02/21/2015 7:30PM

Where's The Moon trumps heavy favorite in Mine That Bird Derby

Coady Photography
Enrique Gomez guides Where's The Moon to a 2 1/2-length victory in the Mine That Bird Derby.

Where’s The Moon put himself in the picture for next month’s Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Park Derby with his Saturday win in the track’s $100,000 Mine That Bird Derby. Where’s The Moon won 2 1/2 lengths over 1-5 favorite Cinco Charlie, while it was another nose back in third to Dirt Monster.

The Mine That Bird Derby was the final local stepping-stone to the Sunland Derby, which will be run on March 22. Where’s The Moon is a candidate for the 1 1/8-mile race, which is the richest Thoroughbred offering in New Mexico.

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

“I’m all for it,” winning trainer Henry Dominguez said in a post-race interview broadcast from Sunland.

Where’s The Moon ($28.80) settled in third off Cinco Charlie, who took the field through fractions of 21.82 seconds for the opening quarter, 47.19 for the half-mile, and 1:11.23 for six furlongs. Cinco Charlie came under pressure on the final turn, as Where’s The Moon launched a three-wide bid and went on to cover 1 1/16 miles on a track rated fast in 1:42.80.

It was the first career stakes win for Where’s The Moon, who came into the race off a maiden special weight win in his fifth career start Feb. 13.

“I think the key to him is he’s matured,” Dominguez said.

Enrique Gomez was aboard Where’s The Moon for owners J. Kirk and Judy Robison.

Where’s The Moon is a son of Malibu Moon and was bred in Kentucky by Alexander Groves Matz LLC. Where’s The Moon is out of the mare Aldiza, who is also the dam of Altesse, a Grade 3 winner of $412,232.