Updated on 03/27/2013 10:12AM

Sunland Derby: Govenor Charlie comes through with track-record performance

Coady Photography
Govenor Charlie, under Martin Garcia, proves much the best as a five-length winner in the Sunland Derby.

SUNLAND PARK, N.M. – Completing a blockbuster day at Sunland Park for trainer Bob Baffert, owner Mike Pegram, and the sire Midnight Lute, Govenor Charlie cruised to a five-length victory on Sunday in the Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Derby.

A little more than a half-hour earlier, Baffert and Pegram scored in the Sunland Park Oaks with the filly Midnight Lucky, like Govenor Charlie progeny of Midnight Lute.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

“It was a great day,” Baffert said from his home in California, where he watched the race while letting assistant Jim Barnes handle the chores here.

Govenor Charlie ($4.60) was sent off the favorite despite having just two prior starts, and just one win, that against maidens at Santa Anita on Feb. 17. The form of that race was validated when the second-place finisher, Footbridge, came back to win, and then Govenor Charlie tipped his hand further last Monday, when he appeared to outwork Shakin It Up, Baffert’s other Sunland Derby runner, in a team drill at Santa Anita.

“He’s been training well. He’s improving,” Baffert said.

Shakin It Up finished fourth after trailing early in the nine-horse field. Show Some Magic was second, 3 1/4 lengths in front of Abraham.

Stormdriver was fifth and was followed, in order, by Mudflats, Saint Prado, Dry Summer, and Just Win Baby.

Govenor Charlie pressed the early pace while three paths wide, advanced to the lead with three furlongs to go, and pulled away down the lane.

“I felt like I had a lot of horse the whole way,” said winning rider Martin Garcia. “He’s a horse who feels like he waits on company, but when I asked him, he took off.”

The track at Sunland was lightning fast on Sunday. Govenor Charlie was one of three horses who set track records. He completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.54, beating the previous mark of 1:48 1/5 set in 1961.

Those weren’t the only record here. The all-sources handle of $3,820,986 for the 12-race card was a record for Sunland Park.

Govenor Charlie earned 50 points under the system put in place this year by Churchill Downs to determine eligibility to the May 4 Kentucky Derby should the field oversubscribe its maximum of 20 runners, pretty much the norm these days.

“I got my first 50-point horse!” Baffert said after losing stakes races worth 50 points to the winner in recent weeks with Flashback and Super Ninety Nine.

Pegram bred and owns Govenor Charlie, who is out of the unraced Storm Cat mare Silverbulletway, a daughter of Silverbulletday, a Kentucky Oaks and two-time Eclipse Award winner for Pegram.

Pegram was far more bullish about running Midnight Lucky in the Kentucky Oaks than he was Govenor Charlie in the Derby.

“The Derby’s the hardest race in the world to win,” Pegram said. “We all get Derby fever, and I’ve got it right now.

“But losing the Derby’s no fun,” said Pegram, who owned 1998 Derby winner Real Quiet. “If he’s good enough, he’ll be there. It’ll be up to Bobby.”





StarHandicapper More than 1 year ago
Great Race
Scott More than 1 year ago
Interesting race when you take a closer look at it. Yes the track was fast but the fact of the matter is this colt was 3 wide the entire race. Won the way he should have and when you look at the Wood and the FD splits I don't see anyone coming home any faster while running slower splits. This horse is a definite play if you're into exotics plus his DI of 1.67 says he can get the 1 1/4 mi. Derby distance.
Yasin Freemen More than 1 year ago
If this horse is put on the front in the derby he will hit the ticket with the lack of speed in the upincoming derby he could be the thief I hope bob and mike tell martin to send this horse
AndrewK More than 1 year ago
moderation? really? so much for unbiased opinions and welcome the redundant reporting!!!
zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
And what about 10 points for the Holy Bull (It'smyluckyday) and 50 points for the Gotham (Vijack) five weeks later? In my mind these two races are pretty darn close, but lo and behold... one is five times bigger than the other. Then again, bourbon is the second product coming out of Kentucky ...
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
50 pts winning Sunland Derby, 0 for Illinois Derby ?
Forego137 More than 1 year ago
Whats the big deal about the Illinoise Derby ? It must not be a big deal because you get no points to run in it so what does that tell you but you do get 50points. In the Sunland, once again what does that tell you. EXACTLY
D Lange More than 1 year ago
If you've been following this sport much you know how cut thoat it can be, on all levels. Leaving Hawthorne out dirty politics.
D Lange More than 1 year ago
should read, is just dirty politics.
Ian Salon More than 1 year ago
The best bet of the day. Hands down!! That was a man against boys.
Mark D More than 1 year ago
Two track records!!!! Track was rock hard and waaaaaay too fast. Expect all these horses to come back sore and be great BET AGAINST's next time out. Mark March 24th at Sunland on your calander and toss ever horse on the entire card that runs back in less than a month.
mrbelmont More than 1 year ago
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
They making these tracks faster for thoroughbreds that are being bred like quarterhorses trying to go 10 furlongs in the Kentucky Derby....... funny as hell.....and people wonder why this game are losing fans and bettors....DUH!!!!!!!!
Loreta Pantera More than 1 year ago
Funny, Midnight Lucky worked 6f in 12 breezing and then back in 59 3/5 at CD must really be lame. Won in a cantor and broke the track record by a second??? Broke a step slow and was dueling with the leader the entire way with a first 1/4 by my watch in 21.1/5, no stick, no nothing, a hand ride a cantor in the lane and shut down last four jumps??? I do not know who she beat (not much) but that horse off of a mdn win looked pretty sharp to me, Mr you bet against this horse, please do and bet all of your money against, load up on Pletcher or Mott or whoever please do.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
did anybody not break the track record on sunday? I heard the horse that ran last equaled the track record.kidding.
jttf More than 1 year ago
dont forget that 3 to 6 of these top 20 horses will be sidelined between now and the derby.