Kelly Leak wins $900K Sunland Derby

Updated: March 29, 2009, 10:23 PM ET
Associated Press

SUNLAND PARK, N.M. -- Kelly Leak used a strong kick down the stretch to win the $900,000 Sunland Park Derby by a length Sunday, proving he can win just about anywhere he goes.

The 3-year-old son of Runaway Groom, the 2-1 favorite, covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.02 for his third career win with jockey Mike Smith aboard. The stirring run down the stretch came before 16,388 fans.

Mythical Power, trained by Bob Baffert, finished second, and Scorewithcater was third.

Trained by Michael Machowsky, Kelly Leak paid $6.60, $4 and $3.40 and earned $500,00 for the victory, including an extra $100,00 bonus due to his previous graded stakes earnings.

"It was a good win," Machowsky said. "Mike Smith did a great job of riding the horse all the way around, particularly down the stretch. Kelly Leak ships well and handled this track well."

Kelly Leak, who has raced in California and Florida, has earned more than $620,000 and could be headed for the Lone Star Derby or the Peter Pan Stakes down the road.

Kelly Leak was in seventh halfway through the race, then slowly moved up to fifth at the three-quarters pole, where he made his stirring move.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press