02/25/2010 12:00AM

Borderland Derby will provide answers


The $100,000 Borderland Derby on Saturday is a prep for next month's Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Park Derby, but it represents something different for leading contenders Tango Tango and Chuchuluco.

Tango Tango has shipped to Sunland Park from California, where he has raced exclusively on synthetic surfaces since winning his maiden in his career debut Oct. 25.

"Right now, we're trying to see if our colt can run on the dirt," said Jerry Hollendorfer, who trains Tango Tango.

Chuchuluco, a multiple-stakes-winning sprinter based in New Mexico, is getting a two-turn test Saturday, said his trainer, Todd Fincher. If he handles the

1 1/16-mile trip, Chuchuluco would be pointed to the $100,000 New Mexico Breeders' Derby on the Sunland Park Derby undercard March 28. Chuchuluco has routed one other time, finishing sixth as the favorite in the $130,000 Eddy County at Zia on Dec. 6.

"He flipped his soft palate day," said Fincher. "You can completely throw that one out.

"I think the mile and a sixteenth is going to be stretching him to the limit," he said. "We're going to try and get him to relax. We don't really want to go to the lead. We want to try to slow down and finish up."

Tango Tango made his two-turn debut last out in the Grade 2 Robert Lewis on Feb. 13 at Santa Anita. He was fifth in a race won by one of the division's best in Caracortado.

"It was a good race," Hollendorfer said. "He ran very credibly until the very end and faded a little bit. I'm hoping he'll like the dirt better."

Tango Tango earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 81. Jamie Theriot will be aboard Tango Tango for the first time Saturday. The horse will break from post 8 in a field of 9.

"He does have tactical speed," said Hollendorfer.

Chuchuluco earned a Beyer of 84 for his 2 1/2-length win in the $125,000 Pepsi Cola for statebreds at Sunland in his last start Jan. 23. He will break from post 6 and be ridden by Isaias Enriquez.

Storming Saint also is a contender. Trained by Henry Dominguez, Storming Saint will be moving back to two turns after finishing third last out in the $107,000 Riley Allison Futurity. He won his maiden by 13 lengths in a two-turn race.