Sunland Park Oaks & Sunland Park Derby Odds and Picks

On Sunday March 26th, trials for the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Road to the Kentucky Oaks will be held at the Sunland Park, where Slow Down Andy will attempt to make amends for his below-par performance in the G2 Risen Star Stakes. He’s the leading chance for the Sunland Park Derby, while Optionality could bag the Sunland Park Oaks, but she’ll face some interesting rivals here as well.

Sunland Park Oaks

Fifty points for the winner are up for grabs together with the purse of $300,000 in this event open to three-year-old fillies who will cover the distance of a mile and a half of a furlong. On the dirt surface, Optionalit, trained by Steven Asmussen, could fulfil the role of a favorite here as she scored two black-type wins in 2021, upon which he was second in a Listed.

She utterly failed to succeed in the G3 Honeybee Stakes from the front, but Optionality could manage to hold on to the first place until the very end in this competition. Still, we also like Peter Eurton’s Queen of Thorns with only two outings under her belt, but she’s already shown some talent. After bagging her debut in January, she finished a distant second place in the G3 Las Virgenes Stakes.

Although she was really far away from the victress, her effort in the G3 race when running only for the second time in her career could suggest there is something about her.

Miss Hark Knocks is another to consider, given she completed a victorious hattrick in February as she won a maiden at first, upon which she triumphed in a couple of black-type races at the Sunland Park in front of some of her Sunday’s opponents, including Manorelli who shouldn’t be discarded here as well.

HorseJockeyHorse Racing Odds courtesy of JazzSports
Pumpkin BreadFrancisco Amparan+800
Cleopatras ChargeJorge Carreno+1000
CaliMiguel Fuentes, Jr.+1200
LandslidRoimes Chirinos+800
Tyler’s DreamEnrique Portillo Gomez+1200
OptionalityJoel Rosario+300
Ali AlleyKelsi Purcell+1000
Queen of ThornsVictor Espinoza+400
ManorelliEdwin A. Maldonado+800
Miss Hard KnocksHarry Hernandez+500

Our Sunland Park Oaks betting pick is Miss Hard Knocks, whose most recent victory was quite easy, and she could be classy enough to score this.

Sunland Park Derby

Eight three-year-olds will line up for the $500,000 Sunland Park Derby, where the winner obtains 50 points toward the Kentucky Derby. On the distance of a mile and a furlong, Slow Down Andy is the favourite for this G3 dirt race as Doug O’Neill scored the Los Alamitos Futurity in December.

He didn’t draw on that performance in his seasonal debut when finishing only sixth in the G2 Risen Star Stakes, but he had a bad trip back then as he was too eager, turned too wide, and had nothing else to offer in the final stretch. With a more peaceful gallop, he is the leading chance here because none of his rivals has scored at the Graded scene so far.

Straight Up G looks the main threat for the favorite, given he won two black-type races and left behind some of his Sunday’s opponents, namely Bye Bye Bobby, Classic Moment, and Pepper Spray. The latter is also a black-type scored, beating Bye Bye Bobby in January by a neck. Straight Up G should be the most seriously taken from the mentioned favourite’s rivals.  

HorseJockeyHorse Racing Odds courtesy of JazzSports
Costa TerraLuis Negron+800
Classic MomentJoel Rosario+350
Fowler BlueEdwin A. Maldonado+2000
Slow Down AndyMario Gutierrez+200
Bye Bye BobbyRoimes Chirinos+450
Pepper SprayLuis A. Valenzuela+1500
Chrome KingEnrique Garcia+1500
Straight Up GRicardo Gonzalez+250

Our Sunland Park Derby top choice is Slow Down Andy, as none of the other participants has displayed the class the favorite did. 

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