03/26/2009 12:00AM

Californians fly to Sunland


A plane carrying 10 horses from Southern California for the two major stakes Sunday at Sunland Park arrived in El Paso, Texas, early Thursday morning. There were seven horses on the flight for the $800,000 Sunland Park Derby and three fillies for the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks. The races are part of a five-stakes card that will make for the richest program of the meet at the New Mexico track, located 10 minutes from El Paso.

The plane touched down at 8 a.m., said Heath Battles, marketing director for Sunland.

Mayor Marv, winner of the $100,000 Turf Paradise Derby, is the morning-line favorite for the Sunland Derby. He was joined on the flight by rivals Santamonicacanyon, Advice, Scorewithcater, Mythical Power, Kelly Leak, and Mark S the Cooler. The fillies on board were Hudler, Gabby's Golden Cal and Century Park.

The derby drew a full field of 12, while the Oaks has a field of six fillies. The other stakes on the card are the $100,000 Harry Henson Handicap and a pair of route stakes for 3-year-olds bred in New Mexico.