Thoroughbred Stakes Races Highlight Sunday Card at SunRay Park

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

June 14th, 2018

Although it could get overlooked on this busy weekend of racing, SunRay Park in New Mexico is set to host a solid Sunday card that includes two stakes races for Thoroughbreds.

The $75,000 San Juan County Commissioners Handicap is the richest race of the day and has drawn a quality field to match. The morning line odds suggest that the nine-furlong race will be a parade of sorts for Oh So Regal, who is priced at a very short 4-5 thanks to his decisive four-length romp in the Sunland Park Handicap over this distance in April. His distant sixth-place finish last time might cause some to question his odds, but take note, that effort came in the Steve Sexton Mile (gr. III) against much tougher company at Lone Star Park—the winner, Bee Jersey, came right back to win the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I).

Still, Oh So Regal might not be a shoo-in to reach the winner’s circle on Sunday. Pain and Misery has placed in multiple graded stakes races, including a runner-up effort in the 2015 Pat Day Mile Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs, and he was clearly best in the Bosselman Pump and Pantry/Gus Fonner Stakes at Fonner Park last time out, rolling from off the pace to win by 3 ¼ lengths with a 102 BRIS speed figure. The stakes-placed Deputy’s Echo and the five-time winner Blue Azul are the other main contenders.

Earlier on the card, six fillies and mares will face off in the $45,000 Dr. O. G. Fischer Memorial Handicap, a seven-furlong sprint. My Sweet Stella hasn’t won in nearly a year and hasn’t raced since November, but she’s also been competing against much tougher company at Saratoga, Churchill Downs, and Keeneland and has been installed as the 4-5 favorite on the morning line. The four-year-old daughter of Eskendereya will be making her first start for trainer Henry Dominguez after previously being conditioned by D. Wayne Lukas.

Merlin’s Jewel, a stakes winner at Albuquerque, is the 2-1 second choice even though she’s riding a four-race losing streak dating back to last July. In that regard, Tricky City—who won four straight races at Turf Paradise earlier this year before finishing third in her most recent start—could be an appealing play simply because she has been in great form and knows how to win.

Post time for the first race of the card, which includes several races for Quarter Horses, is 3:15 p.m. Eastern.