04/03/2003 12:00AM

Asmussen strong in pair of stakes

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SUNLAND PARK, N.M. - The final weekend of the Sunland Park meet gets under way Saturday with two $100,000-added races which could be billed as "Steve Asmussen vs. the California invaders."

The 1 1/8-mile Sunland Park Handicap has drawn a field of eight, including Truly a Judge, the morning-line favorite. Second in the Tokyo City Handicap at Santa Anita most recently for trainer David Bernstein, Truly a Judge will shoulder co-highweight of 120 pounds. Octavio Vergara will be in for the mount.

Trainer Nick Canani won last week's WinStar Sunland Park Oaks with Island Fashion and is back for this race with Night Patrol, winner of the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile last October but off the board in four subsequent starts. Canani has picked this spot to try Night Patrol on the dirt. Ignacio Puglisi rides at 120 pounds.

Asmussen saddles 2001 Louisiana Derby winner Fifty Stars, who has yet to regain his best form in four starts following a ninth-place finish in that year's Kentucky Derby and a subsequent 1 1/2-year layoff, and Tee Cat, winner of the Curribot Handicap here in February.

Tim Doocy will be aboard Fifty Stars and Casey Lambert has the call on Tee Cat.

Sister Girl Blues has past class

Sister Girl Blues is the horse to beat in Saturday's $100,000-added Harry Henson at a mile, even though she hasn't won since May. She won her first race, on turf at Bay Meadows, then was second in the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks. She was sent to Belmont Park for the Coaching Club American Oaks last July and finished a tired seventh.

She was off until March 21, when she ran in an allowance on the Santa Anita turf. She raced in early striking position but weakened and finished seventh. She was beaten only 2 1/2 lengths in that race and could be poised for an improved effort here for trainer Terry Knight.

Asmussen will send out Cielo Girl, a five-length winner of the Santa Teresa here in her last race. Cielo Girl is a closing sprinter who will be taking on a new task going two turns. Lonnie Meche rides.

Asheville, Asmussen's other entrant, won a one-mile allowance race here in her last start March 4. She is a proven route mare who has speed. Casey Lambert has the call.

Slam Bam faces Quarter Horses

Two Thoroughbreds will take on six Quarter Horses in the $50,000-added Getaway Handicap at 870 yards. Once again, Asmussen has a strong hand with Slam Bam, who will break from the rail under Lonnie Meche.

Local Quarter Horse Ill Do the Job merits serious consideration off a 5 1/2-length win in his first try at 870 yards.

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