Asmussen brings strong contingent into the Zia Park Derby

Asmussen brings strong contingent into the Zia Park Derby
Photo: Michael Burns/Woodbine

With dual Canadian classic winner Tone Broke headlining the $250,000 Zia Park Derby, the $1 million Land of Enchantment program at Zia Park on Nov. 27 has shaped up as an intriguing weekday program for race fans.

In addition to the 1 1/16-mile Zia Park Derby, which drew a competitive field of 10, Zia Park will host six other stakes. These include the $250,00 Zia Park Oaks, $150,000 Zia Park Championship for older horses, Zia Park Sprint and Distaff each worth $100,00, and a pair of $75,000 sprints for juveniles.

Tone Broke is one of several horses from the Steve Asmussen barn that loom large on the Land of Enchantment program. The son of Broken Vow won the 1 3/16-mile Prince of Wales Stakes on dirt at Fort Erie in July and came back three weeks later to win the Breeders' Stakes on grass at Woodbine to capture two-thirds of the Canadian Triple Crown. He will return to the dirt after most recently running ninth on turf in the Jockey Club Derby Invitational at Belmont Park on Sept. 7. 

Other stakes winners signed up for the Zia Park Derby include Bankit for Asmussen, local hope Hustle Up for trainer Todd Fincher, and Mr. Money Bags, who most recently shipped in to Zia Park and captured the Roadrunner Stakes on Oct. 28 for trainer Mike Neatherlin. 

Two others that appear in with a shot are lightly-raced Sleepy Eyes Todd, who beat Bankit when finishing second to Owendale in the Oklahoma Derby (G3) on Sept. 29, and graded-stakes placed Proverb, who ships in for trainer Richard Baltas.

A well-seasoned group of 11 older horses is set to go postward in the 1 1/8-mile Zia Park Championship.

Headlining the field is million-dollar earner Lookin at Lee, another from the Asmussen barn. While the 5-year-old horse by Looking at Lucky has banked $1,333,195 to tower of his rivals, he has won just four times in 28 lifetime starts and hasn’t been in the best of form. Since winning the $200,000 Downs at Albuquerque Handicap on Aug. 3, Lookin at Lee has failed to hit the board in three stakes while being beaten a combined 29 lengths.

Restrainedvengence will ship in from Southern California for trainer Val Brinkerhoff. Since running third by a neck in the Longacres Mile on dirt in August, Restrainedvengence has made three starts routing on the grass, which includes a second-place finish beaten just a head in the City of Hope Mile (G2) at Santa Anita on Oct. 5. 

Other worth a look include the top-three finishers of the Veterans Stakes, the local prep for the Zia Park Championship. Bokeelia Island earned his sixth win in 12 starts this year in the Veterans for trainer Justin Evans. Runner-up Sky Promise, a multiple stakes winner for trainer Roberto Diadoro, and third-place finisher Sphene will look to turn the tables. 

The Zia Park Oaks includes Monmouth Oaks (G3) winner Horologist for Baltas; Lady Apple, who won the Remington Park Oaks (G3) last out for Asmussen; and Calf Moon Bay, who will be making her first start since finishing third in the Feb. 9 Las Virgenes Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

First post time on Zia Park Derby day is 2 p.m. ET, with the featured Derby going as the 10th and final race on the card at 6:03 p.m. ET.

2019 Zia Park Derby

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