Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino
Saturday, February 11, 2017
by Eric Alwan
Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino presents two first class Thoroughbred stakes on Sunday. The high powered all-Thoroughbred 9-race card showcases the $75,000 Budweiser Handicap (8th race) going 6 furlongs and the $75,000 El Diario Handicap (9th race) for fillies mares racing six and one-half furlongs.
Sunday’s $75,000 Budweiser Handicap lures Toews on Ice and Surf N Ski
Grade 3 stakes winner Toews On Ice and Sunland Park 6-furlong track record holder Surf N Ski should take a bulk of the action in the first class sprint. In 2015, Toews On Ice won the Grade 3 Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar and was second in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity behind Mor Spirit. Sunland Park’s top trainer Justin Evans acquired the fast colt last fall. His charge responded in kind with a good looking allowance win here at Sunland Park on Jan. 10. He defeated Indexical and Deputy’s Echo while clocking five and one-half furlongs in 1:02.3. Ry Eikleberry returns to ride the 3-1 morning line favorite with $360,000 in earnings in the Budweiser.
Red hot trainer Dick “Flaco” Cappellucci sends out the ultra-quick Surf N Ski who set a new track record for 6 furlongs in his most recent win on January 14. Under jockey Ken Tohill, Surf N Ski won by over 5 lengths in a time of 1:07.2. The 9-year-old son of Unbridled Native is a former $5,000 claimer who has blossomed under the care of Cappellucci. His strong horse has won 7 races in the last 12 months and will most certainly press the pace. Surf N Ski is listed at 9-2 jockey Tohill in the irons.
2016 Bill Thomas Memorial Handicap winner Redneck Humor, Indexical, Flashy Indian, Get A Notion and Deputy’s Echo are also in the field.
K P Wildcat and African Rose do battle in $75,000 El Diario Handicap on Sunday
2016 Island Fashion winner K P Wildcat looms large as the favorite in the $75,000 El Diario Handicap. Weston Martin’s stout filly scored a rousing victory over African Rose in a local allowance race on Jan. 13. K P Wildcat loves the Sunland Park soil having won 3 of 4 races here. The four-year-old filly’s only loss at Sunland was a third place finish in last season’s Plum Pretty Stakes behind Thrilled and Family Tree. Roimes Chirinos rides the fast closing stretch runner.
African Rose comes back to settle the score with K P Wildcat. Despite coming off a year rest, African Rose gave the favorite a tough time in their recent battle only coming up three-parts of a length short in second place. The venerable 8-year-old daughter of Bwana Charlie is also a major Sunland Park horse for course. She is a 3-time winner of the Harry Henson Handicap and won the 2016 Bold Ego Handicap. Miguel Perez rides the 17-time winner for trainer Miguel Hernandez and the Judge Lanier Racing Stable.
New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap winner Bryn’s Fancy Pants deserves much respect. Todd Fincher’s gutsy filly is a 4-time stakes winner and finished second to stablemate Diabolical Dame in the Bold Ego Handicap run on Jan. 1. The 7-time winner is approaching a quarter million dollars in earnings.
Sunland Park’s Chief Cicatriz wins Phoenix Gold Cup
Sunland Park’s Chief Cicatriz went from last to first to take the $75,000 Phoenix Gold Cup at Turf Paradise on Saturday. Despite blowing the start, this season’s KLAQ Handicap winner rushed up for the lead and marched home a defiant winner under jockey Daniel Vergara. Shawn Davis trains the unbeaten 5-time winner for owner Roy Gene Evans.
Sunland Park race replays are now available on You Tube at “Sunland Park RacetrackCasino.”
Post time on Sunday is 12:45 p.m.