By Dick Downey
The Grade III Sunland Derby at Sunland Park has drawn eight entries, three of them surprises.
Castaway, winner of a division of the Grade III Southwest Stakes, will have Rafael Bejarano up in the Sunland Derby. Baffert sent Secret Circle, winner of the other Southwest division, back to Oaklawn Park where he won the Grade II Rebel last Saturday.
Joining Castaway on the trip from Baffert's barn is maiden winner Stirred Up, a son of Lemon Drop Kid to be ridden by Martin Garcia. On March 3 in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight at Santa Anita, Stirred Up was the second choice at 3-1, while Holy Candy was made 2-5. But Stirred Up made a resolute, sustained run from sixth of six to overtake Holy Candy after he struck the front in upper stretch.
As expected, Daddy Nose Best, winner of the Grade III El Camino Real Derby, was entered. Julien Leparoux takes the mount. Daddy Nose Best won a stirring stretch drive over Lucky Chappy in the Feb. 18 race at Golden Gate Fields for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Shipping from Florida is maiden winner Ender Knievel for trainer Todd Pletcher. John Velazquez will be in the irons. Ender Knievel has a New Mexico connection in owner Alto Racing LLC. Ender Knievel won at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 5 and has since put in in five works at Palm Meadows, capped off by one on Monday.
--Borderland Derby winner Isn't He Clever, last ridden by Alejandro Medellin, gets Luis Contreras up this time. He's trained by Henry Dominguez. Isn't He Clever won the 6 1/2-furlong Riley Allison Futurity at Sunland by 11 3/4 lengths last year.
No Spin comes in from Oaklawn Park for trainer Tim Ice. He was last seen in a triple-dead heat for sixth in the Soutwest division won by Castaway, beaten 6 3/4 lengths.
The two other surprise entries are Tequila Factor and Justanoldsong.
Tequila Factor, fifth in the Borderland Stakes two races back, comes in off a win at 3-2 odds in the Tempe Handicap, a one-mile turf race at Turf Paradise. He's trained by Glenn Corbett.
Justanoldsong, trained by David Wolochuk, won his debut and then finished sixth in the Borderland.
Neither Longview Drive nor Majestic Stride, both of whom were listed as probable, were entered in the Sunland Derby.