Horse Racing

2024 Sunland Park Derby Betting Odds and Contenders Preview

numberFire Racing
numberFire Racing
2024 Sunland Park Derby Betting Odds and Contenders Preview

The Kentucky Derby trail makes its yearly sojourn to New Mexico on Sunday, February 18, for the Sunland Park Derby (G3). This race offers a $400,000 purse and covers 1 1/16 miles on the dirt. The distance is half a furlong shorter than it previously was, which makes sense since, until last year, the race was run in late March and not mid-February. The race offers its top five finishers 20-10-6-4-2 Road to the Kentucky Derby points: not enough to guarantee the winner a bid, but enough to get them on the right track for later preps.

The race drew a field of eight sophomores led by Stronghold and Informed Patriot, both of whom have shown themselves competitive in Kentucky Derby points races. Unlike many West Coast prep races, including recent editions of the Sunland Derby, none of the runners are trained by Bob Baffert, meaning that no matter who the top five finishers are, they will be eligible for Kentucky Derby points.

Although no Sunland Derby winner has gone on to win the roses, Mine That Bird parlayed a fourth-place finish in New Mexico’s signature race into a victory on the first Saturday in May. 2015 Sunland Derby winner Firing Line also shined at Churchill Downs, pushing eventual Triple Crown winner American Pharoah to the limit and finishing second in the Kentucky Derby.

Sunland Park Derby 2024 Information

  • Race Date: Sunday, February 18, 2024
  • Track: Sunland Park Racetrack in Sunland Park, New Mexico
  • Post Time: 4:17 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time
  • Distance: 1 1/16 miles
  • Age/Sex: three-year-olds
  • Where to Watch: FanDuel TV
  • Where to Bet: and FanDuel Racing

Sunland Park Derby Odds

This is the official field for the 2024 Sunland Derby, including post positions, trainers, jockeys, and morning-line odds for each runner.

ML Odds
1No TroubleJoel MarrKen Tohill10-1
2SurroundedbyangelsBart HoneAlejandro Medellin12-1
3Curlin’s KaosAntonio GarciaDiego Herrera5-1
4Lucky JeremyWilliam MoreyChristian Ramos4-1
5StrongholdEsteban MartinezHarry Hernandez5-2
6AlotaluckTy GarrettOscar Ceballos6-1
7Da RingoJose Gonzalez, Jr.Alfredo Juarez, Jr.20-1
View Full Table

Sunland Park Derby Prep Results

Half of the eight-horse field comes out of the local prep, the Riley Allison Derby at Sunland Park on January 19. Kentucky shipper Lucky Jeremy won the race in stalk-and-pounce fashion, defeating New Mexico-based Alotaluck by two lengths. Surroundedbyangels and Da Ringo were a well-beaten third and fourth in the race.

Two others come out of Road to the Kentucky Derby points races. Stronghold was beaten only half a length by Wynstock in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) on December 16; Wynstock returned on February 3 to run a disappointing eleventh in the Southwest (G3). Informed Patriot finished third in the Smarty Jones, 3 ½ lengths behind Catching Freedom, one of the leading contenders in Saturday’s Risen Star at Fair Grounds.

The other two entrants come out of maiden special weight races. No Trouble won a 6 ½-furlong open maiden special weight on the Sunland Park dirt on January 18, while Curlin’s Kaos beat California-breds in a turf mile on January 27 at Santa Anita.

Sunland Derby 2024 Contenders

These are the contenders in the 2024 Sunland Park Derby, organized by post position:

No Trouble: Trained by Joel Marr, who conditioned upset winner Wild On Ice last year, No Trouble graduated second-out in an elongated sprint. It shows he can handle the Sunland surface. However, he has yet to try a route, a hit-or-miss proposition with his pedigree, and he has drawn inside of a lot of other early speed.

Surroundedbyangels: He battled on the pace early before weakening over the one-mile distance in the Riley Allison, the local prep for the Sunland Derby. He has to face the two horses who beat him convincingly that day, and he will have to battle with even more speed, and even classier speed, than he did in that prep race.

Curlin’s Kaos: He faces winners for the first time in the Sunland Derby, and faces horses bred outside California for the first time. He is an interesting prospect for exotics: he broke his maiden at two turns on turf, but has some decent form on dirt as well, and has also shown that he can run a good race from either near the pace or well behind it.

Lucky Jeremy: He broke his maiden gate to wire in the slop at Churchill going one turn, went for a winter break, and then came back to win the Riley Allison Derby at two turns in stalk-and-pounce fashion. This makes him a serious Sunland Derby contender: he deals with a deeper field here, but his versatility, local form, and ability to move forward second off the layoff all weigh in his favor.

Stronghold: The morning-line favorite only has a win against maidens, but finished second to Bob Baffert horses twice in Kentucky Derby points races in Southern California. His tactical speed gives him an advantage, and the fact that his two best races have come at a mile or more (including a two-turn effort at Los Alamitos) looks good.

Alotaluck: With two starts, he cedes experience to the rest of the Sunland Derby field. Both of those starts have been decent: he pressed the pace and took over in a maiden sprint at Zia, then disputed matters before proving second-best behind Lucky Jeremy in the Riley Allison. He has further room to improve but will also have to deal with more and classier competition up front.

