Baffert pair highlight Sunland Derby field

Sunland Park, NM ( - Midnight Hawk and Chitu, both trained by Bob Baffert, top the nine-horse field for Sunday's $800,000 Sunland Derby at Sunland Park.

The winner of the 1 1/8-mile race receives 50 qualifying points to the 2014 Kentucky Derby.


Both Midnight Hawk and Chitu ship in from California off second-place finishes at Santa Anita. Midnight Hawk was second in the San Felipe Stakes just two weeks ago and Chitu was the runner-up in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Feb. 8.

For the Sunland Derby, Midnight Hawk will start from post 7 with Mike Smith getting the ride and Chitu has drawn the far outside post and jockey Martin Garcia. Baffert won last year's Sunland Derby with Govenor Charlie and in 2006 with Wanna Runner.

Midnight Hawk has never been worse than third in his four career starts. He won his first two races, including the Sham Stakes two months ago, and got third to Candy Boy in the Lewis Stakes before his second in the San Felipe behind California Chrome.

Co-owned by Mike Pegram, who owns Govenor Charlie, Midnight Hawk has banked $171,000 and already has accumulated 36 points for entry to the Kentucky Derby.


Chitu, owned by Tamma Corp., has won two of three starts with a second for $101,800. The colt won his two initial races in December prior to dropping the Lewis Stakes by a half-length to Candy Boy.

Coming from Oaklawn Park is Tanzanite Cat, trained by Cody Autrey for James and Ywachetta Driver. The colt will start from post 5 with Norberto Arroyo Jr. getting the mount.

Tanzanite Cat is the winner of two of his four career starts for $132,000. He won the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn in January, but finished fifth behind Tapiture in the Southwest Stakes last month.

Here is the full field for the Sunland Derby in post position order: Bourbonize, Ramon Vazquez; Garen, Victor Espinoza; Commissioner, John Velazquez; Global Strike, Javier Castellano; Tanzanite Cat, Norberto Arroyo Jr.; Lawly's Goal, Irwin Rosendo; Midnight Hawk, Mike Smith; Rebranded, Ry Eikleberry and Chitu, Martin Garcia.

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


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