Review of Fort Bliss Stakes at Sunland Park on February 2

Race 5. Fort Bliss Stakes. For three-year-old and up at 6 furlongs on dirt. Purse $75,000.


PP Horse Jockey Trainer M/L
1 Valentine Divine Francisco Amparan Greg Green 10/1
2 Black Ops Luis Contreras Justin Evans 5/2
3 Coils Cool Elvin Gonzalez Justin Evans 12/1
4 Cowboy Cool Miguel Perez Greg Green 6/1
5 Secular Nation Ry Eikleberry Henry Dominguez 3/1
6 Runaway Ghost Santiago Gonzalez Todd Fincher 8/5
7 Wake Up in Malibu Roimes Chirinos Justin Evans 8/1

Runaway Ghost returns to racing in Fort Bliss, his first race since winning the Sunland Derby (GIII) last year. Prior to a fracture cannon bone ,he was a potential 2018 Kentucky Derby horse. He is a three-time stakes winner. He won the six-furlong Golden Nugget at Golden Gate Fields by 7 1/2 lengths over the synthetic surface.  He won the one-mile Riley Allison by 7 3/4 lengths. He was then second in the Mine That Bird Derby at 1 1/16 miles. His last breezed was on Saturday at Sunland Park, working five-eighths of a mile in a minute flat. He has posted five impressive works in 2019 at Sunland. If he fires, he is the horse to beat.

The barn of Justin Evans will send three to the post in the Fort Bliss. His Black Ops is the 5/2 morning line second choice. He won a six-furlong allowance at Zia Park in December and lost by a neck at the same distance at Sunland Park this month.  

Another Evans entrée is Coils Gold, who was third going six furlongs in a Sunland allowance optional claiming this month.

Wake Up in Malibu rounds out the Evans’ entrees. He is the winner of the Saginaw Stakes for New York-breds in 2016. He finished third in his last race, an allowance optional claiming race at Laurel Park on March 31, 2018. He has the best E Speed Figure but that was many race ago. He should be a factor at the wire.

Secular Nation won the Duke City Sprint Stakes by 7 1/2 lengths, then stretched out around two turns in the Charles Taylor Derby, where he lost by a length.  

Cowboy Cool has been on the board 16 out of 27 times. He finished fourth in the KLAQ Handicap at Sunland Park on December 29, 2018. He has he has finished fourth in three consecutive races. He has a chance to be in top three.

Valentine Divine won a 6 1/2 furlongs allowance last month at Zia Park.

 Our Top Three Picks

  • Runaway Ghost
  • Cowboy Cool
  • Wake Up in Malibu


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