May 15, 2013 – Mike Pegram’s Govenor Charlie remains on course for a start in the May 18 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert confirmed Tuesday, May 14.“He came out of his work really, really well,” said Baffert, who has won the 1 3/16-mile classic five times. “We are prepared to go.”
Govenor Charlie worked six furlongs in 1:10 4/5 May 13 at Churchill Downs. Baffert is at home in California this week and has been receiving reports on the colt from longtime assistant Jimmy Barnes.
The Sunland Derby (gr. III) winner did not compete in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) because a minor foot bruise caused him to miss some training time in April. Govenor Charlie has had three solid works and has demonstrated that he has recovered from the foot issue.
April 18, 2013 – Mike Pegram’s Govenor Charlie, record-breaking winner of the Sunland Derby (gr. III), is scheduled to be shipped to Churchill Downs April 18 after a brief visit to Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky.
Trainer Bob Baffert said the son of Midnight Lute is doing fine and should return to the track April 19. Govenor Charlie’s next start is expected to be in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) May 4.
By Ray Sanchez – Sunland PK, NM – March 30, 2013 – Dustin Dix, director of operations at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino, predicted that last Sunday’s $800,000 Grade III Sunland Derby would be “the best Sunland Derby ever.”My, Oh, My. How right he was.
Track records were broken, betting records were shattered and it happened in a setting that could only have been ordered from above. The wind that had been howling up to 40 miles an hour for two days began to subside on Sunday morning and was only a whisper by the time the Sunland Derby came around. And the Southwest sun took the cue, glowed in its entire splendor and beamed its rays on the 18,000 spectators with gusto.
It all seemed fitting. After all, it was the last Sunland Derby for the man who built the race into the big time event it has become: General manager Harold Payne. He will retire Monday after 40 years at the track, the last 20 as general manager, and he can go with a smile and a happy wave.
It was also fitting that trainer Bob Baffert dominated the day. Baffert has been one of Sunland’s, and Payne’s, biggest backers. Baffert, based in California, is known throughout the racing world and has won all of the Triple Crown races at least once. Yet he praises Sunland wherever he goes and never fails to help the Sunland Derby by entering a horse or two.
By PETE HERRERA – SUNLAND PARK, N.M. – March 24, 2013 – It was a great day in the desert for trainer Bob Baffert and an even better one for Nevada horse owner Mike Pegram.
Baffert and Pegram swept the Grade 3 $800,000 Sunland Derby and the companion $200,000 Sunland Oaks before a festive-mood fueled crowd Sunday at Sunland Park.
Govenor Charlie ran away from a talented field to win the Sunland Derby, while Pegram’s filly Midnight Lucky romped to victory in the Sunland Oaks.