11/23/2001 1:00AM

Brooks tries for fourth Black Gold Futurity


Leading trainer Rex Brooks has three chances to win his fourth $75,000 Black Gold Futurity Championship at Blue Ribbon Downs in Sallisaw, Okla., on Sunday. The 400-yard race is the final leg of a restricted series of stakes for 2-year-olds that is run all year at Blue Ribbon.

Sir Diligent, a two-time stakes winner trained by Brooks, is the probable favorite for the Championship. In addition to winning the 300-yard leg of the Black Gold Futurity series May 27, Sir Diligent set the fastest qualifying time for the Championship on Nov. 10, when he won a 400-yard trial in 20.19 seconds. Debbie Freeman has the mount Sunday.

Last year, Brooks and Sir Diligent's owner, David Reeder, teamed to win the Championship with Dr. Fortune.

The chief threat to Sir Diligent could be his own stakes-winning stablemate Rare Cat Man, whom Brooks trains for Charles E. Gray. Rare Cat Man was the second-fastest qualifier for the Championship when he won his 400-yard trial in 20.25. He is to be ridden by Denise Lambeth.

J.R. Hobbie has the the mount on the final Brooks starter, eighth-fastest qualifier Beadacolour, who races for Larry Steele.

Brooks's horses will start as separate betting interests. Brooks is looking for his fourth consecutive training title at Blue Ribbon. The meet runs through Dec. 9.