Sunland Park Live Racing Season Begins Friday, December 16

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December 15th, 2016

The New Mexico circuit shifts to Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino this week.  The 2016-2017 live racing season gets underway Friday, December 16 and will offer another outstanding mixed meet of Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred action through April 18.

Quarter Horse stakes action begins Saturday with the $85,000 Jess Burner Memorial Handicap. The 350-yard sprint drew a competitive field of New Mexico-breds led by defending champion Osbaldo, Seeyalateralligator and Klassic Strawfly, who is still going strong at the age of 10. Alejandro Medellin will ride the son of Genuine Strawfly, who has won his last five races.

Hopefully Mother Nature will cooperate this year for the running of the $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park on December 31.  A winter storm last year forced the Grade 1 stakes to be moved to the following week and the major racing event was run on January 3.  Zoomin Effortlessly was the winner and will likely defend his title in the 400-yard stakes, and the victor should earn major consideration the year-end honors of the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). Sunland Park’s Quarter Horse schedule will be worth approximately $2.1 million and includes the $200,000 Sunland Park Juvenile Championship on December 31; the $300,000 New Mexican Spring Futurity (RG2) on April 8 and the $200,000 West Texas Futurity (G2) on April 15.

Zoomin Effortlessly won last year's Championship at Sunland Park

Jockeys Adrian Ramos and Salvador Martinez tied for leading rider honors in the 2015-2016 Quarter Horse meet at Sunland, with Jose Ortiz and Esgar Ramirez also having strong meets.  Juan M. Gonzalez was the top trainer last year, followed in the standings by Jason Giles, Ramon Rivera and Miguel Castillo.

Live racing at Sunland Park will be conducted on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday basis for most of the season. There will be no racing on Christmas eve, December or Christmas Day, Sunday, December 25.

The 72-day live racing season at Sunland Park continues through April 18, 2017. For more information on post times and special events, visit www.sunland-park.com.