First, it was Mine That Bird's miracle win at the 2009 Kentucky Derby. That one race launched the Sunland Derby into graded status for the first time in the race's history. Today's shocking win by Ruler On Ice at the Belmont Stakes gives another huge push to Sunland Park Racetrack. Ruler On Ice finished third in this year's Sunland Derby, in what was originally considered a less than stellar field. Now, it looks like Sunland's biggest race of their season might get bumped up to a Grade 2 status by horse racing's Grading Committee. 

Consider that two of thetop three horses in the Sunland Derby field finished in the money for this year's Triple Crown. Astrology came in 3rd at the Preakness Stakes and Ruler On Ice finished in the winner's circle at Belmont. Even Twice the Appeal, this year's Sunland Derby winner finished 10th out of 19 horses at the Kentucky Derby. 

One other note...Plum Pretty, winner of the Sunland Oaks, held on to win the prestigious Kentucky Oaks. The race is run at Churchill Downs one day before the Kentucky Derby. Plum Pretty's victory on May 6th  should allow Sunland Park's second signature race to become a Grade 3.