03/18/2011 3:24PM

Sunland Derby lures Astrology, Supreme Ruler

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Barbara D. Livingston
Astrology, winner of the Iroquois last fall, will make his 3-year-old debut in the March 27 Sunland Derby.

The field for the Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Park Derby on March 27 was beginning to come together on Friday, with Astrology and Supreme Ruler committing to the 1 1/8-mile race and Nacho Saint and Ruler On Ice settled in after shipping from New York.

The Sunland Derby is the richest race of the meet and part of a program of six stakes worth a cumulative $1.4 million. There were 224 nominations to the race. Other stakes on the Sunland Derby card will include the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks and the $100,000 Harry Henson.

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Astrology, who in his last start was second by a half-length in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov. 27, is scheduled to start in the Sunland Derby, according to Caroline Shaw, a spokesperson for the horse’s co-owner, Stonestreet Stables. Steve Asmussen trains Astrology, who also races for George Bolton. The horses biggest career win came last fall in the Grade 3 Iroquois at Churchill in October.

Nacho Saint, who in his last start was fourth in the Grade 3 Gotham at Aqueduct, and Ruler On Ice, who took a first-level allowance at Parx Racing in his last start Feb. 22, arrived at Sunland on Thursday, said Mike Shamburg, the racing secretary at the New Mexico track. Both horses race for Lori and George Hall and are trained by Kelly Breen.

Supreme Ruler is tentatively scheduled to ship to Sunland on Monday, said his trainer, Jinks Fires. Jon Court has the mount. Supreme Ruler won his debut in a maiden special weight at a mile at Oaklawn on Jan. 15. He has raced once more, and was second by a head in a 1 1/16-mile allowance at the track Feb. 27.

“We’re pointing toward the Sunland Derby, and would like to come back into the Arkansas Derby,” Fires said of the April 16 race at his home base of Oaklawn.

Shamburg also looks for the Sunland Derby to draw Beer Meister, winner of the $50,000 Turf Paradise Derby at 1 1/16 miles on Feb. 22, and Behold de Buy, a stakes winner who was second last out in the $100,000 Borderland Derby at Sunland. Another possible is Borderland winner Fusa Code.

Shamburg said there are two planes scheduled for a Sunland stop this week, with a flight out of Florida set for Wednesday, and one from California on Thursday. He said entries for the Sunland Derby and its supporting stakes will be taken on Wednesday.