03/15/2007 12:00AM

Artesian horse for this course


Take Artesian away from Sunland Park and he's just another horse. Lead the 6-year-old gelding to Sunland, however, and he thinks he's a world-beater. That love of a track will be tested as Artesian is part of a tough field in the $50,000 Bill Thomas Memorial Handicap. The 6o1/2-furlong event, for 3-year-olds and upward, lured 11.

Artesian, owned by David and Holly Wilson and trained by Bart Hone, is simply a different horse here. He's 5 for 10 overall - and all five of those wins have come at Sunland, in just six starts.

He dueled for the lead and gamely prevailed at a hefty 23-1 over many of these same rivals in the Feb. 10 Budweiser Handicap here. He then went to Turf Paradise for the $100,000 Phoenix Gold Cup but was never in the race, finishing last of 10. He's back to the track he thinks he owns and worked a half-mile here on Sunday in 49 seconds, breezing, to signal he's happy to be back home. Mark Villa rides.

All Man comes off an allowance win here Feb. 4. Trained by Henry Dominguez, All Man prompted the pace and drew off to win by five while under wraps. He won his maiden in a turf sprint at Santa Anita Jan. 6. Another forward move makes him awfully scary here.

All Man posted a bullet five-furlong breeze in 1:00 here Sunday. Alfredo Juarez Jr., up for that big allowance win, has the call again.

Proven classy sprinters help fill the lineup, including Diligent Prospect, a stakes winner here in December and among the top sprinters at Turf Paradise this season. Any Questions was second to Artesian in the Budweiser and came back March 4 to win an allowance sprint. Cee's the Point tries to recapture his strong fall form after a few months off for hot trainer Chris Hartman. Ducky Drake is a proven commodity against this caliber, and Reigning Court, the 122-pound highweight, looks to bounce back after finishing fourth behind Artesian in the Budweiser as the 8-5 favorite.