04/12/2015 6:09PM

Proceed sets track record winning Sunland Handicap

Coady Photography
Proceed, with Alfredo Juarez Jr. aboard, covers 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.37 in the Sunland Park Handicap.

Highly regarded New Mexico-bred Proceed remained perfect in five starts racing at Sunland Park when he drew clear in deep stretch to win Sunday’s $75,000 Sunland Park Handicap.

In winning for the seventh time in eight lifetime starts, Proceed ($7.20) broke the track record for 1 1/8 miles set by Firing Line in last month’s Sunland Derby by .02 of a second with his time of 1:47.37.

Facing open company for the first time since sustaining his only career defeat in the Zia Park Derby in November, Proceed made a four-wide bid from fourth to challenge for the lead with about three furlongs remaining under jockey Alfredo Juarez Jr.  Proceed dueled with Isn't He Clever to the eighth pole, then took command and finished 4 1/2 lengths clear of  Isn’t He Clever. Proceed’s uncoupled stablemate, Ol Winedrinker Who, got third at 18-1, 5 1/2 lengths behind the runner-up.

Rebranded broke slowly, spotting the field several lengths, rushed up to contention on the backside and then dropped back to last as the 6-5 favorite.

Joel Marr, who trains Proceed for owner Michael Stinson, said he was a bit concerned that Juarez may have moved too soon with the 4-year-old colt.

“This was a chance to show what we had,” Marr said of moving Proceed into open company after two wins earlier in the meet against New Mexico-breds. “Today he proved he’s a very, very nice horse.”