to Sunland Derby.
* 2010 – Achieved a Grade III stakes rating.
* 2016 – Canceled due to EHV-1 virus outbreak.
* 2020 – Canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic.