It may have been a pleasant Spring Sunday day, but the racing was red-hot at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino, as Cutting Humor held off Anothertwistafate to win Sunday’s 16th annual Sunland Derby.
Cutting Humor and jockey John Velazquez went neck-and-neck down the front stretch against Anothertwistafate en route to a track record of 1:46.94.
The race not only paid out $800,000, but the top four horses earned points to May’s Kentucky Derby.
Our very own Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta was there and we bring you his view of the action in this gallery.
With the 16th running of the Sunland Derby set for Sunday, March 24 at the Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino in Sunland Park, New Mexico, the excitement is growing for what many call the ‘Gateway to the Kentucky Derby.’
For Michael Peterson’s talented 3-year-old Mucho Gusto, a spot in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby could be within his grasp if he runs to the billing as the morning line favorite in Sunday’s $800,000 Grade 3 Sunland Derby.
Horses in top finishing positions in the Sunland Derby will earn points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, with the winner earning 50 points, while second place is worth 20, third place receiving ten points, and fourth place finishers earning five.
A winner of the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park last time out, the Kentucky-bred son of Mucho Macho Man, Mucho Gusto appears to be one of several top Kentucky Derby contenders in the barn of Bob Baffert.
Baffert has saddled five winners in the “Run for the Roses,” including the last two Triple Crown winners, American Pharoah in 2015 and last year with Justify.
Mucho Gusto will look to keep his 2019 record intact Sunday when he breaks from the inside post against nine rivals in the 1 1/8 mile test, set to go as the eleventh race of a massive card at the Sunland Park racetrack.
Derby day features seven stakes races worth $1.5 million in purse money, including the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks featuring Bellafina, the leading 3-year-old filly in America.
Mucho Gusto will be piloted by his regular rider Joe Talamo and has been installed as the 8-to-5 morning line favorite.
He won’t have to look hard to find what appears to be his main rival in the Sunland Derby. Anothertwistafate, installed as the 3-to-1 second choice, is drawn right next door in post position 2. The Scat Daddy colt is unbeaten in his last three starts, all on the tapeta synthetic dirt course at Golden Gate Fields in northern California.
Trained by Blaine Wright for Peter Redekop B.C. Ltd and slated to be ridden by Juan Hernandez, Anothertwistafate has only race on traditional dirt, resulting in a ninth-place finish in his career debut last November at Santa Anita. How he will handle the dirt this time will determine how much of a threat he will be in the Sunland Derby, which has a scheduled post time of 5:30 p.m. MTN.
Trainer Steve Asmussen, who has two Sunland Derby winners in his career resume, will saddle Wicked Indeed, who shipped in from New Orleans to finish a fast-closing second in the February 24 Mine That Bird Derby, the main tune-up for the Sunland Derby.
Owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, LLC, Wicked Indeed has quite an impressive pedigree. The Kentucky-bred son of Tapit is a half-brother to Harlan’s Holiday, who won the 2002 Florida Derby and Blue Grass Stakes before finishing seventh as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby.
Though he owns only one win from four lifetime starts, he is the fourth choice in the morning line at odds of 6-to-1 with jockey Luis Contreras back aboard from post 4.
Trainer Todd Fincher, who won this race last year with Runaway Ghost, will look to be only the second trainer to win back-to-back runnings of the Sunland Derby. Fincher will saddle Hustle Up, third choice on the morning line at odds of 5-to-1.
Owned by Dale F. Taylor Racing LLC, Bobby J. McQueen, and Suzanne Kirby, the New Mexico-bred son of Abstraction was voted 2-year-old colt or gelding champion by the New Mexico Horse Breeders’ Association after a campaign which included stakes victories at Sunland, Ruidoso Downs and Zia Park.
A perfect 2-for-2 this year, with back-to-back victories in the Red Hedeman Mile as well as the Mine That Bird Derby, in which he faced open company for the first time in his career, Hustle Up may well be the likely favorite among locals as he boasts an unblemished record from four starts over the course. He will break from post 3 with jockey Shane Laviolette aboard.
Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino will conduct another round of hiring during a second job fair, this time on Tuesday, December 4, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“In preparation for racing season, we are excited to announce a second job fair.” Director of Human Resources, Dora Vasquez
The event will be held in the casino’s Signature Showroom, located at 1200 Futurity Drive in Sunland Park. Interested applicants are encouraged to bring copies of their resumes and dress appropriately as interviews will be held on the spot.
Job seekers will have the opportunity to learn more about these new employment opportunities at the job fair. Drug testing will be done on this day if a job offer is made.
“We’ve had two rounds of hiring in the last 30 days, but unlike the last job fair, the one this coming Tuesday will be much broader, focusing on a wide variety of service industry jobs in many different categories,” said Vasquez.
Vasquez added that “though many of the jobs are seasonal in nature, there is always the opportunity to secure regular full-time employment for those that wish to remain with us longer.”
Among the new jobs available are:
- Mutual Tellers
- Video Operators
- Valet Attendants
- Concession Cooks
- Prep Cooks
- Line Cooks
- Operations Analyst
- Cocktail Servers
- Food Servers
- Food Expeditors
Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino describes their workplace as a “fun atmosphere, with flexible schedules, competitive wages, and great benefits.”
All job seekers in the area should visit the employment section of the Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino website often for information on these jobs and/or other available positions. Employment opportunities are posted online.
Come feel the ‘Jubilation’ as one of the most well known 90s bands bring their New Wave musical stylings to the stage in Franklin’s Lounge, this Saturday at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.
Known for their fusion of electronics and guitars that create synth-driven, melodic dance beats, Anything Box as been delighting audiences the world over for decades.
Having derived their name from a Sci-Fi book about an unhappy girl that has discovered a box in which she can see her heart’s desires,
Anything Box uses their pensive, yet energetic music to touch audiences on a personal level. In this way, they feel their fans can best explore the inner and outer regions of being human. “That’s simply the mystery of all this music, art, and friendship.”
So, rather than ‘Living in Oblivion’, come feel the ‘Kiss of Love’ starting at 8pm.
As always, 21 and over are welcome and admission is free.
Not one, but two popular tribute acts will fill Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino with hits and fans this weekend.
First up on Friday night, El Paso’s own Si Una Vez takes to the stage in Franklin’s Lounge to pay tribute to the one and only Selena.
With three talented singers, Si Una Vez takes fans on a musical journey through the different stages of Selena’s careers, singing all the hits that made her the Queen of Tejano.
On Saturday night Southern California’s #1 Beatles tribute band, Hard Day’s Night, takes over Franklin’s Lounge and transports fans back to the heyday of the Fab Four.
Featuring custom-tailored costumes, using vintage instruments, and speaking (and singing in) Liverpudlian dialect the four permanent members capture the unique personality, physicality and charm of the Beatle they portray, including the Fab Four’s familiar head bobs, toe taps and patter between songs.
As always, admission to either show is free, music starts at 8, bands take to the stage at 10 and everyone 21 and over is invited to attend.
The sweet tones of Mariachis will fill the evening air Saturday, September 22, with Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino’s Mariachi Festival at the Park.
The family-friendly, free festival runs from 5 to 9 p.m., and features four of the region’s top mariachi groups.
Regionally popular and award-winning groups Mariachi Los Toritos, Mariachi Los Pasajeros, Arturo Guerrero Y Su Mariachi Loco and Mariachi Aguilas de Las Cruces will perform all the favorite songs, from “Volver, Volver” to “El Rey.”
Two special guests, the children’s mariachi group Mariachi Los Potrillos and dancers from Ballet Folklorico Flor y Canto will also perform.
While enjoying the music, fans can also enjoy the delicious all-you-can-eat Mexican food buffet from 2 to 9 p.m. at Ventanas Bar & Grill, inside Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino. Food fans can enjoy all the traditional Mexican favorites for $13.99 (adult) and $10.99 (ages 3 to 10). Free for children under 3-years old.
In addition to the great food and music, attendees can also enjoy all the fun and games that Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino has to offer.
Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino continues their season-long streak of bringing the best tribute bands in the the world to the Borderland, as they welcome Los Angeles-based U2 tribute band Hollywood U2 to the Franklin Lounge.
Founded in 2003 in Los Angeles by lead singer Joe Hier – aka aka Hollywood Bono – Hollywood U2 was founded by lead singer Joe Hier, the band has toured the world performing to sold out crowds in the United States, Singapore, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, France, Mexico and Japan.
In addition to the adoring crowds, Hollywood U2 has gotten some top-notch attention themselves, with numerous awards and honors.
According to their website, in 2016 Hollywood U2 received the Hollywood FAME Producers Choice Award for Outstanding U2 Tribute and were nominated as “Best Tribute Band” at the LA Music Awards.
Bono invited the lead singer Joe Hier up on stage to sing “The Sweetest Thing” with him and U2 during their Innocence and Experience Tour and this performance made headlines around the world.
As Lead Singer Joe Hier points out in all of his live shows, “We’re very big U2 fans and the message we’re bringing to you is Love. The word love is in almost every U2 song. That’s really something. That’s the message”.
Hollywood U2’s performance is set for this Saturday, September 8th, from 10pm – 12am at Franklin’s Lounge. No Cover and attendees must be 21+ to attend the event.
The newly expanded “Tequila & Margarita at The Park” event offers El Paso area residents a way to cool off and beat the summer heat next this weekend.
The festival, scheduled for Saturday, August 4 from 5-10 p.m., will take place indoors at Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino and will feature the largest number of tequilas available for sampling anywhere in the region.
“People attending this event will have the chance to taste over 60 different tequilas, including a lot of top-shelf premium brands,” says Ethan Linder, director of marketing for Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino. “For those that have always wanted to sample some of the pricier tequilas out there, this is your chance.”
Tequila & Margarita at The Park has grown so successful over the last few years that organizers have increased the floorspace to accommodate the expanding influx of visitors. Linder says, “The El Paso area has really gotten behind this event that celebrates Mexican culture with the best tequilas and margaritas available anywhere in the world.”
In addition to the enormous selection of tequilas and frozen margaritas, attendees will be able to enjoy live music performed by some of El Paso’s favorite local bands, including:
- Arturo Guerrero y Su Mariachi Loco
- Black Velvet
- Los Chucanos
Unlike other tasting events in the area, admission is free for adults 21 and older. Parking is also free, however, guests are also encouraged to drink responsibly and to use taxi cabs or ride sharing services, or to have a designated driver.
Beverage sampling cost $20 for 10 tickets, which also includes a souvenir shot glass with every 10 tickets purchased. Sample tickets will be sold at the door. For more information, please visit the Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino event page, or the Tequila & Margarita at The Park Facebook event page.
Sunland Park’s Summer Season of Music continues this Saturday as the venue hosts one of the hottest rock tribute bands out of the West Coast – Wanted: The Ultimate Tribute to Bon Jovi.
According to the band’s website, lead vocalist Jerry March says the main goal of the tribute band is to replicate the fun atmosphere of a Bon Jovi concert for all to enjoy.
” We have always felt that the music of Bon Jovi has had a way of affecting people in an amazingly positive fashion, and the way that joy and happiness would virtually explode at a live Bon Jovi show was nothing short of amazing. It is, and always will be, our mission to do everything humanly possible to give that same experience to the concert goer and make them leave the venue that night feeling that they experienced a true “re-creation” of the Bon Jovi concert experience and that they absolutely got their money’s worth…even if the show is FREE!”
The band features the top professional musicians from around the Los Angeles area, each committed to re-creating the sound, the feel and the fun of Bon Jovi for fans around the country and around the world.
As with previous free concerts, it will start at 10 p.m. in Franklin’s Lounge, and attendees must be 21 years of age or older to attend.
For more information, visit the Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino’s website.
Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino continues their Summer of free concerts with a tribute to the neon-lit, high energy of the Big80’s via the Duran Duran tribute band Rio
Rio, the world’s premiere Duran Duran tribute band, is based in Southern California and composed of dynamic live performers who epitomize the look and sound of the quintessential mid-1980’s Duran Duran.
