Sunland Derby Analysis by Jeff O’Reilly

Selections: 3-8-11-5


This is always one of the trickier races to handicap. It is always a collection of top trainers “B” and “C” horses who are trying to find an easy way to get into the gate on the first Saturday in May. This year is more of the same with many horses in with a chance to win. There is a good mix of interesting horses and a case can be made for nearly every horse in this field.


(3) New York Central will be my top pick in here. He has excellent tactical speed and should get a perfect stalking trip Sunday. Two races back he got a bit of a curious ride and made a big middle move and flattened out a bit. Last out, he was ridden in the clear and finished off well. He should only get better with added distance from a pedigree standpoint. There isn’t a ton of blazing speed in here so I hope he sits just off and can get first run on the closers. Typically racing wide and closing is a winning move at Sunland.

(8) Seven Trumpets was well regarded coming into the Southwest last out. I am will to give him a pass for that effort. There was a significant rail bias that day and he was 3-4 wide throughout. The track was also muddy giving me more reason to simply toss that race and look at his efforts prior. He has shown the ability to front run as well as sit off and rate. Horses with good tactical speed always have an inherent advantage in my opinion. He also figures to get a good stalking trip alongside New York Central. This is his third start off a layoff and one where Dale Romans horses are typically ready to fire their best race.

(11) Runaway Ghost ran into a really good horse in Reride last out. He dueled all the way around the track and held on gamely to finish second in the local prep. He should be on the outright lead and if he can get a breather somewhere he will be tough to run down. With the outside post, Tracy Herbert doesn’t have to many options other than to send out of the gate. If he doesn’t break well the race might be over as he will be strung out wide throughout both turns.

(5) Peace is listed at 12-1 on the morning line but I would be shocked is he isn’t half that come post time. He ran into Mckinzie and Bolt D’Oro last out. They are arguably the two favorites for the Kentucky Derby now. Peace wasn’t exactly embarrassed being beaten by 7 lengths. If he can run back to that effort, or even improve, that will make him very tough in here. I am afraid he will be over bet so I will look elsewhere on top but he is a must use underneath.

(1) All Out Blitz is a complete toss for me. His last effort in the San Vicente was plain awful and there isn’t much of an excuse. He had a dream trip off the blazing fast pace and didn’t fire at all when the real running started. I can’t take a horse off such a dull effort with no real excuse who expects to vie for favoritism. If he runs well I will lose. He is a horse I will gladly take a stand against in here.

(7) Prince Lucky is another horse who I am playing against in here. He switches to Pletcher and Johnny V and figures to take money based on the connections alone. He was beating up on weak fields before stepping up in the Lecomte. He didn’t do any running that day and the only real excuse was he a bit wide on both turns. When he finally stepped against real horses, he folded. I  expect him to do more of the same in here again. He would also need to improve from a speed figure standpoint to even be competitive.


Good Luck to everyone playing Sunland on Sunday.

Follow Jeff O’Reilly on Twitter at: @Jeff_Boyardee

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