Chitu, Midnight Hawk give Baffert exacta in Sunland Derby

Mar 23rd, 2014 | By TrackSide View | Category: Iron Maidens

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A little more than a week ago it looked like trainer Bob Baffert was going to be on the outside looking in at this year’s Kentucky Derby. But it takes time for some young colts to mature and now Baffert is sitting with three colts that have a lock on getting into the starting gate on May 3 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

Two of them, Hoppertunity and Chitu, have legitimate chances of winning the mile-and-a-quarter race. The other, Midnight Hawk, looks like a mile-and-an-eighth is as far as he wants to go.

Chitu earned his way into the starting gate on the first Saturday in May with a determined win in the Sunland Derby on May 23 at Sunland Park in New Mexico. He pulled away from stablemate Midnight Hawk in the final sixteenth of a mile to win by two lengths. He gain 50 points from that race and now has 54. Midnight Hawk received 20 for second and has 52 points.

Chitu has now captured three of four starts while earning $501,800 with the $400,000 winning prize for the Sunland Derby. The colt began his career winning back-to-back starts going six furlongs last December before commencing his 3-year-old campaign in the Lewis. He led in that race after putting away Midnight Hawk mid-stretch but could not match Candy Boy late when defeated by half a length.

Commissioner rallied to be third and picked up 10 points, but time is running out for this guy. Early fractions in the Sunland Derby were quick, but Commissioner could get no closer than seven lengths in the end.

Coady Photography
Chitu wins the Sunland Derby.

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