11/21/2002 12:00AM

Abajo looks the class of KLAQ


SUNLAND PARK, N.M. - Saturday's $50,000-added KLAQ Handicap at Sunland offers what most bettors are looking for: a large and competitive field. Twelve are entered for the 5 1/2-furlong race.

One horse that immediately catches the eye is Abajo. Abajo's last two races have been subpar, but he has by far the highest earnings in the field, almost $600,000, and has been facing top competition all his career. Garrett Gomez will ride for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Reflecting Colors comes off a six-month layoff but has been working bullets for trainer Henry Dominguez. Reflecting Colors has only six career starts, all in New Mexico, but has won four of those, lost his rider once, and finished second in the other, a two-turn stakes. It would be no surprise if Reflecting Colors emerges as the top sprinter here this winter. Jorge Bourdieu will ride.

Another horse to consider is American Pastime, who was claimed for $50,000 last out at Santa Anita by trainer Todd Fincher. American Pastime can go to the front or stalk from just off the pace, giving jockey Ricardo Jaime the luxury of going with the flow of the race.

The KLAQ will be run as the 10th of 11 races on the card, which starts at 12:15 Mountain.