Horse Racing – Straight Up G wins $100,000 Mine That Bird Derby

Staff Report: Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Straight Up G wins $100,000 Mine That Bird Derby

Jet Set Warrior closes to win $100,000 Red Hedeman Mile

Miss Hard Knocks takes $75,000 Island Fashion Stakes

Sea Emperor dominates in $100,000 Albert and Henry Dominguez Memorial Handicap

Straight Up G took a big step in his 3-year-old campaign, scoring an impresive wire-to-wire victory in Sunday 21st running of the Mine That Bird Derby at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.

Owned and bred by nationally acclaimed radio personality Jim Rome’s Jungle Racing LLC, Straight Up G took command of the Mine That Bird Derby right out of the gate, getting a sizable advantage on the rest of the field down the backstretch, racing the opening half-mile in 46.88 seconds. Straight Up G led the way by nearly three lengths entering the top of the stretch under jockey Ricardo Gonzalez.

The California-bred son of Straight Fire was geared down in the final yards to win by three-quarters of a length in front of a fast-closing Bye Bye Bobby.

Trained by Richard Baltas, Straight Up G ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.96, earning his third win from five career starts. Sent off as the even-money favorite, Straight Up G validated his backers with a $4 return on their investment.

Straight Up G has won two stakes races in his career, coming home on top in the King Glorious Stakes on Dec. 12 at Los Alamitos. Most recently, Straight Up G was a close second in the California Cup Derby at Santa Anita Park on Jan. 15.

The win adds $60,000 to the bankroll of Straight Up G, who now has lifetime earnings of more than $203,000.

The Mine That Bird Derby serves as the final prep race for the Grade 3, $500,000 Sunland Derby, which will be held on Sunday, March 27, and may serve as the next start for Straight Up G, according to Baltas.

Bye Bye Bobby, ridden by Roimes Chirinos for trainer Todd Fincher, finished well to be second, completing a $2 exacta which returned $22. Bye Bye Bobby was just a head in front of third-place finisher Classic Moment, while Fowler Blue rounded out the top four finishers.

Earning the first stakes win of his career, longshot Jet Set Warrior ran down Massive Roar to post an upset score in the 19th edition of the $100,000 Red Hedeman Mile.

Ridden by Miguel Fuentes for trainer Joel Marr, Jet Set Warrior raced midpack down the backstretch, while Diabolical Storm and Massive Roar battled on the front end through an opening half-mile in 46.76 seconds. 

Jet Set Warrior improved his position around the far turn, but had more than 2 lengths to make up as the field turned for home. 

Fuentes got busy aboard the New Mexico-bred son of Archwarrior in deep stretch, tagging Massive Roar and jockey Roimes Chirinos in the shadow of the wire, winning by a neck and racing a mile in 1:38.78.

Owned and bred by Jim Volk, Jet Set Warrior was sent off at odds of 9.70-to-1 and returned $21.40 to win. The $2 exacta with Massive Roar returned $84.

Jet Set Warrior broke his maiden two starts back at Zia Park on Dec. 12, then ran a close second against allowance company in his most recent start here on Feb. 1. The victory in the Red Hedeman Mile increases his lifetime earnings to more than $80,000.

Massive Roar held the place, two lengths in front of third place finisher Diabolical Storm, while Where’s Brayden settled for a non-threatening fourth.

Miss Hard Knocks continues her win streak for trainer Bart Hone and owner Jeremy Ramsland, drawing off at the top of the lane and winning the 16th renewal of the $75,000 Island Fashion Stakes under jockey Harry Hernandez.

The 3-year-old daughter of Mr Speaker raced in contention for the lead throughout the one-mile event, taking a short lead on the far turn to the outside of Tyler’s Dream and Action Potential.

As the field turned for home, Miss Hard Knocks had opened up a commanding lead before holding off belated challenges from runner-up Manorelli and third place finisher Landslid. Miss Hard Knocks crossed the finish line 1 1/2 lengths in front, racing a mile in a final time of 1:37.71.

Miss Hard Knocks has won three straight races, including a narrow score last time out in the Borderplex Stakes here on Jan. 30. Bred in Kentucky, Miss Hard Knocks broke her maiden on Jan. 17 at Turf Paradise.

The Island Fashion Stakes serves as a steppingstone race for the $300,000 Sunland Oaks, which will be held on Sunday, March 27. 

Sent off at odds of 3.60-to-1, Miss Hard Knocks returned $9.20 to win. The exacta with Manorelli, sent off as the 9-to-5 post time favorite, returned $51.40. 

The victory pads the career bankroll of Miss Hard Knocks to nearly $100,000 while winning three times from five career starts.

Landslid, an invader from New York trained by Rachael Keithen, closed a bit of ground in the lane under Roimes Chirinos before settling for third, while Ali Alley rounded out the top four finishers.

Sunday afternoon’s stakes action kicked off with Gallegos Del Norte Racing’s Sea Emperor narrowly prevailing in the 17th running of the $100,000 Albert and Henry Dominguez Handicap for older New Mexico-bred thoroughbreds.

Trained by Jose R. Gonzalez and ridden to perfection by Luis Fuentes, Sea Emperor held off a determined late rally by Jet N G and jockey Jorge Carreno, prevailing by a neck and racing 1 1/16 miles in a final time of 1:44.08.

Winning for the 11th time from 28 lifetime starts, Sea Emperor is in the midst of a three-race win streak, most recently beating starter allowance company here on Feb. 13. A fan of the Sunland Park racing surface, the homebred 7-year-old son of Roman Emperor has won seven times from nine starts over this course. Sunday’s win increases his lifetime earnings to more than $209,000.

Sent off at odds of 7.20-to-1, Sea Emperor returned $16.40 to win. The $2 exacta with Jet N G returned a very healthy $166.40.

Jet N G was nearly two lengths clear of third place finisher Cheese Tray and jockey Albo Arboleda, while Evacuee, the 2-to-1 post time favorite closed ground in the stretch but had to settle for fourth under Roimes Chirinos.

Live racing at Sunland Park resumes Tuesday at 12:25 p.m.

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