*This article was released before the Sunland Derby and the firestorm of the New York Times article.*
Even though horses who have started in the Sunland Derby and Sunland Oaks have gone on to do well on the national stage, it seems many in the thoroughbred industry still look down their nose at New Mexico’s two premier thoroughbred races.
Now that New Mexico horse racing has been shown in such a negative light, I wonder if the Sunland Derby’s Grade III status will be yanked. The grading process is long, arduous, and at times baffling. Each year some races are added, others are dropped. Most of the time the reasons are evident, but there are times when the committees decicions make your scratch your head and wonder. Sunland Park Racetrack’s owner Stan Fulton and General Manager Harold Payne worked long and hard to get a thoroughbred graded race. If for no other reason, I hope that the Sunland Derby and Oaks are huge successes as a tribute to the work of these two men.
I for one will be following the horses that started in the Sunland Derby and rooting for them to do well.
He said it and nailed it on the nose. “Eight hundred thousand isn’t what it used to be,” insisted Dustin Dix, Sunland Park director of racing operations and the man who put together the $800,000 Sunland Derby, to be run Sunday at Sunland Park.
Read Sunland Park Racetrack’s Dustin Dix’s take on the Sunland Derby’s purse and history at: Hovdey: Even $800,000 can’t always buy the best