Updated on 03/28/2012 5:55PM

Sunland: Daddy Nose Best takes Sunland Derby with late rally

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Julien Leparoux celebrates by pumping his fist as Daddy Nose Best reaches the wire first in the Sunland Derby.

Daddy Nose Best put himself in the Kentucky Derby picture on Sunday, when he wore down Isn’t He Clever for a three-quarter length win in the Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Park Derby.

“We came here trying to earn our way into the Kentucky Derby,” said Steve Asmussen, who trains Daddy Nose Best for Bob and Cathy Zollars.

The Sunland Derby was the centerpiece of a seven-stakes card at Sunland. The races were worth a combined $1.6 million, making the program the richest of the meet in New Mexico.

Daddy Nose Best ($9.40) appears to be coming to hand at an opportune time. The Sunland Derby was his second straight Grade 3 win at 1 1/8 miles, having entered the race off a nose win in the El Camino Real Derby. He picked up $120,000 in graded earnings for that score at Golden Gate, then took home another $400,000 for his win in the Sunland Derby.

Daddy Nose Best raced in sixth in the early stages of the race, about five lengths behind favorite Castaway and Ender Knievel, who dueled through an opening quarter in 22.48 seconds and a half-mile in 46.24. Isn’t He Clever overtook the leaders through six furlongs in 1:10.83, and moved into the stretch with a two-length advantage. Daddy Nose Best gradually worked his way past the leader in the later stages, to cover the distance on a fast track in 1:48.59.

Julien Leparoux was aboard Daddy Nose Best, who picked off his biggest career score Sunday.

“I’m very glad to see this horse have success in a race at this level,” said Asmussen.

Daddy Nose Best has now won 4 of 10 starts and $633,623. He is a son of Scat Daddy and he was bred in Kentucky by Patricia Ann Elia Trust.

Isn’t He Clever held second, 7 1/4 lengths clear of third-place finisher Stirred Up. Isn’t He Clever earned $176,000 in graded money for his runner-up finish Sunday. He is not currently nominated to the Triple Crown.

The remaining order of finish was No Spin in fourth, followed by Ender Knievel, Tequila Factor, Castaway, and Justanoldsong.

Attendance on Sunday was 18,384. Handle on the 13-race card from all sources was $3,586,225, which set a new Sunland and New Mexico record for live handle. The previous mark of $2,963,240 was set on the corresponding card in 2011.

FESTUS ELROY More than 1 year ago
The El Camino is starting to look like a key race.Daddy nose best wins back,Handsome Mike runs 4th from the outside post.I can't wait to bet Lucky Chappy at Meydan this sat.
E More than 1 year ago
DaddyNoseBest beats me by a nose in the ElCamino , then beats me in the stretch at Sunland. Making him my must play in the Derby
Douglas Rutherford More than 1 year ago
Prayers go out to the Baffert family ! I had called the 700 Club for prayer request for ya Bob and family . Jill and Bode , you too . You are awesome people ( on and off ) the race track . 700 Club said that they will be praying 4 times a day for you for the next two weeks . Leparoux contacted me , and that was how I found out the sad breaking news . Get Well Bob Baffert ! You are in the best of care where you are - that is for sure . DUBAI has the best of the Best
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
really liked Isn't He Clever in this race,should have won it!!!Thanks Luis on such a stupid ride.Why would you take a horse who is going a 1 1/8 for the first time and push him so early.ITake nothing away from Daddy, but he obviously had more brains sitting on his back!!! Still like Isn't He clever,very versatile,unlike Castaway.Knew he was a fraud.Don't know what the future holds for Isn't He Clever,but I think he's promising.May be better at the shorter distances though.Bet on him and Prospective almost pulled it off!!
Rodney Dangerfield More than 1 year ago
Totally agree with you. Don't know what Luis was thinking. I would hope Henry will be looking for another jockey in order to take this horse to the next level.
Wayne Haehner More than 1 year ago
Castaway has ONE nice race @ Oaklawn and look at how many of you expected so much from him--you are all amateurs
Rodney Dangerfield More than 1 year ago
Wayne, I'm glad you were able to see everyone's betting slip. LOL Actually were not amateurs, I'm actually a 240lb apprentice.
mrnickyb More than 1 year ago
Just because a horse dueled and lost doesn't make him the best horse. He didn't even win the battle, let alone the war. Just because it's Baffert doesn't automatically make him good.
Mark Maegdlin More than 1 year ago
That was a ridiculous race! Get a new jock for Castatway. MM
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ya,no wonder Baffert had a heart attack!!!
OwenJ More than 1 year ago
Did Bejerano think he was riding Secretariat? Why did he ride Castaway into such a suicidal pace? Having said that, none of these appears capable of spoiling the party for Creative Cause and company on the first Saturday in May.
Mac Wendel More than 1 year ago
Exactly, Owen -- let's set the pace with blazing fractions while running the farthest we've ever gone. Foolish move. I had Isn't he Clever and thought I was golden the way it was setting up. I was at GG the day DaddyNoseBest won the El Camino and that was one helluva race -- watch it if you haven't. I guess he's for realsy... Finally: Creative Cause is definitely in my exacta/trifecta wagering, but I like Hansen and Rags to CC...
Jesse Calleja More than 1 year ago
what hapened with Castaway. Bejerano rode him so bad that Baffert should take him off castaway the next race. Bring back Smokin Joe Talamo
Mick Newhart More than 1 year ago
bejerano should get get 30 days for that ride. In my 30 years of watching horse racing, that had to be the worst ride ever by any jockey that didnt fix a race. Or maybe he did. A prescott downs maiden claimer could have beat castaway that day. If secretariet ran the same race bejerano rode he would have eased too.
Morris More than 1 year ago
he was surly, the best horse today.& probaly will be better @ 1 1/4. congrats steve & company. go getem. you look better ever day.