How to bet the 2019 Sunland Derby

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March 22nd, 2019

The $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3) will be run as Race 11 on Sunday at Sunland Park going 1 1/8 miles on the dirt. There is a good mix of local horses against shippers, and on paper at least, it looks like the pace could be pretty hot. MUCHO GUSTO (#1) (8-5) began his career with two sprint wins when he showed high speed away from the gate. When stretched out to two turns in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1), his speed worked against him as he did not relax and weakened late. Since that race, trainer Bob Baffert worked him slower than usual and his lessons were evident in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) when he sat third and then pounced on the field. ANOTHERTWISTAFATE (#2) (3-1) did nothing in his career debut on the dirt at Santa Anita Park so he returned home to Golden Gate Fields and broke his maiden by four lengths going two turns. He came back and easily beat allowance foes there then came back to win the El Camino Real Derby by seven lengths when he went to the front but still finished strong. He switches back to dirt and his recent efforts on the Tapeta should have him fit as could be. HUSTLE UP (#3) (5-1) is a New Mexico-bred who won his first five starts against suspect company going short. After finishing out of the money in two straight starts, he stretched out to two turns and won by three lengths. He showed that was no fluke when he came here and won by 5 1/2 lengths then made his open-company debut last out in the prep for this and won going gate-to-wire in the Mine That Bird Derby. WICKED INDEED (#4) (6-1) broke his maiden first time out going six furlongs at Fair Grounds then ran third there in an allowance event going two turns. The son of Tapit stalked the pace from post 1 in an even effort in the Lecomte Stakes (G3) then came back with a very good second in the Mine That Bird Derby here as the odds-on favorite. CUTTING HUMOR (#5) (8-1) couldn’t get it together in his first two career starts but when Todd Pletcher added blinkers, he broke his maiden going two turns. He came back with a good second in a first-level allowance race at Gulfstream Park then made a strong middle move before weakening to finish seventh in the Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park. John Velazquez is in for the ride – 40 percent with Pletcher the last two months. WALKER STALKER (#6) (15-1) is a local horse who broke his maiden in his two-turn debut here second time out then was an even third in the Mine That Bird Derby at long odds. He looks in over his head in here. PASAMONTE MAN (#7) (20-1) is still a maiden but just missed two starts back with a strong rally then was an even fourth in the Mine That Bird Derby when blinkers were added for the first time. COLLUSIONIST (#8) (25-1) won his first two career starts against fellow Colorado-breds then was second in a six-furlong stakes race. He began this year in Arizona with a poor effort but shipped here for his two-turn debut and improved some when sixth in the Mine That Bird Derby. However, his 25-1 morning-line odds are way too generous. DIAMOND BLITZ (#9) (15-1) took a while to get it together but he broke his maiden fourth time out going two turns on the turf at Santa Anita against maiden claimers. He showed good speed in a downhill turf sprint there next time out then tired badly in his two-turn debut there. Keith Desormeaux runners usually relax early but this one shows speed away from the gate. Brother Kent Desormeaux is in to ride. EYE CLOUD (#10) (30-1) had been racing in Louisiana before shipping out here for two starts. Both were against stakes foes and he finished out of the money in both starts. ANALYSIS The Baffert trainee Mucho Gusto should take a lot of money and will have plenty of company on the lead leaving Anothertwistafate in the perfect spot to sit behind a hot pace. These two look to lay over the rest of the field. WAGERS Win #2 Exacta Box #1, #2 Trifecta #1 with #2 with all PHOTO: Hustle Up wins the Mind That Bird Derby at Sunland Park on February 24, 2019 (c) Coady Photography/Sunland Park