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Mar 20, 2015

Firing Line gets nod as Sunland Derby favorite


Sunland Park, NM ( - Firing Line, second in his last two starts, is the 8-5 morning line favorite for Sunday's $800,000 Sunland Derby at Sunland Park.

The 1 1/8-mile stakes offers 50 points to the winning 3-year-old toward a spot in the 20-horse starting field for this year's Kentucky Derby on May 2.

Firing Line will start from the inside post in the eight-horse field with Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens again riding. Trained by Simon Callaghan, the colt is owned by Arnold Zetcher.

Firing Line will be making just his second start of the season as he tries to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. He was second in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita last month, beaten a head by Dortmund. It was the same outcome as last December's Los Alamitos Futurity. Firing Line has earned $174,800 from four starts with one win and three seconds.

Starting next to Firing Line will be 3-1 second choice Lord Nelson. The chestnut colt, owned by Peachtree Stable, will have the riding services of Martin Garcia.

Lord Nelson is coming off a fourth-place finish in the San Felipe Stakes two weeks ago. Trained by Bob Baffert, the colt began the year by winning Santa Anita's San Vicente Stakes on Feb. 1 and has won half of his six career starts for $273,571. Baffert is a three-time Sunland Derby winner, including last year with Chitu.

The 5-1 third program pick is trainer Steve Asmussen's Tiznow R J. Owned by Mike McCarty, Tiznow R J will break from post 6 with Robby Albarado again in the saddle.

After a pair of third-place results to begin his career, Tiznow R J won last December at Fair Grounds with Albarado riding the first time. As a 3-year-old, Tiznow R J was third in the Lecomte Stakes and seventh in the Risen Star, both at Fair Grounds. The colt has banked $54,180.

Here is the field for the Sunland Derby from the rail out: Firing Line, Gary Stevens, 8-5; Lord Nelson, Martin Garcia, 3-1; Where's the Moon, Luis Contreras, 6-1; Why Two, Victor Espinoza, 8-1; Malibu Mogul, Enrique Gomez, 15-1; Tiznow R J, Robby Albarado, 5-1; Pain and Misery, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 6-1 and Dirt Monster, Ry Eikleberry, 12-1.

Post time for the Sunland Derby will be approximately 7:40 p.m. ET.

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