10/01/2008 12:00AM

Ancient Ruler seeks double


Ancient Ruler, winner of last year's Grade 1 Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association Breeders Futurity, could be ready to complete a futurity-derby double in Friday night's Grade 2, $180,000 PCQHRA Breeders Derby at Los Alamitos.

Ancient Ruler returned from a nine-month layoff for the Breeders Derby trials and closed well from an inside post position for a third-place finish, only a head behind the winner, the second-fastest qualifier Masters Call. Ancient Ruler figures to improve for the derby after the noteworthy trial effort.

Ancient Ruler won the 2007 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity and then finished fifth in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Two Million at 5-2 odds after a troubled trip.

Checker has a history of troubled efforts, but came through with the perfect trial performance to lead the qualifiers with a 19.485-second time, impressing by drawing out to a 1 3/4-length win. He won the Bitterroot Derby in Idaho and then was sixth in the Grade 1 Governor's Cup Derby at Los Alamitos.

Eye for Corona looks to find her juvenile form after a second-place trial effort and a third-place finish in her two 2008 starts. Last fall, she made a bid for championship honors when she narrowly won the Grade 1, $1 million Golden State Million and finished second by a head in the Los Alamitos Two Million.

Hard Hitting the standout in futurity

Hard Hitting should be the solid choice to score his fourth straight win and second Grade 1 futurity win in the $500,000 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity on Saturday night at Los Alamitos.

The Chuck Treece-trained colt was the high-profile horse going into the Breeders Futurity trials and enhanced his reputation when he rolled to a 1 3/4-length trial win with the fastest qualifying time of 17.295 seconds for the 350 yards. That is the fastest qualifying time by the equivalent of three-quarters of a length over second-fastest qualifier Sixish, who has placed in two Grade 1 futurities.

The trial win came over Rieda Hay Worth, who was third in the Grade 1, $1 million Ed Burke Million and qualified for the Breeders Futurity with the 10th-fastest time.

Sixish has been very productive for trainer Jaime Gomez, with 3 wins and 2 Grade 1 seconds from 5 starts. He was second by a nose behind Revv It Up in the Kindergarten and second by a length behind Foose, considered the top juvenile at Los Alamitos, in the Ed Burke Million. Each of his wins came in trial races for Grade 1 futurities.

Sixish overcame a bumping incident at the start of his Breeders Futurity trial and rallied to win by three-quarters of a length in 17.400 seconds.

Ketel Won heads Refrigerator

Champion Ketel Won tries for a berth in the Grade 1, $1 million Champion of Champions when he starts in the Grade 1, $100,000 Refrigerator Handicap at 440 yards Saturday at Lone Star Park.

The winner of the Refrigerator Handicap receives a berth in the Champion of Champions on Dec. 13 at Los Alamitos. Ketel Won was shipped to Lone Star Park from New Mexico last week, with the goal of securing the Champion of Champions invitation.

Ketel Won, the 2007 champion aged horse and champion aged stallion, was handed high weight of 126 pounds for the Refrigerator Handicap. In his only 2008 start, he thoroughly dominated the 440-yard All American Gold Cup at Ruidoso Downs by 1 1/2 lengths as the 3-5 favorite.

The strapping 5-year-old stallion secured his championship titles when he wrapped up his 2007 season with Grade 1 wins in the $175,000 Zia Park Championship and the $400,000 The Championship at Sunland Park.

Facing Ketel Won are two-time 2008 stakes winner AB Hope for Cash, Sam Houston Derby winner Easy Dashin Sixes, and Eyesa Country Miss, winner of her latest four starts, all against minor stakes company.