The members of Rio: Gil, Jake, Danny, Curt and Daniel deliver high-energy, note-for-note renditions of Duran Duran songs spanning the band’s catalog, from Planet Earth to (Reach Up For The) Sunrise.
According to their website, Rio has played top venues across North America and is currently the only high-profile, full-time working Duran Duran tribute band in the United States.
Rio joins the already strong line up of top-level tribute bands appearing at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino. Shows from Mana’ and Depeche Mode tribute bands packing the venue with music lovers from each genre.
Rio takes the stage Saturday, July 14 at 10PM in the Franklin’s Lounge. As always, there’s no cover charge to attend, however concert-goers must be 21+ years of age to attend this event.
The Fulton family, owners of Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino, officially announced their intent to submit a bid to the New Mexico Racing Commission seeking the state’s only remaining racing license.
“We look forward to working closely with the New Mexico Racing Commission, New Mexico Horseman’s Association, New Mexico Breeder’s Association and local communities to develop an entertainment facility that will enhance the New Mexico horse racing product, drive needed tourism dollars to the state and improve our local community,” said Liz Fulton Jones.
The Fulton family has owned and operated Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino since 2000 and built it into one of the premier horse racing facilities in the country.
Sunland Park is 1 of 26 tracks in the country to be accredited by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) for safety and integrity and the only New Mexico horse track to host a Graded Thoroughbred Stakes Race. The most recent 2018 $800,000 Grade III Sunland Derby set New Mexico state records for largest single day handle and the largest single race handle.
For nearly 18 years, Stan Fulton worked to build Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino, now Stan’s sons and daughters, who operate Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino, look to follow in their father’s footsteps.
Fulton was known not only for his investment in regional horse racing and entertainment, but also by his willingness to give back to the City of Sunland Park, New Mexico State University and Doña Ana County.
Rick Baugh, General Manager of Sunland Park Racetrack, made the announcement on Thursday, June 21, at the New Mexico Racing Commission meeting on behalf of the family.
Additional details about the project will be released in coming weeks and months.
The Franklin Lounge was packed to the rafters last Friday night, all beating with one ‘Corazon’ as they rocked out to the best Mana Tribute band in the Western US – Corazón De Maná.
The rockers tore through Mana’s Grammy-winning catalog of hits all night long, while the crowd sang and roared their approval.
If you missed the hard-rocking CdM, you’ll love the next concert featuring another top-notch tribute band, this one an awesome homage to Depeche Mode by the name of Blasphemous Rumours.
It’s all set for Saturday, June 30 @ 9PM, 21 and over, and best of all FREE.
For more information, visit Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino’s Events Page for detail on this upcoming concert and future events.
During a Thursday morning news conference, Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino announced details on this year’s Derby Gala taking place Friday, March 24, 2017.
All of this year’s Derby Gala proceeds will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association in West Texas and Southern New Mexico as well as the Keep Memory Alive Organization.
“The Derby Gala is intended to open minds and hearts to Alzheimer’s disease,” says Ethan Linder, Director of Marketing for Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino. “With this event, we also kick off the Derby Weekend which will offer a wide range of exciting events and entertainment for everyone.”
Also attending and performing will be Las Vegas legend Bob Anderson will also be performing at the Derby Gala.
Anderson is regarded by critics and peers alike as “the best singing impressionist of all time.” Both celebrities will be available to meet and greet Gala attendees.
Additionally, NBC’s “The Voice” contestant singer and songwriter Elia Esparza and musical group Amanecer will also be performing during the Sunland Derby Festival Weekend.
Keep Memory Alive Keep Memory Alive is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was created to increase awareness and raise funds for the research, management, and treatment of brain disorders.
Both the Alzheimer’s Association of West Texas and Southern New Mexico serve with the mission to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.
Derby Gala tickets start at $100 per seat and sponsorship starts at $1,500. Every ticket purchase includes: complimentary food and wine tasting, an opportunity to bid in silent and live auctions, celebrity meet and greet, and free valet parking.
For Derby Gala tickets and more information, click here.