Imagine, if you will, owning a three-year-old and entering him in an allowance race. Then imagine that someone tells you that the allowance type race is worth $800,000, and if you win it, you are in the Kentucky Derby. Sounds like a good deal for you as the owner of the young colt … but what about for everyone else? Welcome to the 2013 Sunland Derby. Not only couldn’t the bloated purse attract a good field, but not even the decision by Churchill Downs to include this race in their championship series level on its point schedule could muster up a race half way good enough to call itself a Kentucky Derby qualifier. It’s wasted money, and not fair to the horse that ends up 21st in the race to get into the Run for the Roses. Without further ado I give you the sorriest $800k race I could ever imagine.
Just Win Baby – Two maiden races on the resume so far. Sixth in the first one, he did come back and win the second try. He might have a class edge in here.
Abraham – Also has only two maiden races on his career past performances. Second in the first try, he came back to win the next one in the dazzling time of 1:52 4/5 for nine furlongs.
Stormdriver – Now we are talking … a horse with stakes experience. In four stakes races he is 0-for-4, with an 8th at Golden Gate and a well beaten 3rd against Arizona-breds.
Shakin It Up – The favorite and only graded stakes winner in the field. Keep in mind, though, that he has never been farther than seven furlongs, and the horse that ran 2nd to him last time just finished way back in the Rebel.
Saint Prado – Broke his maiden in his third try last out, but would seem to fit in well against this bunch.
Dry Summer – A consistent sort with four career wins; however, his three attempts in graded stakes have yielded three results of finishing up the track.
Govenor Charlie – Another with only a pair of maiden efforts so far. Having said that, he was very game in the win, and may prove the one to beat in what amounts to a very rich non-winner of one for him.
Mudflats – Is 1-for-5 lifetime, and finished 7th and 5th in his first two tries against stakes company.
Show Some Magic – I’ll sum up the most experienced horse in the field by saying he was beaten by 15 and 20 in his two stakes tries at Delta Downs.
This race is all you get for $800k, and the winner is all but ensured of entry into the Kentucky Derby … really? Sad. If I was Churchill Downs, I would null and void the point allotment before they enter the starting gate. If I was Sunland Park, I would demand a refund. They should just explain in the winner’s circle that they want a majority of the purse back due to extreme mediocrity. As a racing fan, I will draw a line through this one as a serious Kentucky Derby prep, and only hope they attract a better field next year.