'Hence' wins Sunland Derby following local horse 'Conquest Mo Money'

Cornelia Mascio
Marzo 28, 2017

Hence closed with a great flourish to stamp his ticket for the Kentucky Derby after winning the 14th running of the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) by an expansive three and three-quarter lengths at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Sunday. "The plan will be to put him in the Derby in the best shape possible". Picking off rivals to sit in a two-wide third approaching the far turn, the Steve Asmussen pupil looked previously undefeated leader Conquest Mo Money (Uncle Mo) in the eye for a few brief strides in early stretch before rolling clear to a 3 3/4-length victory.

Race favorite Bronze Age, trained by Bob Baffert, pressed a fast pace early and faded to last.

Seventh in the Southwest Stakes in his prior start, Hence broke his maiden in his fourth start January 16 at Oaklawn Park by three-quarters of a length going 1 1/16 miles on a sloppy main track.

"I broke nearly dead last, so I just tried to save ground going into the first turn and then I swung out a little bit just to get my momentum going", winning rider Alfredo Juarez, Jr., remarked. "I was just enjoying every step of the way".

The win was the second career victory for Hence, who accounted for a maiden special weight route in impressive fashion January 16 at Oaklawn. Hence then targeted the Sunland Derby.

"We're very excited about the win", Asmussen said. "He's shown talent. He's a quality 3-year-old".

The colt was bred in Kentucky, out of the A.P. Indy mare Floating Island.

Conquest Mo Money and Hedge Fund, who won a photo for third over Irap, are not nominated to the Triple Crown. He earned 20 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby.

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