10/12/2004 11:00PM

Azoom sets sights on third Grade 1


Two-time Grade 1 futurity winner Azoom and Grade 1 Rainbow Futurity winner Thewayouwant-metoo drew side-by-side post positions in the 10th of 11 trials to the Grade 1 Texas Classic Futurity on Friday night at Sam Houston Race Park, a race that has an estimated purse of $1 million.

Azoom, starting from post 7, is the premier juvenile at Sam Houston Race Park, with victories as the odds-on favorite in his last two Grade 1 futurity appearances. He won the TQHA Sale Futurity over restricted company Aug. 14, and in his most recent race dominated open competition with a 2 1/4-length win in the Sam Houston Futurity.

Thewayouwantmetoo, in the 6 hole, won the $750,000 Rainbow Futurity at Ruidoso Downs over Hardly Hateful and eventual All American Futurity winner DM Shicago. Her time of 19.20 seconds for 400 yards-the distance of the Texas Classic trials-over a sloppy track set a stakes record. She then won her All American Futurity trial over Grade 1 Governor's Cup Futurity winner Ocean Runaway, but her time was not fast enough to qualify for the finals.

On Saturday night, 2003 Texas Classic Futurity winner Mitowilard starts in the six trials to the Grade 1 Texas Classic Derby. He is returning to Sam Houston after making three starts this summer at Ruidoso Downs, including a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Rainbow Derby.

The Down Side is back

Champion of Champions winner The Down Side returns from a 10-month layoff to challenge defending champion Catchmeinyourdreams in the Grade 1, $200,000 Los Alamitos Championship at 440 yards on Saturday night.

The Down Side is making his first start since winning the Grade 1, $500,000 Champion of Champions on Dec. 13, 2003. In the Champion of Champions, The Down Side defeated Catchmeinyourdreams by racing the 440 yards in 21.19 seconds, the fastest nighttime clocking ever at Los Alamitos. Dash for Cash's track record of 21.17 seconds was set in the afternoon in the 1976 Champion of Champions.

In the 2003 Los Alamitos Championship, Catchmeinyourdreams won by three-quarters of a length over Chicks First Policy in 21.44 seconds for the 440 yards. Catchmeinyourdreams won the Grade 1 Go Man Go Invitational Handicap in his most recent start on Sept. 11. A 5-year-old gelding, Catchmeinyourdreams rolled to a one-length victory over Whosleavingwho, who also starts in the Los Alamitos Championship.

Stars Snowbound in tough test

Stars Snowbound, a 3-year-old filly, will face older male rivals when she goes for her sixth straight win in the Grade 2, $79,470 MBNA America West/Southwest Challenge on Sunday at Turf Paradise.

Stars Snowbound comes off a 440-yard trial win in 21.498 seconds, also against older male rivals. The time equaled the fastest qualifying time of Snow Skier, the fifth-place finisher in the 2003 Grade 1 Rainbow Derby.

Snow Big Deal, winner of the 2003 Grade 1 All American Derby, reached the Challenge finals after finishing third behind Snow Skier in their trial.

Also on Sunday, Sheza Jo Baby Jo stands out in the Grade 3, $44,730 Ford West/Southwest Challenge for 2-year-olds. She has won 5 of 6 career starts, including the Grade 3 Diamond Classic Futurity. She won her Ford trial with the fastest time of 17.687 seconds for the 350 yards.