12/05/2001 12:00AM

'Chicks Charger' tries odd distance

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Chicks Charger Easy comes off a stakes win at 870 yards in the Truly a Pleasure Handicap to try the seldom-raced distance of 550 yards in the $25,000 Paul Ford Handicap for 3-year-olds at Los Alamitos on Friday night.

Chicks Charger Easy, owned by Frankie Wieland and trained by John Cooper, is undefeated in three starts since moving up from the high-priced claiming ranks to allowance and stakes company at 870 yards. He won two conditioned allowance races at the "marathon" distance for Quarter Horses before winning the Truly a Pleasure Handicap by 1 1/2 lengths as the 3-5 favorite.

Westmont, who was second to Chicks Charger Easy in the Truly a Pleasure, has a pair of stakes wins at 870 yards. He won the Hateful Hanna Handicap in May and the Calyx Handicap in September.

Miss Curley Lite will make her stakes and 550-yard debut in the Ford. She won six straight claiming races before finishing second in an allowance race, her most recent effort.

Rabbits Jet choice at Sunland

Zia Futurity winner Rabbits Jet ranks as the favorite to win the Grade 2, $183,538 Shue Fly Stakes for 2-year-old New Mexico-breds at Sunland Park on Sunday afternoon.

Rabbits Jet, owned by James Lewter and trained by Tim Cross, showed she is ready for the finals with a convincing half-length trial win with the fastest qualifying time of 19.34 seconds for the 400 yards. It was the fifth win from eight career starts for Rabbits Jet, a full sister to Grade 1 stakes winner Rabbits Rainbow.

Time for Aces raced to the second-fastest qualifying time of 19.405 seconds with a late-running neck win over third-fastest qualifier Chicks Goes Steppin. Time for Aces was second in the Grade 3 New Mexico Breeders Futurity.

Also on Sunday at Sunland, there will be a day-long seminar for prospective owners, limited to 30 people.

Money talks at Ruidoso Downs

The $4 million bonus announced by Ruidoso Downs management last summer to be paid to the owner of a horse who can win the Ruidoso, Rainbow, and All American futurities is paying dividends.

The bonus starts in 2002, and nominations to the 2002 runnings of the Ruidoso and Rainbow futurities recently closed with double-digit increases. The Ruidoso Futurity nominations were up 53 percent over last year's original nominations, and the Rainbow Futurity nominations were up by 43 percent.

These figures add up to an estimated purse for the 2002 Ruidoso Futurity of $650,000 and $800,000 for the Rainbow Futurity.

Nominations to the 2002 All American Futurity closed before the announcement of the $4 million bonus.