Tremendous Stakes Races this Weekend

Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
by Eric Alwan


Tremendous Stakes Races this Weekend


A series of major league stakes races will help energize the upcoming weekend at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino. The 60th running of the $269,527 West Texas Futurity and the $50,000 West Texas Juvenile at 300 yards will be held on Saturday.

Sunday’s powerhouse races are the 59th running of the $150,000 Sunland Park Handicap at one mile and one eighth and the 19th running of the Copper Top Futurity at four and one-half furlongs. The highly successful live racing meet concludes on Tuesday, April 17.


60th running of the $269,527 West Texas Futurity set for Saturday


Suze Returns is the top qualifier for the rich West Texas Futurity (11th race). The 2-year-old daughter of High Rate of Return was brilliant in the trials on March 23, and won by an expanding 2 and 1/4 lengths under jockey Jaime Parga Leos. The 2-1 morning line favorite is trained by Juan M. Gonzalez.

Sweet Temptation is a 5-1 contender coming off a sizzling trial win for trainer Justin Joiner. Hall of Fame Quarter Horse rider G.R. Carter, Jr. retains the mount. Jess Like Fire and Steamin Eagle were also impressive trial winners.

A wide open field of 10 runs in the $50,000 West Texas Juvenile (10th race). The rapidly improving Flying Eagle 07, C Breeze and Pappas Lookin rate prominently.


59th running of the $150,000 Sunland Park Handicap on Sunday


Sunday’s strong card is anchored by the $150,000 Sunland Park Handicap (8th race). Winsham Lad and Curribot Handicap winner Sky Defence is looking to sweep the major Sunland Park stakes races for older runners going a route distance. Susan Arnett’s star distance expert commands much respect as the 2-1 morning line favorite. Ken Tohill rides the 8-time winner of over $201,000.

Judge Lanier Racing, the top owner at Sunland Park, directs three horses in the route feature. Oh So Regal exits a resounding near 7-length allowance win at one mile last March 20. He covered the distance in a rapid 1:35.25 and had plenty left in the tank. The promising three-year-old Sphene is the second part of the Judge Lanier Racing attack. He is a two-winner at the meet. Trooper is the third runner from the top barn. All three horses are trained by Miguel Hernandez.

$100,000 NMSU Handicap winner G M Gage is coming off a career best performance. The New Mexico-bred is trained by Gary Cross.

Trainer Chris Hartman ships in Futile from Oaklawn Park and should be a major threat in the Sunland Park Handicap. The 6-time winner has graded stakes experience from Oaklawn Park and Hawthorne Park. The winner of over $213,000 should be pressing the pace on Sunday. Tracy Hebert will ride. Hartman won the Sunland Park Handicaps in 2008 and 2010 with One Lucky Buck and Red Lead, respectively.


19th running of $162,905 Copper Top Futurity ready on Sunday


Sunland Derby (Gr. III) winning trainer Todd Fincher has two aces running in the Copper Top Futurity (9th race) with Hustle Up and Scotty Who. Both New Mexico-bred phenoms won their respective trials heats with ease. Hustle Up won by nearly 2 lengths under a hand ride from Tracy Hebert. Scotty Who scored a debut win with leading rider Alfredo Juarez, Jr. in the trials and was over 6 lengths in front. Hustle Up is the 2-1 morning line favorite while Scotty Who rates a 5-2 offering.


Post time on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday is 12:30 p.m.


Photo Credit: Coady Photography