11/12/2004 1:00AM

'Automatic' latest threat for sizzling Asmussen


Trainer Steve Asmussen, who has won with six of his last eight starters at Sunland Park, can pick up his second stakes win of this young meet on Sunday with Two Down Automatic.

Two Down Automatic is one of seven 3-year-olds in the $53,100 Sunland Park Fall Thoroughbred Derby. Others in the 6 1/2-furlong race include Go Kitty Go, winner of the $105,000 Borderland Derby in February, and Skip and Go, a 12 1/4-length winner of the Colorado Derby.

Two Down Automatic invades from Keeneland, where he was fifth to Commentator in a competitive running of the Perryville. Earlier this year, he was second, beaten three-quarters of a length by eventual Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones, in the Southwest at Oaklawn. Following the race, Two Down Automatic romped by more than five lengths in the Northern Spur Breeders' Cup on April 10.

Two Down Automatic, who will be ridden by leading jockey Ted Gondron, fits the same profile as Asmussen's other stakes winner at the meet. Coronado Rose had last raced at Keeneland prior to her victory in the Princess Handicap.

Asmussen, who tops the standings at Sunland, had won with 11 of 18 starters at the track through Thursday.

Go Kitty Go could be the chief threat. In his last start, he was second, beaten a neck, in a minor stakes at Ruidoso Downs. Prior to that race, Go Kitty Go won a 5 1/2-furlong allowance at Ruidoso in a sharp 1:03. He is trained by Mac Millar.

Two Down Automatic and Go Kitty Go should both be stalking Rockin the Ship.