December 6, 2022

Slow Down Andy tops eight in Sunland Derby

Slow Down Andy and jockey Mario Gutierrez win the Los Alamitos Futurity (Photo by Benoit Photo)

Following a sixth in the Risen Star (G2), Slow Down Andy will try to rebound in Sunday’s $500,000 Sunland Park Derby (G3). The 1 1/8-mile race awards 85 points to the top four finishers (50-20-10-5) as a Road to the Kentucky Derby series qualifier, and six of Slow Down Andy’s seven rivals have experience at the New Mexico track.

Trained by two-time Kentucky Derby winner Doug O’Neill, Slow Down Andy concluded last year on an extremely promising note, rallying to post a one-length victory in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) in mid-December. The California-bred son of Nyquist was flattered when the runner-up, Messier, came back to win the Robert B. Lewis (G3) in early February by 15 lengths, but Slow Down Andy failed to fire when recording an even sixth at Fair Grounds on Feb. 19.

The chestnut colt will add blinkers for the Sunland Derby, and Mario Gutierrez retains the assignment.

Straight Up G could be the second choice following a wire-to-wire win as the favorite in the Feb. 27 Mine That Bird Derby at Sunland. A convincing winner of the King Glorious S. for California-breds three starts back, the Straight Fire colt is trained by Richard Baltas, and Ricardo Gonzalez will be back aboard.

One of two runners for Steve Asmussen, Classic Moment will return to Sunland following a third in the Mine That Bird Derby. Fourth in the Springboard Mile and sixth in the Southwest (G3), the dark bay colt will add Joel Rosario to the saddle. Stakes-placed juvenile Costa Terra, fourth most recently in an Oaklawn allowance, will also ship in for Asmussen. Luis Negron has the call.

Bye Bye Bobby and Fowler Blue, second and fourth in the Mine That Bird Derby, are also part of the mix. Multiple stakes victor Pepper Spray will try to improve upon a seventh last time, and Turf Paradise Derby winner Chrome King rounds out the field.