Daddy does the business in Sunland Derby
Report: USA, Sunday
Sunland Park: Sunland Derby (Grade 3) 1m1f, dirt, 3yo
DADDY NOSE BEST (Steve Asmussen/Julien Leparoux) earned himself a guaranteed spot in the Kentucky Derby when he grabbed local New Mexico hope Isn't He Clever to land the Sunland Derby.
With an $800,000 purse, the Grade 3 event is imbued with significance beyond its prestige as places at Churchill Downs in the 20-runner maximum field are determined by graded-stakes earnings. Mine That Bird was fourth here before winning the Derby in 2009.
Running on dirt for the first time since last summer, Daddy Nose Best earned $400,000 as he scored by three-quarters of a length in a time of 1m48.59s after a race in which Coolmore's Castaway faded to seventh after trying to make all for Bob Baffert.
On his previous outing, 37-10 chance Daddy Nose Best had won the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields.
On Sunday he raced in mid-division behind Castaway and Ender Knieval who cut each other's throats up front before Isn't He Clever gathered the lead in the stretch.
Daddy Nose Best, a son of Scat Daddy, wore that one down to claim the race, the pair well clear of the third.
"We came here trying to earn our way into the Kentucky Derby," said Asmussen, speaking to the Daily Racing Form.
Also on Sunday
Santa Anita: San Luis Rey Stakes (Grade 2) 1m4f, turf, 4yo+
Santa Anita turf specialistBourbon Bay (Neil Drysdale/Joel Rosario) denied ex-British-trained Slim Shadey back-to-back Grade 2 wins when he got up in the final stride after a last-to-first rally.
The winner, sent off 6-5 favourite, has now won six out of eight on the track, with one of those defeats coming on his previous outing after a layoff in the San Marcos Stakes - won by Slim Shadey.
Santa Anita: Santa Ana Stakes (Grade 2) 1m1f, turf, 4yo+ f/m
Trainer Neil Drysdale completed a Grade 2 double on the grass as late-running Vamo A Galupiar (Mike Smith), a Grade 1 winner in Chile, won a race contested on a soft track in driving rain.
Strawberrydaiquiri, formerly with Sir Michael Stoute, made the running before finishing seventh on her second US start for Ben Cecil.