Final weekend of Sunland Park racing season headlined by massive stakes races

Apr 4, 2024

Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Final weekend of Sunland Park racing season headlined by massive stakes races

$354,467 New Mexican Spring Futurity, $311,896 West Texas Futurity and $100,000 NMHBA Quarter Horse Stakes on Saturday

$200,000 Sunland Park Handicap anchors terrific all-Thoroughbred closing day Sunday card


The 2024 live racing season at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino will be headlined by a series of lucrative stakes races for quarter horses on Saturday, followed by an extraordinary closing day card with five thoroughbred stakes races on tap.

On Saturday, the penultimate day of the season, juvenile quarter horses will be in the spotlight in both the $354,467 (RG-II) New Mexican Spring Futurity and the $311,896 Grade II West Texas Futurity. Both 300-yard dashes feature full fields of some of the top juvenile prospects in the southwest.

Sunday’s closing day program will be headlined by five thoroughbred stakes races, including the $200,000 Sunland Park Handicap.

Saturday’s Grade II New Mexican Spring Futurity will feature Pavel, owned and trained by Jorge Luis Sanchez, Jr., who raced his way to being the fastest qualifier for the race when trials were held here on March 16. The New Mexico-bred son of Czar Cartel Mv won his trial heat by three-quarters of a length in a time of 15.45 seconds for 300 yards.

Listed as the 3-to-1 morning line favorite, Pavel will break from post nine in the 10-horse New Mexican Spring Futurity and will be ridden by Luis Martinez, who has been his pilot for each of his first two career starts.

The nightcap for Saturday’s card is the Grade 2 West Texas Futurity in its 64th renewal, featuring some of the top quarter horses across the country.

Painted Eclispe, owned by Shaun Hubbard, La Feliz Montana Ranch LLC and B. Ray Willis, has been installed as the 4-to-1 morning line favorite for the West Texas Futurity. Trained by Xavier Rodriguez, the Oklahoma-bred son of Pyc Paint Your Wagon was an impressive winner in his debut, scoring in his trial heat by three-quarters of a length on March 17, racing 300 yards in a time of 15.15 seconds.

Martinez, who has been named aboard the morning line favorite for both futurities on Saturday, will guide Painted Eclispe from the rail in the 10-horse dash.

Saturday’s card also includes the $100,000 NMBHA Quarter Horse Stakes at 400 yards, the $50,000 New Mexican Spring Fling at 300 yards and the $50,000 West Texas Juvenile at 300 yards.

On Sunday, five stakes races, worth purses totaling $650,000, highlight the closing day action.

Judge Lanier Racing’s Mine That Star will look to repeat as champion of the $200,000 Sunland Park Handicap when he enters the starting gate as the 8-to-5 favorite in a field of seven older horses racing 1 and 1/8 miles.

A 10-time winner from 25 lifetime starts with earnings of more than $567,000, Mine That Star will break from post six in the Sunland Park Handicap and will be ridden by Ken Tohill for trainer Dick Cappellucci.

Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen sends out second choice Presidential for owners Courtlandt Farms. The 5-year-old Kentucky-bred is looking to snap a five-race losing streak, which includes a second place finish last fall behind Mine That Star in the Zia Championship at Zia Park.

The Sunland Park Handicap is the eighth race on the Sunday card and has a scheduled post time of 3:32 p.m.

Also headlining the Sunday program is the $125,000 Island Fashion Stakes, which will be run as the second race on the card. Asmussen-trained maiden winner Deviletta, who made her lone career start on Jan. 27 at Sam Houston Race Course, leads a field of five runners as the 7-to-5 morning line favorite for the one-mile race.

Corrina Corrina will look to defend her title in the $100,000 Peppers Pride Stakes when she enters the starting gate for owner Derick Jenkins and trainer Gary Cross as the 3-to-5 morning line favorite in the one-mile affair. The New Mexico-bred daughter of Mr. Trieste has already amassed earnings of more than $833,000 while winning 12 times from 25 career starts.

The Peppers Pride Stakes will go as the fourth race on the program and has a scheduled post time of 1:43 p.m.

Corrina Corrina has never finished worse than second in eight starts at Sunland Park. She will be ridden by Tracy Hebert in the Peppers Pride and will break from the inside post against five rivals.

The $125,000 Mine That Bird Derby, listed as the seventh race on the closing day program, will be headlined by Eleanor Martin’s Alotaluck, second-place finisher in his most recent start, the $400,000 Grade III Sunland Derby on Feb. 18. Trained by Ty Garrett, Alotaluck has one win from three starts to his credit and will reach the starting gate under Hebert as the 3-to-5 morning line favorite against five rivals.

The ninth and final race of the day, and the racing season at Sunland Park, is the $100,000 New Mexico State University Stakes at 1 1-16 miles. Let Him Be, trained by Joel Marr for owners V Bar V Racing, LLC., has been installed as the 2-to-1 morning line favorite in the field of 11 older state-breds.

A son of Sway Away, Let Him Be has won six times from seven career starts, most recently winning an allowance race at Sunland Park on March 8. A  two-time stakes winner, Let Him Be drew the inside post and will be ridden by Miguel Fuentes in the NMSU Stakes, which has a scheduled post time of 4 p.m. First race post time Thursday through Sunday is 12:25 p.m.