Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino
Sunday, May 5, 2019
by Eric Alwan
2018-2019 Thoroughbred Season Champions at Sunland Park Racetrack
Luis Contreras is the runaway leading Sunland jockey
Jockey Luis Contreras arrived on the scene this season from Woodbine and quickly dominated the Sunland Park riding colony, winning 71 races from 240 mounts, easily distancing himself from runner-up Ry Eikleberry with 44 wins and Elvin Gonzalez, who checked in with 38 wins. Contreras’ mounts earned more than $1.2 million this season and his 30 percent win ratio was tops among leading riders at Sunland in the last four years. Among his stakes winners this season, Contreras rode Shining Source to victory in the New Mexico State University Handicap for trainer Blake Rust, Hustle Up for trainer Todd Fincher in the Red Hedeman Mile and Nitrous for trainer Steve Asmussen in the Riley Allison Derby.
Justin Evans wins sixth Sunland training title
Trainer Justin Evans was crowned as the leading thoroughbred trainer for the sixth time in the last seven years, winning 37 times this season, 6 more than runner-up Miguel Hernandez and seven ahead of Henry Dominguez. Evans-trained runners won at a 27 percent clip this season, with purse monies approaching $595,000. During this campaign, Evans also reached a career milestone, eclipsing 2,000 wins as a trainer. Among his stakes winners this season were Raagheb, who captured the Winsham Lad Handicap.
Judge Lanier Racing dominates again as leading owner
The team of Tom and Sandy McKenna, also known as Judge Lanier Racing, once again dominated the owners’ division at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino, winning 43 times this season, well ahead of the rest of the competition. This is the sixth consecutive season in which Judge Lanier Racing has topped the owners standings at Sunland. Their starters won at an 18 percent clip this season and earned nearly $794,000. Among their leading stakes types this season were McWend, winner of both the New Mexico Breeders’ Oaks and Peppers Pride Handicap, as well as Performance Review, winner of the Neon Desert Handicap.
Photo Credit: Coady Photography