Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino
Thursday, January 18, 2024
Community Leader holds on to win $100,000 Corralito Steak House Stakes
J. Kirk and Judy Robison’s Community Leader made an impressive debut as a three-year-old Thursday afternoon at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino, scoring a hard-fought victory in the $100,000 Corralito Steak House Stakes under jockey Felipe Valdez.
Trained by Todd Fincher, the son of Diabolical was always within striking range of early leader Milk it as the field raced down the backstretch. Valdez swung Community Leader to the outside of his pace rival on the far turn, getting past him inside the final 100 yards before holding off a determined late rally from Marking Canyon and jockey Jorge Carreno.
Community Leader crossed the wire a neck in front of the runner-up, racing six furlongs in a time of 1 minute, 11.7 seconds. Thursday’s win is his seventh from eight career starts, which also includes victories in the New Mexico Classic Cup Juvenile Championship at Zia Park in November, as well as the Rio Grande Senor Futurity and the Mountain Top Futurity last summer at Ruidoso Downs. Community Leader’s win in the Corralito Steak House Stakes earned him $60,000, increasing his lifetime earnings to more than $347,000.
Sent off as the prohibitive .30-to-1 favorite on the toteboard, Community Leader returned $2.60 to his winning backers. Runnerup Marking Canyon, trained by Todd’s father Leroy Fincher, prompted a $2 exacta payoff of $9.60. Milk It was third under Francisco Amparan, while Holy Bullet rounded out the top four finishers.
Payingoffmymarker glides home in $100,000 La Senora Stakes
Payingoffmymarker made short work of her rivals and simply glided home an easy 4 and ½ length winner in the $100,000 La Senora Stakes.
Under a cool ride from Tracy Hebert, the three-year-old Marking filly produced a breathtaking win from a stalking position down the backstretch of the 6-furlong stakes. She covered the distance
In a fast 1:11.60 and gave trainer Todd Fincher a sweep of the Thursday Stakes. The winner earned $60,000 from her first career stake win. The up and coming is owned by Dustin Brooks.
Mark The Winner was a non-threatening second as the favorite. Make Up a Story made up ground belatedly to get third place.
Friday’s nine-race card at Sunland Park is highlighted by four thoroughbred stakes races, including prep races for next month’s Grade 3, $400,000 Sunland Derby as well as the $250,000 Sunland Park Oaks.
The $65,000 Borderplex Stakes, which goes as race six on the card for three-year-old fillies features a field of five runners led by two-time stakes winner Candy Aisle. In the ninth and final, a field of eight will load into the gate for the 60th running of the $100,000 Riley Allison Derby featuring impressive maiden winners shipping in from Churchill Downs and the Fair Grounds.
In addition, a pair of stakes races for older sprinters will headline the Friday card, with the $65,000 Bold Ego Handicap for fillies and mares going as the seventh race on the program and the $75,000 Ft. Bliss Handicap set to go as the eighth race on the card. First post time on Friday is 12:25 p.m.