08/23/2005 11:00PM

Cut the Snow meets Snowbound Sapphire at Los Al


Fastest qualifier Cut the Snow and the undefeated Snowbound Sapphire meet in the Grade 3, $46,350 Ford California Juvenile Challenge as part of a stakes doubleheader Friday night at Los Alamitos.

Also on Friday night, Grade 1 Charger Bar Handicap winner Mini Rock will be favored to gain her fourth straight stakes win in the Grade 3, $22,680 John Deere California Distaff Challenge.

The winners of each of these stakes will qualify for their respective races on Challenge Championship night at Los Alamitos on Nov. 5.

Cut the Snow found his winning form in his Ford California Juvenile Challenge trial, when he drew out to a 1 1/2-length win in 17.675 seconds, the quickest time from four trials. He had trouble in each of his first four starts before the Ford trials, but managed three runner-up finishes.

Snowbound Sapphire has been a game winner of each of her two starts. She was bumped at the start of her career debut and rallied on the inside rail to win by a nose. She returned in the Ford trials and had another rough start, but scored a half-length win in 17.810 seconds.

In the California Distaff Challenge, Mini Rock will try to continue her run toward a possible title as champion aged mare. The 6-year-old mare is riding a three-stakes winning streak, including 2005 wins in the Charger Bar on Jan. 8 and the Grade 3 California Breeders Matron on July 30, her return to racing after a six-month layoff.

In her last 11 starts over the past two years, all distaff stakes at Los Alamitos, she has 5 wins, 4 seconds, and 2 thirds. Over her 30-race career she is 11-10-5 with $423,929 in earnings.

Lindas Dasher looks for Grade 1 win

Fastest qualifier Lindas Dasher, second in four Grade 1 stakes, tries for her elusive Grade 1 victory in the $150,000 Golden State Derby on Saturday night at Los Alamitos.

Last year, Lindas Dasher was the runner-up in three Grade 1 futurities - the Governor's Cup Futurity, Ed Burke Million, and PCQHRA Breeders Futurity at Los Alamitos. This year she was second in the Grade 1 Governor's Cup Derby two starts ago.

Lindas Dasher has been busy in four starts since returning from a six-month layoff on June 10, including a win in the Huntington Beach Handicap and her second-place finish in the Governor's Cup Derby. In her most recent effort she won her 400-yard Golden State Derby trial in the fastest time of 19.585 seconds.

"I kept a pretty tight hold on her," jockey Cody Jenson said of the trial win. "She'll be running four races in eight weeks, so I didn't want to push her too hard."

Jensen, who was riding the filly for the first time, didn't need to push her, since the two trials contained only 16 horses and the 10 fastest qualifiers reached the finals.

Sam Thompson, who had been riding Lindas Dasher, opted to ride odds-on trial favorite Dasha Freda, who was coming off a win in the Grade 3 Bayer Legend California Derby Challenge Championship. Dasha Freda finished third in the trial and qualified for the Golden State Derby with the third-fastest qualifying time of 19.665 seconds.