02/24/2006 12:00AM

Borderland Derby draws threats from both coasts

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Eugene O'Neill / Coady Photography
Riley Allison winner Disappearing Trick makes his first start at 3 Sunday.

They're coming at local hotshot 3-year-old Disappearing Trick from both sides. The winner of the Riley Allison Futurity on Dec. 31, carries the main local hopes in Sunland Park's $100,000 Borderland Derby on Sunday, but from the East comes Doctor Decherd and from the West comes Plagiarist.

Ten 3-year-olds are entered in the 1 1/16-mile Borderland Derby, which serves as a key prep for the $600,000 WinStar Derby on April 1. Any horse who sweeps the Borderland, WinStar, and Kentucky derbies will receive a $500,000 bonus.

Favoritism figures to fall to Doctor Decherd, who ships in from Gulfstream as a proven commodity. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Doctor Decherd stalked the pace and held on by a nose to win the Aventura Stakes at Gulfstream on Jan. 7. He came back in the Grade 3 Holy Bull in the slop, a race that at 1 1/8 miles was a furlong longer than the one-mile Aventura. Doctor Decherd set the pace under pressure, and faded in the lane to end up sixth, more than eight lengths behind the unbeaten winner Barbaro.

doesn't face anyone like Barbaro in the Borderland Derby. Shaun Bridgmohan, his regular rider, comes in for the ride. Asmussen has won two of the previous five Borderland Derbies.

, trained by Doug O'Neill, doesn't have the resume of Doctor Decherd but has hinted at vast potential. Plagiarist debuted in a sprint at Hollywood Park on Dec. 17 and went wire to wire, winning by more than eight lengths and registering a 104 Beyer Speed Figure. He came back in the Sunshine Millions Dash on Jan. 28, but broke slowly and ended up last of eight behind the dazzling sprinter Da Stoops.

New to the equation for Plagiarist is the Borderland Derby distance and shipping away from Southern California. Kent Desormeaux comes in for the ride. O'Neill hasn't won the Borderland but has won two of the three WinStar Derbies.

Disappearing Trick looks to keep the money at home for trainer Henry Dominguez. A son of Horse of the Year Favorite Trick, Disappearing Trick romped in his debut at Zia Park on Nov. 5, but then could only rally for second behind Forrest G. in an allowance race at Sunland Dec. 13.

Disappearing Trick came back in the Riley Allison and won by almost two lengths over Forrest G. He hasn't run since, and Sunday's race marks his first try beyond the 6 1/2 furlongs of the Riley Allison.

Disappearing Trick boasts a bullet five-furlong work on Feb. 12 of 1:01.20, but the opposition and new distance make this a tall order. Leading rider Ken Tohill, who has been aboard Disappearing Trick for all three career starts, keeps the call.