Starlight Racing’s Cutting Humor earned 50 points toward a starting berth in the May 4 Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs following a gutsy neck victory Sunday in the $800,000 Sunland Park Derby (G3) under jockey John Velazquez.
Mucho Gusto, the 4-5 favorite, led the way early through splits of :22.76, :45.63 and 1:09.63. Hustle Up kept the pressure on Mucho Gusto while Cutting Humor stalked in the four path outside of Anothertwistafate. Cutting Humor went three wide around the final bend and grabbed a slight advantage at the top of the stretch, just holding as Anothertwistafate proved tenacious on his outside.
Sent off the second choice, Cutting Humor paid $6.60 for the win while finishing 1 1/8 miles over Sunland Park’s fast main track in 1:46.94 for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Anothertwistafate saw his three-race win streak snapped when crossing under the wire a neck adrift of Cutting Humor. The dark bay colt earned another 20 points toward the Run for the Roses and now sits in 12th on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with 30 total points following his seven-length triumph in the El Camino Real Derby last out.
Mucho Gusto tired to third after setting the swift early pace, 5 3/4 lengths behind the top pair. He garnered 10 points, good for a 24-point total and 16th on the Leaderboard. Mine That Bird Derby runner-up Wicked Indeed completed the top four under the wire, earning five points for a total of six.
Cutting Humor was making just his second stakes try in this spot following a seventh-place run in the Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park on February 18. He’s accumulated $516,967 in lifetime earnings to go along with a 6-2-2-1 career mark.
Bred in Kentucky by Dell Hancock and Bernie Sams, Cutting Humor is by First Samurai and out of the unraced Pulpit mare Pun, making him a half-brother to Grade 2-placed stakes winner Irish You Well. Pun is herself a half-sibling to three-time Grade 1 hero Zensational.
Two races earlier at Sunland Park, Chasing Yesterday justified her prohibitive 1-20 odds when scoring a 1 1/4-length victory in the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks under jockey Drayden Van Dyke.
The Bob Baffert trainee was last seen taking the Starlet Stakes (G1) at Los Alamitos on December 8 and hopped at the start of her sophomore debut before going on to triumph here in a final time of 1:43.18 for 1 1/16 miles on the fast dirt. The win was worth 50 points and boosted her third on the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard with 60 total points.
K P Slickem, off at 36-1 odds in the Sunland Park Oaks, took home 20 points but, like third Backflash (10 points) and fourth-placer Figure (five points), is not nominated to the Kentucky Oaks (G1).
Chasing Yesterday improved her career record to read 6-5-0-0, with her only loss coming as a seventh in the Spinaway Stakes (G1) at Saratoga last September. In addition to this one and the Starlet, the chestnut daughter of Tapit also shows wins in the Desi Arnaz Stakes and Anoakia Stakes in Southern California. The Southern Wind Equine homebred has banked $440,650 lifetime.
The Kentucky-bred Chasing Yesterday is out of the Yankee Gentleman mare Littleprincessemma, who is best known as the dam of Triple Crown superstar American Pharoah. Chasing Yesterday is also a half-sister to Grade 1 runner-up American Cleopatra and Grade 3-placed St Patricks Day, both by Pioneerof the Nile and full siblings to American Pharoah.