More Event-Driven Days to Highlight 2015-16 Sunland Park Meet

The track's 72-day meet opens December 18.

Edited press release

Sunland Park Racetrack's 72-day meet runs from December 18-April 19.

The 72-day Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse meet at Sunland Park Racetrack, which opens December 18, will feature more event-driven days, topped by Sunland Derby (G3) Day on March 20.

Quarter Horses will be in the spotlight on the meet’s first big day, December 27. On that date, the track will present the 400-yard, $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (G1) for 3-year-olds and older; the inaugural running of the 400-yard, $250,000 Sunland Park Juvenile Championship for 2-year-olds; and the 400-yard, $85,000 Lou Wooten/Sydney Valentini Handicap (RG1) for New Mexico-bred fillies and mares.

Another event-driven Quarter Horse day will be April 16, the final Saturday of the meet, when Sunland Park will present the 300-yard, $200,000-est. West Texas Futurity (G2) and the 400-yard, $100,000 Bank of America New Mexico Championship Challenge (G2).

The Sunland Derby has become the southwest’s major prep race for the Thoroughbred Triple Crown races, starting with the $2-million Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. Last year, Firing Line won the Sunland Derby, just six weeks before he finished second to American Pharoah in the Kentucky Derby. American Pharoah eventually went on to become the sport’s first Triple Crown winner in 37 years.

Attempting to build on that success, Sunland Park has enhanced its Thoroughbred program and will present racing on a 70/30 split between Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses.

Racing will be presented on a Friday-through-Sunday and Tuesday schedule through closing day, April 19, with the exception of Christmas week, where live racing will be presented December 26-29. Post time for the first race will be 12:45 p.m. (MST) during the first part of the meet.

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA Racing on Twitter, "like" Q-Racing on Facebook, and visit www.aqharacing.com.