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El Paso, TX — Proceed pulled clear from Rebranded in deep stretch to earn a powerful 2 length victory in the $120,000 Mine That Bird Derby at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday.
The extremely impressive New Mexico-bred three-year-old was up to the challenge in the important local prep for the $800,000 Sunland Derby and more than confirmed his status as the 6-5 favorite. Trained by Joel Marr, Proceed remains unbeaten in three starts and passed the test of defeating open company with flying stars. The Red Hedeman Mile winner threw in a solid final quarter mile and repelled a terrific challenge from Rebranded.
Under jockey Alfredo Juarez, Jr., Proceed launched a sizeable bid on the second turn of the 1 and 1/16 mile race and was in front at the three quarter mile pole. The classy Desert God colt sprinted to the front in upper stretch and completely held Rebranded at bay for the final 200 yards of the feature. He completed the distance in a fast 1:42.47, very close to the track record of 1:41.09 held by Midnight Lucky.
A very happy winning trainer Joel Marr said, “He a very talented horse. We had hoped he could turn in to something special going a route, and that’s why we tried open company going this distance. We want to keep routing him. He moved up into an excellent position down the backstretch. Alfredo rode him great. We had no excuses either way. If he comes out of the race o.k., we hope to run him in the Sunland Derby. Sometimes, we gotta dream big.”
Proceed earned $72,000 for owner Michael Stinson of Ft. Worth, Texas. The stellar three-year-old remains a perfect three for three. His bankroll nearly doubled to over $142,000. He could be a major force in the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) on Sunday, March 23.
Riley Allison Futurity winner Rebranded ran a very bold race and closed with energy to earn second place, nearly 13 lengths in front of Ima Happy Strike. The runner-up is an imposing son of Tiznow trained by leading conditioner Justin Evans. He should also have a major say in the Sunland Derby (Gr. III).
2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird was on hand to lead the post parade for the 2014 Mine That Bird Derby.
Live racing resumes on Sunday at 12:55 p.m.
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