Da Ringo: With seven starts, he leads the field in experience, and his breeding could not be better on paper for this step up in trip. However, his actual race form is slow compared to the rest of the field, and he needed a drop to a $7,500 maiden claimer at Sunland to break his maiden. Maybe he improves second off the claim, but this closer mustered no rally in the Riley Allison, and his late-pace figures suggest that even if there is a pace battle, he will be left wanting at this level.

Informed Patriot: His only win so far came in a maiden special weight going seven furlongs at Churchill Downs, but he has finished third three times since against quality company, including a pair of Kentucky Derby points races. His ability to track the pace and keep going is a positive, and his outside draw could afford him a clean stalking trip.

Sunland Park Derby Past Winners Past Performances

The Sunland Derby has been run eight times since the beginning of the Road to the Kentucky Derby points system. In that time, seven of the eight winners have come from stakes company, with the only exception being Govenor Charlie (2013), who had most recently won a maiden special weight at Santa Anita.

No last-out stakes winner has won the Sunland Park Derby since the advent of the points system, but every winner except for Govenor Charlie (who had no stakes experience, but came from a major circuit) and Wild On Ice (2023) had some points-race experience before. Both Chitu (2014) and Firing Line (2015) came out of second-place finishes in the Robert B. Lewis. Hence (2017) and Cutting Humor (2019) both came out of seventh-place finishes in the Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn, while Slow Down Andy (2022) was most recently sixth in the Risen Star. Even Runaway Ghost, who won the Sunland Derby off of a second-place outing in the local Mine That Bird Derby, had previously run fifth in the CashCall Futurity (G1) at Los Alamitos. Wild On Ice, who lacked Kentucky Derby points-race experience, came out of a third-place run in the Mine that Bird Derby.

Sunland Park Derby Undercard

The Sunland Derby is the ninth of ten races on the Sunday card at Sunland Park, scheduled for post time at 4:17 p.m. Mountain Standard Time. There are five other stakes races on the card including the $250,000 Sunland Park Oaks, a 20-10-6-4-2 point race for sophomore fillies looking toward the Kentucky Oaks. The most eagerly-awaited card of the Sunland Park meet, you can watch and wager all day through FanDuel TV, FanDuel, and TVG!

Sunland Park History

Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino is located in Sunland Park, New Mexico, just eight miles from the center of El Paso, Texas. It opened in 1959 as a racetrack, conducting Thoroughbred and quarter horse races. The track operated solely as a racetrack until 1999, when New Mexico lawmakers passed a bill allowing slot machines at racetrack. Since then, it has been a combination racetrack and casino, and gaming has revitalized the purses at Sunland Park.

The highlight of the season is the Sunland Park Derby, a Grade 3 race that virtually guarantees its winner a spot in the Kentucky Derby. The Sunland Park Oaks, a 50-point qualifier for the Kentucky Oaks, is contested on the same day. On the quarter horse side, its leading race is the Championship at Sunland Park, a Grade 1 race at 440 yards.

Sunland Park Derby FAQ

Q: Where and when is the Sunland Park Derby?

A: The 2024 Sunland Park Derby happens Sunday, February 18, at Sunland Park Racetrack in … appropriately enough, Sunland Park, New Mexico. The ninth of ten races on the Sunday card, post time is scheduled for 4:17 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.

Q: Which trainer has the most wins in the Sunland Park Derby?

A: Bob Baffert and Doug O’Neill have each won the Sunland Park Derby three times, though neither trainer brings a horse to the 2024 edition. Steve Asmussen, who has won this Kentucky Derby prep twice, can tie that record if Informed Patriot takes the prize this year.

Q: Who is the favorite for the 2024 Sunland Park Derby?

A: Off a second-place finish in the Los Alamitos Futurity, Stronghold is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. However, watch the board: it would be no surprise to see either him or Smarty Jones winner Informed Patriot hold favoritism come post time, as both show strong form in Kentucky Derby prep races.

Q: Who is the best Sunland Park Derby jockey?

A: Victor Espinoza and Martin Garcia have won the Sunland Derby twice each, though neither takes a call this year. Two riders in the race have won it once before: Ken Tohill (No Trouble) won with Wild On Ice in 2023, and Alfredo Juarez, Jr. (Da Ringo) won with Hence in 2017.

Q: Who won the 2023 Sunland Park Derby?

A: Wild On Ice won the 2023 Sunland Derby for trainer Joel Marr and rider Ken Tohill. They reunite this year to send out No Trouble.

Looking for more horse racing betting opportunities? Head over to FanDuel Racing to see all of today’s horse racing odds.

Sign up for FanDuel Sportsbook and FanDuel Daily Fantasy today!

Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. Hope is here. or call (800)-327-5050 for 24/7 support (MA). Call 1-877-8HOPE-NY or Text HOPENY (467369) (NY). 21+ and reside in CO, IL, IN, KY, LA (permitted parishes only), MD, MA, MI, NY, OH, PA, VA, VT, WV, WY. Offer valid on first win wager. Verified FD Racing account required. Refund issued in non-withdrawable Racing site credit that expires 7 days after receipt. See terms at Offer not available in AZ, CT, IA, KS, NJ, or TN. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER or visit (CO, KY, MI, OH, PA, IL, VA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-877-770-STOP (LA), visit, 1-800-522-4700 (WY), or visit (WV).