12/12/2003 12:00AM

Ciento in position to repeat


SUNLAND PARK, N.M. - Defending champion Ciento is sure to be favored in the second running of the $125,000 Johnie L. Jamison Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs Sunday at Sunland Park. The race will pit Ciento, 5, against his peers, plus a group of 3-year-olds looking to make a name for themselves against older runners.

Ciento will break from post 12 and carry top weight of 124 pounds, conceding nine to 11 pounds to his foes. Ciento has won six of his last eight races, with both losses coming to the now-retired Star Smasher, and he stands atop the New Mexico-bred hill until someone proves better.

On Sept. 6, Ciento won the E. T. Springer Handicap at Albuquerque, then took a break until the big-money Sunland meet opened. He won a classified allowance here by a neck over 3-year-old Quote This on Nov. 28, going six furlongs in 1:09.05. Ciento's stalking style keeps him in good position and invulnerable to heated speed duels, and the outside draw in Sunday's race should make no difference. Sal Gonzalez Jr. rides for trainer Dick Cappellucci.

Quote This is a wild card in the Jamison. As a 2-year-old, Quote This won the Rio Grande Futurity at Ruidoso by nearly nine lengths, then did not run again for 16 months, until Nov. 28, when he led Ciento past the sixteenth pole. Trained by Dooley Guinn, Quote This stands ready to make up for lost time and the Jamison could be his coming-out party. Ricardo Jaime will make up most of the 117-pound weight assignment.

Hesa Bad Cat is another 3-year-old stepping out in the Jamison. Trained by Cal Martin and owned by Martin's wife, Marjorie, Hesa Bad Cat comes off a 7 1/2-length win over his peers in the Dine S at Sun Ray Park on Nov. 23.

He blew out five furlongs in 59.80 seconds here on Dec 7. He is assigned 118 pounds, and Chris Zamora will be in the saddle.