Govenor Charlie, the 13-10 post-time favorite, pressed the pace and then ran away down the stretch to win Sunday's $800,000 Sunland Derby at Sunland Park. It was just the third start for the Bob Baffert-trained 3-year-old colt.
Govenor Charlie, owned by Mike Pegram, was joined in the field of nine by stablemate Shakin It Up who went off as the 3-1 second choice.
Ridden by Martin Garcia, Govenor Charlie broke sharply from the gate and drew close to pacesetter Saint Prado in the 1 1/8-mile stakes. Also on the lead was Abraham with Show Some Magic and Just Win Baby.
Around the far turn, Govenor Charlie drew even with Saint Prado and Show Some Magic. And on the final turn, the favorite took a short lead over Show Some Magic, a 26-1 longshot.
Govenor Charlie began to draw away from Show Some Magic nearing the furlong pole and proceeded to establish his dominance down the stretch. Baffert's horse drew away to a five-length victory over Show Some Magic with Abraham holding on for third.
Shakin It Up, co-owned by Pegram, finished fourth followed by Stormdriver, Mudflats, Saint Prado, Dry Summer and Just Win Baby.
The time for the Sunland Derby was a track record 1:47.54 on a fast track.
As part of the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" points system, winning the Sunland Derby was worth 50 points to Govenor Charlie for entry into the Run for the Roses on May 4.
Govenor Charlie notched his second win and first stakes triumph, while giving his trainer and co-owner their second Sunland Derby victory. Pegram and Baffert won the 2006 Sunland Derby with Wanna Runner.
The colt earned $400,000 with the win to bring his career earnings to $444,800. In his debut race at Santa Anita on Jan. 19, Govenor Charlie finished a distant second but came back on Feb. 17 to win at a mile.
Govenor Charlie returned $4.60, $3.40 and $2.80. Show Some Magic paid $17.20 and $8.20, and Abraham paid $3.40 to show.