Sir Rick's commanding four length win in Sunday's $100,000 Mine That Bird Derby at Sunland Park set the 3-year-old Paynter colt up as one of the favorites for the March 22 Sunland Derby, which is part of the Kentucky Derby championship series.
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A win in next month's race would virtually assure Sir Rick a spot in the starting gate for the May 2 Kentucky Derby (G1).
Sir Rick, a Richard Davis homebred who was stakes placed at two, was making his first start for new trainer Robertino Diodoro in the Mine That Bird. After dueling for the lead with Top Draw for the first six furlongs, the eventual winner drew away easily at the top of the stretch and sailed home a clear winner.
Sir Rick improved his record to 4-0-1 from six starts with $126,012 in earnings. He is Paynter's fourth stakes winner and sixth stakes horse overall this year. Paynter is currently the leading Fourth-Crop Sire and in the top 10 nationally on the General Sire list.