Sunland Derby: Stronghold Locked in as Favorite; Odds, Picks

Thank you, Mine That Bird.

On March 28, 2009, Mine That Bird ran a ho-hum fourth in the Sunland Derby; five weeks later he electrified the racing world with a remarkable victory in the Kentucky Derby (G1) at 50-1 odds ($103.20 on a $2 win bet).

A Sprint to the Finish: The Sunland Derby’s Exciting Chase

The next year, the Sunland Derby was granted graded stakes status and continues to be a Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifying points race.

Phil D’Amato trains Sunland Derby favorite Stronghold.

On Sunday, the $400,000 Sunland Derby (G3) features some already known Derby contenders in Stronghold, the slight 5-2 favorite, and 3-1 second choice Informed Patriot.

A field of eight is entered for the 1 1/16-mile race at the New Mexico track, with Derby qualifying points of 20-10-6-4-2 to the first five finishers. The race is being run about five weeks earlier than usual and at a shorter distance than the 1 1/8 miles.

Rising Stars: Stronghold and Informed Patriot Gear Up for New Challenges

Stronghold, trained by Phil D’Amato, was set to make his 3-year-old debut in the Robert B. Lewis, but plans changed last week. The son of Ghostzapper ran second in both the Bob Hope (G3) and the Los Alamitos Futurity (G3) in his two-turn debut in December.

Stronghold worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.60 at Santa Anita on Feb. 12.

Informed Patriot, trained by Steve Asmussen, ran third in the Smarty Jones on Jan. 1 at Oaklawn Park.

Post time for the Sunland Derby is 6:17 p.m. ET.

The picks: 1 Informed Patriot 2 Stronghold 3 Curlin’s Kaos

The field for the $400,000 Sunland Derby, from the rail out, with jockey, trainer 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, William Morey), 4-1

5 Stronghold (Antonio Fresu, Phil 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 (Joel Rosario, Steve Asmussen), 3-1

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