Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunland Derby Racing Roundup

Undefeated Conveyance puts his record on the line today for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert when he goes to the starting gate as the 9-5 morning line favorite of the $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3) at Sunland Park.

Conveyance has been brilliant in all four of his previous races, winning most of them by going gate-to-wire and he already has enough graded earnings to run in the Kentucky Derby. But the farthest Conveyance has run is 8-furlongs and with his front-running style, the question remains as to whether he can get the 10-furlong distance of the Kentucky Derby.

In the San Rafael Stakes (G3), Conveyance won by open lengths but in the Southwest Stakes (G3), Conveyance held on to win by only three-quarters of a length. With Indian Charlie as his sire and Holy Bull as the damsire, the 9-furlongs of the Sunland Derby should not be a problem.

But you never know how well a horse that likes the lead will perform when they stretch out farther and I’ve been waiting to see Conveyance run at 9-furlongs. If he runs well, I believe Conveyance could be a good under-the-radar horse to hit the board or finish in the money in the Kentucky Derby. Only time will tell.

At 10-1 morning line odds, I like Endorsement as my long shot pick. Endorsement makes a big class jump today coming into the race off of a maiden win February 20. His Brisnet Speed Figures have improved with every race and I like the way he has moved forward. Endorsement picks up jockey Robby Albarado for the mount and a bullet work out March 22 suggests that he may be ready to run another good race.

Trainer Steve Klelsaris ships Tempted To Tapit (3-1) in for the Derby and he should like the stretch out to 9-furlongs. Tempted To Tapit was a fast closing second to Discreetly Mine in the 8 ½ -furlong Risen Star (G2), narrowly beating Northern Giant who finished second in yesterday’s Lane’s End Stakes (G2). Tempted To Tapit has been working out good and I look for him to be competitive in today’s race.

Nacho Friend (9-2) comes into the Derby with a third-place finish in the Gotham Stakes (G3) and trainer Kelly Breen is hoping he’ll stamp his ticket to the Kentucky Derby. The Gotham was Nacho Friend’s first start for the year and he’s eligible to improve in his second start off of the layoff.


  1. On twitter, Justin and Andy were trading tweets about Nacho Friend. They both agree that Nacho may hand Conveyance his first defeat. I strongly disagree.

    I look for Conveyance to rate the first two furlongs, and pace home from there. Baffert is using this race as an experiment as to whether the colt can run the 9 furlongs as you have commented.


  2. Barry,

    I'd like to see Conveyance win. I don't know how Conveyance will run in the Sunland Derby but here's what Turf Writer Jennie Rees wrote in The Courier-Journal:

    "He's a better horse [Conveyance] on dirt," Baffert said, "but he's a really good horse. He's fast, a high cruiser. He's basically one-dimensional, but I'm not going to change his style."

  3. Sunland course is difficult to go wire to wire and thus, I got to believe Baffert does not intend to pace the colt fast early. If the colt cruises to the lead in 24 and then 48 that would be great.

    The jockey has a tight hold on him. Winner Easily

    Endorsement put just enough pressure to not let Conveyance relax on the lead. Win Star will be represented BY three horses.

    Rule, Endorsement and Super Savor if runs well in the Wood.

    Things are starting to shape up with 1 month away.

  5. Thanks Barry,

    I did pretty good in the Sunland Derby and the Lane's End this weekend. It it helped to make up for some of the sting of not having Ice Box in the Florida Derby.

  6. Hopefully your handicapping skills continue forward. Have not forgotten about Summer Bird you handicap for all of us last year. GREAT WORK

  7. Thanks Barry for the compliment.

    Endorsement is an interesting horse and could, perhaps, be a factor in the Kentucky Derby. His time of 1:48.46 was a track record for 9-furlongs for the Sunland Derby and it also was faster than Eskendereya's Fountain of Youth Time of 1:48.87.

  8. Hi Calvin, it will be interesting to see what beyers will be assigned. I'm figuring 98, with Conveyance receiving 95.

  9. Hi Calvin, the colt receive 101 beyers for the win. That makes him a huge factor in May. Any improvement and with no distance limitation, I would have to say the colt ranks in the top 5 position the way he rated and engaged for the lead.

    I have to keep an eye on his training, because it was clearly indicated from the morning workout the colt was sitting on a significant win.

    Conveyance ran his race, just ran into a possible monster. I could help to notice Endorsement had blinkers, were they late addition or did the colt always run with them ?