Updated on 09/16/2011 8:04AM

Asmussen in town - not for the sunshine

Trainer Steve Asmussen will saddle his fourth starter of the Sunland Park meet Sunday with Forty Nine Deeds in the Riley Allison Derby.

SUNLAND PARK, N.M. - Steve Asmussen, America's leading trainer by number of wins, rarely loses when he sends one of his runners to Sunland. He has his sights set on Sunday's $75,000-added, 1 1/16-mile with Forty Nine Deeds.

Owned by Asmussen's father, Keith, Forty Nine Deeds is an improving colt who spent the winter running at the Fair Grounds, and the Allison looks like a perfect step up for him.

Forty Nine Deeds won his maiden at a mile at first asking in November, then ran third in three straight starts before taking a nonwinners-other-than last out, on March 21 at a mile and 40 yards. Forty Nine Deeds has a late-running style, and the extra distance will be to his benefit. Donnie Meche will travel in for the mount.

Multiple stakes-winning New Mexico-bred Star Smasher is the top local contender, based on his form. Two starts back, Star Smasher won the $100,000 Pepsi-Cola Handicap for 3-year-old statebreds, running six furlongs in 1:09.56. Last time out, however, he finished second at 6-5 in the one-mile Borderland Derby, his first try around two turns.

In that race, Star Smasher stalked the pace comfortably, and threatened in midstretch, but flattened out in the final furlong. Obviously, the question for Star Smasher and his trainer, Johnie Jamison, is will he improve off his first attempt at a route, or will he prove to be strictly a sprinter?

The Allison will be a crucial race for Star Smasher and his connections as the summer season and its many 3-year-old stakes approaches.

The field for the Allison, from the rail out, with riders, is:

Alvis (Travis Wales), Mon Ouimet (Daryl Montoya), Army General (Perry Whetstone), Forty Nine Deeds (Meche), At a Boy Luther (Jorge Bourdieu), and Star Smasher (Miguel Fuentes).