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Sunland Derby 2024 | Sunland Park Picks [Kentucky Derby]
Stronghold (Richard Steele/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM)

Sunland Derby 2024 | Sunland Park Picks [Kentucky Derby]

Aaron previews the 2024 Sunland Derby (G3) from Sunland Park, then gives his top picks from this Kentucky Derby (G1) prep race.

After finishing 2nd in 2 straight graded stakes, can Stronghold finally break through with a win? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!

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The press release:

Eric and Sharon Waller’s Los Alamitos Futurity (Grade 2) runner-up Stronghold was tabbed as the 5-2 morning line favorite in the field of eight 3-year-olds set to contest Sunday’s 19th running of the $400,000 Sunland Derby (G3) in New Mexico.

Run at 1 1/16 miles, the Sunland Derby will go as Race 9 with a post time of 6:17 p.m. ET. The top five finishers will receive points on a 20-10-6-4-2 scale towards a spot in the starting gate for the $5 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (G1).

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Trained by Phil D’Amato, Stronghold jumped on the Road to the Kentucky Derby when he finished a close second behind Wynstock in the Los Alamitos Futurity. The son of Ghostzapper began his career based at Churchill Downs but shipped to D’Amato’s Santa Anita Park string in October. The Sunland Derby will be Stronghold’s first start of his 3-year-old campaign, and he will once again unite with jockey Antonio Fresu from post No. 5.

Another top prospect entered in the Sunland Derby is Kirk and Judy Robison’s Smarty Jones Stakes third-place finisher Informed Patriot. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Informed Patriot finished 2 ¾ lengths back of Catching Freedom in the Smarty Jones Stakes on New Year’s Day at Oaklawn. The son of Hard Spun will have the riding services of Joel Rosario and break from the far outside post 8.

Here is the Sunland Derby field from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): 

  1. No Trouble (Ken Tohill, Joel Marr, 10-1)
  2. Surroundedbyangels (Alejandro Medellin, Bart Hone, 12-1)
  3. Curlin’s Kaos (Diego Herrera, Antonio Garcia, 5-1)
  4. Lucky Jeremy (Christian Ramos, Bill Morey, 4-1)
  5. Stronghold (Fresu, D’Amato, 5-2)
  6. Alotaluck (Oscar Ceballos, Ty Garrett, 6-1)
  7. Da Ringo (Alfredo Juarez Jr., Jose Gonzalez Jr., 20-1)
  8. Informed Patriot (Rosario, Asmussen, 3-1)

No Trouble, Surroundedbyangels and Da Ringo are not currently nominated to the Triple Crown but can become eligible with a $6,000 late payment due April 1.

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