Sunland Derby and Wild On Ice 2023 Prep Race Recap

Kentucky Derby prep race recap of the 2023 Sunland Derby and winner Wild On Ice.
Kentucky Derby prep race recap of the 2023 Sunland Derby and winner Wild On Ice. / Associated Press

The Championship Series races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby featured 15 prep races that awarded 50 to 100 points for the winner and a spot in the starting gate for the May 6 Kentucky Derby.

The Sunland Derby on March 26 was won by Wild On Ice, who was the biggest longshot in the race with parimutuel odds of 35/1. Wild On Ice was a good story as a major longshot to win the Kentucky Derby. But an unfortunate fatal training accident at Churchill Downs on April 27 ended his life.

Wild On Ice suffered a left hind leg injury, and the colt was euthanized after further evaluation at a equine surgical facility in Lexington.

The Sunland Derby has been run all but three years since its inception in 2003. No horse has won both the the Sunland Derby and the Kentucky Derby in the same year, but Mine That Bird did finish fourth in the Sunland Derby and went on to pull the shocking win in the 2009 Kentucky Derby.

Since the Kentucky Derby went to a qualifying points system in 2013, the horse to come the closest to wearing the roses was 2015 Sunland Derby 14-length winner Firing Line. He went on to finish a close second in the Kentucky Derby behind 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

Wild On Ice's defection will allow Santa Anita Derby (G1) third-place finisher Skinner into the Kentucky Derby field.

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