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.