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Mar 23, 2012

Castaway headlines Sunland Derby


Sunland Park, NM (Sports Network) - Castaway, winner of a division in the Southwest Stakes, tops a field of eight three-year-olds for Sunday's $800,000 Sunland Derby at Sunland Park. This is the 10th running of the 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Derby prep.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Castaway will again be ridden by Rafael Bejarano. The pair will break from the inside post. The Hall of Fame trainer won the race in 2006 with Wanna Runner.

The colt won for just the second time in taking the first division of the split Southwest at Oaklawn Park. Baffert also won the second division with Secret Circle who just won the Rebel Stakes at the Arkansas track.

Castaway, owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, has banked $209,930 with two wins in seven career starts. The colt is a son of 2007 Kentucky Derby champ Street Sense.

Local runner Isn't He Clever has drawn post four with Luis Contreras getting the ride.

Isn't He Clever, trained by Henry Dominguez, won the Borderland Derby at Sunland last month after beginning 2012 with a fifth behind I'll Have Another at Santa Anita in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes. The gelding closed 2011 with an 11-length win in Sunland's Riley Allison Futurity.

Owned by Kirk and Judy Robison, Isn't He Clever has four wins in six lifetime starts for $215,960.

"We tested the waters in California and found the water a little deep," Kirk Robison said.

Eclipse Award winning trainer Steve Asmussen brings in Daddy Nose Best off last month's win in the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields. The colt will have Julien Leparoux riding from post six.

Owned by Mary and Bob Zollars, Daddy Nose Best is a veteran of nine career starts with three wins and $233,623. Sunday's race will the colt's first on dirt since his initial two starts at Churchill Downs last July.

He finished sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf to Wrote and fifth on grass in the Eddie Logan at Santa Anita in December. The El Camino Real win was on synthetic and his first two wins were both on turf.

Here is the full field for the Sunland Derby in post position order: Castaway, Rafael Bejarano; Ender Knievel, John Velazquez; Stirred Up, Martin Garcia; Isn't He Clever, Luis Contreras; No Spin, Channing Hill; Daddy Nose Best, Julien Leparoux; Tequila Factor, Miguel Hernandez and Justanoldsong, Ry Eikleberry.

All starters carry 122 pounds.

Post-time on Sunday is slated for 7:45 p.m. (ET).

The most famous Sunland Derby horse is 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird who was fourth to Kelly Leak.

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