03/27/2011 4:16PM

Oaklawn: Fires runner in $800K Sunland Derby


Oaklawn-based trainer Jinks Fires will have a rare starter in New Mexico later this afternoon in the Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Park Derby. Supreme Ruler got the call for the race off a nice pair of efforts at Oaklawn. He closed from last to win his career debut in a maiden special weight at a mile Jan. 15, then missed by a head in an entry-level allowance at a mile and a sixteenth in his most recent start Feb. 27. Supreme Ruler, a son of Don't Get Mad, will be moving to a mile and an eighth for the Sunland Park Derby.

"This horse has really got a lot of endurance," said Fires, "and we think the distance is a plus."

Fires is also hopeful that Sunland Park will suit Supreme Ruler.

"He's a horse that lays back and makes one big run," Fires said. "I've talked to a couple of people out there and they said a horse that makes a run at the end of it, they usually do well. That's what we're hoping."

Jon Court has traveled to Sunland to ride Supreme Ruler. The horse earned a Beyer Figure of 85 in his last start, which is one of the highest last-race numbers in the field for the Sunland Park Derby. The race goes as the 12th, and there are currently no changes to the lineup. It is one of six stakes on the card at Sunland, with the stakes action starting in the seventh. The scheduled post for the Sunland Derby is 5:45 p.m. Mountain.

Fires said Supreme Ruler could become a candidate to run back in the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby on April 16.