09/02/2004 11:00PM

WinStar Derby and Oaks distances increased


The distance of next year's $500,000 WinStar Derby has been increased from 1 1/16 miles to 1 1/8 miles for its third running next year. The race is the richest of 50 stakes scheduled for the 87-date Sunland Park meet, which runs from Nov. 5, 2004, to April 3, 2005.

Purses during the meet are expected to average more than $210,000 a day. Sunland, which operates a slots casino, is located in Sunland Park New Mexico, near El Paso, Texas.

The WinStar Derby will be run on April 2, 2005, and share a program with the $250,000-added WinStar Sunland Park Oaks. The distance of the Oaks has also been increased, from one mile to 1 1/16 miles. Other stakes supporting the WinStar Derby will be the $100,000 Harry Henson Handicap and the $100,000 New Mexico Breeders' Derby.

Other major stakes at the Sunland meet include the $175,000-estimated Riley Allison Futurity over 6 1/2 furlongs on Dec. 26, and the $100,000 Borderland Derby, a prep for the WinStar Derby that has been increased in distance from one mile to 1 1/16 miles. The Borderland Derby will be run on Feb. 27.

Quarter Horses will race for $400,000 in the The Championship, sponsored by Fast Funds, on Dec. 26. The race is for 3-year-olds and upward and it will be broadcast on ESPN.

Sunland will race on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Tuesday, with first post set for 12:15 p.m.