May 27, 2024

Conquest Mo Money faces bevy of shippers in Sunland Derby

Conquest Mo Money improved to 3-for-3 winning the Mine That Bird Derby at Sunland Park on February 26 (c) Coady Photo

Sunday’s $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3) offers points on a 50-20-10-5 basis toward a Kentucky Derby berth and Conquest Mo Money is the lone stakes winner among 12 betting interests. The unbeaten colt exits convincing wins in the Mine That Bird Derby and Riley Allison at Sunland, but he will face a class check with 10 rivals invading from across the country for the 1 1/8-mile race.

Mine That Bird, who finished fourth in the 2009 Sunland Derby before recording a 50-1 upset in the Kentucky Derby, put the Sunland Derby on the map as a Kentucky Derby qualifier but Conquest Mo Money probably won’t be headed to Churchill Downs regardless of how he performs because he’s not nominated to the 2017 Triple Crown.

A New York-bred son of Uncle Mo, Conquest Mo Money was purchased for $8,500 while still unraced at last November’s Keeneland November sale. The Miguel Hernandez trainee rallied from off the pace to narrowly capture his career debut at the New Mexico track in early January but has raced on or close to the lead in the last two starts, posting an 11-length tally in the Riley Allison and a two-length score in the February 26 Mine That Bird Derby.

Conquest Mo Money will have to overcome the far outside post Sunday and regular rider Jorge Carreno figures to send him from the start.

Bob Baffert will be seeking his fourth Sunland Derby with Bronze Age, a $600,000 son of Mineshaft who exits a 1 ½-length maiden tally in his third career start. Martin Garcia will be in to ride the front-running colt. Two-time Sunland Derby winner Doug O’Neill has Irap, who adds blinkers off a runner-up in the Mine That Bird Derby. Still a maiden from six starts, the Tiznow colt has also posted second-place efforts in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) and Robert B. Lewis (G3). Mario Gutierrez rides.

Todd Pletcher has last-out Gulfstream maiden winner Hedge Fund entered. Steve Asmussen will send out a pair in Total Tap, a last-out allowance/optional claiming scorer at Fair Grounds; and Hence, who seeks to rebound from a seventh in the Southwest (G3).

Other runners include multiple stakes-placed Balandeen, last-out maiden winner Oxford Lane and Shareholder Value, who invades for Tom Amoss after a couple of midpack finishes in the Lecomte (G3) and Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds.