The eyes of the Thoroughbred racing world will be on New Mexico on Sunday, as Sunland Park Racetrack presents the 17th running of the Grade 3, $500,000 Sunland Park Derby.

The Sunland Park Derby has drawn a field of eight 3-year-olds, headed by 2-1 morning-line favorite Slow Down Andy. A homebred Nyquist colt trained by Doug O’Neill for owner Reddam Racing LLC, Slow Down Andy has earned $253,850 from four races in California and Louisiana, and his two wins include a one-length victory in the December 11, $300,000 Los Alamitos Futurity (G2).

The 1 1/8-mile Sunland Park Derby is New Mexico’s only graded Thoroughbred stakes, and it will offer Kentucky Derby (G1) qualifying points on a 50-20-10-5 schedule. Also, Sunday’s 1 1/16 mile, $300,000 Sunland Park Oaks for 3-year-old fillies will offer Kentucky Oaks (G1) qualifying points on the same 50-20-10-5.

Worth noting is that one of the Sunland Park Oaks entries, Cali, is by California Chrome out of Peppers Pride, a New Mexico-bred daughter of Desert God who made history when she won all 19 of her races in New Mexico from 2005-08. Joel Marr, who trained Peppers Pride during the mare’s racing career, trains Cali for owners Teresa Marr and Michael Stinson.

Sunland Park’s 12-race program, which gets underway at 12:25 p.m. (MDT), also features three stakes for New Mexico-bred Thoroughbreds totaling $620,000 in purses. Both the 1 1/16-mile New Mexico Breeders’ Derby (R) for state-bred 3-year-olds, and the 1 1/16-mile New Mexico Breeders’ Oaks (R) will offer stakes-record purses of $250,000, up substantially from their previous purses of $100,000. In addition, the 1-mile & 70-yard New Mexico State University Handicap (R) will be worth a purse of $120,000.

This year’s New Mexico Breeders’ Derby has drawn a field of 10, headed by Jim Volk’s Jet Set Warrior, a homebred son of the Arch stallion Archwarrior trained by Joel Marr. Jet Set Warrior will be stretching out in distance off of his neck victory in the 1-mile, $100,000 Red Hedeman Mile Stakes (R) on February 27.

Jet Set Warrior drew post 5 and will be ridden by Miguel Fuentes Jr.

The state’s top 3-year-old Thoroughbred filly, Bella Dona (pictured), will put her four-race win streak on the line in the New Mexico Breeders’ Oaks. A homebred daughter of Attila’s Storm trained by Simon Buechler for owners Robert M. Driggers, Del Rae Driggers, and Ben Lee Ivey, Bella Dona is coming off of a 1 1/2-length win in the 1-mile, $100,000 Enchantress Stakes (R) on February 20.

Bella Dona has earned $375,068 and has won five stakes from eight races. The filly drew post 3 and will be ridden by Luis Fuentes.

Sunday’s New Mexico State University Handicap has drawn a full field of a dozen state-bred older runners, headed by Gallegos del Norte Racing’s Sea Emperor. A homebred 7-year-old son of the Empire Maker stallion Roman Emperor trained by Jose R. Gonzalez Jr., the dark bay or brown gelding has won his last three races, including the 1 1/16-mile, $100,000 Albert & Henry Dominguez Memorial Handicap (R) on February 27.

Sea Emperor drew the rail post and will be ridden by Luis Fuentes.

Sunland Park officials are expecting an on-track crowd of between 15,000-16,000, and track director of racing Dustin Dix is hopeful that more than $5 million will be wagered throughout the world on the 12-race program, which would mark a state and track single-day handle record.