05/26/2009 12:00AM

Sunland releases racing secretary


Sunland Park has relieved Norm Amundson of his duties as racing secretary and handicapper, a position he has held at the New Mexico track for 14 years.

"Track management has decided to move in another direction, and I respect their decision," Amundson said in a statement issued Tuesday.

Sunland officials would not comment on the reason for Amundson's release. He will be with the track through the end of the month, said Dustin Dix, director of racing operations for Sunland.

"We're looking for a replacement and taking applications," Dix said. "It will be a seasonal position. We want to try and come up with someone by the end of June, but it might take longer than that."

Sunland, which will begin its mixed meet in December, is coming off a successful season in which its $800,000 Sunland Derby proved to be a very key race this spring. Mine That Bird finished fourth to Kelly Leak in the race and in his next start won the Kentucky Derby. Others to exit the Sunland Derby and win significant stakes have been Advice, who won the Grade 2 Lexington, and Mythical Power, who won the Grade 3 Lone Star Derby.

Amundson had been with Sunland for 20 years, in either a full-time or seasonal capacity. During some of those years, he was the track announcer. Amundson said he will miss those he has worked with over the years at Sunland.

"It has been wonderful to be part of the development of Sunland Park into one of the premier tracks in the Southwest," he said.