03/26/2009 11:00PM

Baffert has solid Oaks pair


Trainer Bob Baffert has had a lot of nicknames through his career, but he may be known as the Desert Fox around these parts following Sunday's program at Sunland Park. Baffert blitzes into this arid region with not only two of the primary players in the $800,000 Sunland Derby but also the likely first and second choices in the $200,000 Sunland Oaks.

Century Park, winner of the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel over the Santa Anita synthetic surface, and Gabby's Golden Gal, a recent Santa Anita maiden winner and allowance runner-up, figure to dominate the betting in the 1 1/16-mile Oaks, one of four stakes races on the afternoon's undercard. Both will be making their first starts over dirt.

"They're two nice fillies," Baffert said from his Southern California base following Wednesday's draw. "It's a good pot, a chance to get on dirt, see if we're good enough to go on."

Garrett Gomez will handle the riding chores on Century Park, and Victor Espinoza will be on board Gabby's Golden Gal. All six of the fillies will carry 122 pounds.

Southern California trainer Doug O'Neill also is shooting for a Sunland Derby-Oaks double, with two in the derby and Hudler in the Oaks. A daughter of Ten Most Wanted, Hudler also graduated at Santa Anita this winter. Corey Nakatani will be in the saddle.

Henson Handicap: Nice Inheritance back

Nice Inheritance, the runner-up last year, will be the starting highweight in this year's edition of the $100,000 Harry Henson Handicap at 121 pounds. The Steve Asmussen charge will square off against seven rivals in the one-mile test for fillies and mares.

R Charlie's Angel, second in the Santa Teresa at Sunland in her last start, will be in receipt of two pounds from Nice Inheritance. An Indian Charlie filly, R Charlie's Angel was third in last year's WinStar Oaks and has displayed a genuine fondness for this oval.

New Mexico-breds eye big money

New Mexico-breds will have their chance to shine on the meeting's biggest day in the New Mexico Breeders' Oaks and New Mexico Breeders' Derby. Both $100,000 races will be limited to 10 starters.

Lefty Who, a nose away from a perfect 6-for-6 career mark, heads up the Breeders' Derby field, while Winter Mist could be a slight favorite in the Breeders' Oaks.