10/26/2004 11:00PM

Azoom seems unstoppable


Azoom will be a strong favorite to win his sixth straight race and his third Grade 1 futurity in the $1 million Texas Classic Futurity at Sam Houston Race Park on Friday evening.

The Texas Classic Futurity tops a big weekend at Sam Houston that includes the Grade 1, $100,000-added Texas Classic Derby on Saturday night. Both the Futurity and derby are usually run at Lone Star Park but this year were moved because the track is the site of this weekend's Breeders' Cup.

A winner of 10 of 12 career starts, Azoom showed no signs of tiring from a long 2-year-old campaign in the Texas Classic trials on Oct. 15, when he raced 400 yards in 19.865 seconds for the fastest qualifying time from 11 trials. It was the fourth time that he was the fastest qualifier for a futurity at Sam Houston. He was also the fastest qualifier to the TQHA Sires Futurity, TQHA Futurity, and the Sam Houston Futurity. He raced to daylight wins in the Grade 1 TQHA Futurity and the Grade 1 Sam Houston Futurity, and was the second-place finisher by a neck in the Sires Futurity.

"He's just a freak, I guess," said trainer Frank Cavazos after the Texas Classic trial win.

Azoom is eligible to compete in the Grade 1, $150,000 Ford Juvenile Challenge on Nov. 6 at Sam Houston and Cavazos said a decision will be made after the Texas Classic if the colt will return on one week's rest.

The leading contenders faced with the daunting task of beating Azoom are Bigtime Favorite, runner-up in the Sam Houston, and Scrutinizer, fourth in the Grade 1 Ruidoso Futurity.

Trainer Heath Taylor is set for the Grade 1, $367,874 Texas Classic Derby on Saturday night with three of the four fastest qualifiers.

Fastest qualifier Hadtobenuts has been in sharp form since returning from a short layoff on Aug. 20 at Ruidoso Downs. He won his All American Derby trial and then finished third in the Grade 1 derby and won his Texas Classic Derby trial with the fastest time of 21.676 seconds for the 440 yards.

Joining Hadtobenuts from the Taylor barn are Sixes Royal, fourth in the Grade 1 Rainbow Derby, and Fredericksburg, winner of the Bayer Legend East Derby Challenge.