02/20/2003 12:00AM

Derby nearly an all-Jones affair


Trainer Paul Jones will saddle seven of the 10 horses, including the six fastest qualifiers, in the Grade 1, $206,000 Los Alamitos Winter Derby on Saturday night at Los Alamitos.

Qualifying seven horses for a Grade 1 stakes is believed to be a Quarter Horse record.

Jones, the 2002 national champion trainer, won four of the five trials held on Feb. 8. Fastest qualifier Deefirst, voted the top 2-year-old colt at Los Alamitos in 2002, won his trial by 1 1/2 lengths in 19.615 seconds for the 400 yards. Last year, he was second in the Grade 1 Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association Breeders Futurity and third in the Grade 1 Golden State Futurity. The Jones-trained Lock to Load, a fast-closing fourth in the Los Alamitos Million, also qualified from that trial.

The other Jones trial winners were I Ought to be First, Red Hot Blitzer, and Stel Corona. The remaining Jones qualifiers are Dealadash and Sum Special Strawfly.

I Ought to be First won his second straight race in his trial. Red Hot Blitzer has been first or second in five of his last six starts. Stel Corona ran the fastest 300 yards by a 2-year-old (15.24 seconds) while winning the Huntington Harbor Handicap. Dealadash qualified for the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Million. Sum Special Strawfly was a close second in the Golden State Futurity.

"It really hasn't been that hard bringing seven up to this race," Jones said. "The thing that has made it easier is that we knew exactly when they would run next. That allowed us the time to plan, prepare, and take care of their individual needs."

Rematch of near dead heat

Mr Moon Policy and King Rick Rack, who finished a nose apart in the Juarez Handicap, share high weight of 125 pounds for their rematch in the Grade 3, $50,000 Budweiser Handicap for Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds at 1,000 yards Saturday at Sunland Park. The 10-horse field includes three Thoroughbreds, led by Pacer, who set a track record for six furlongs at Sunland in his last start.

Mr Moon Policy held on in the 870-yard Juarez Handicap to narrowly defeat 6-5 favorite King Rick Rack. It was the second win from two starts during the meet for the Roy Marcom-trained Mr Moon Policy.

King Rick Rack, owned by Lewis Allen and trained by Pat Swan, made his seasonal debut at Sunland Park in the Juarez. In his prior start, he was the odds-on favorite in the Grade 1, $200,000 Marathon National at Los Alamitos, but finished seventh.

Pacer, who will carry 122 pounds, rallied from off the pace Jan. 7 to win a six-furlong allowance race by a neck in 1:08.20, a track record. He will be flying late but will have less distance to work with in this race, which is approximately 4 1/2 furlongs.

Joiner has three fastest qualifiers

Trainer Michael Joiner will send out the three fastest qualifiers in the Grade 2, $108,672 Casino Cash Derby on Sunday afternoon at Sunland Park.

Heading the Joiner-trained threesome is fastest qualifier Exotic Garden. She won her trial by 2 1/2 lengths while covering the 350 yards in 17.731 seconds.

Last year, Exotic Garden qualified for the Grade 1 Ruidoso Futurity and the Grade 1 West Texas Futurity.

The other two Joiner-trained horses in the Casino Cash Derby are RG Special in Traffic and Latte Doodah.

* Jeff True has been named general manager at Los Alamitos Race Course, replacing Rick Henson, who said he wanted to spend more time with his family. True will retain his duties as marketing director.

* Dash for Speed, the 1990 world champion, was euthanized after failing to recover from colic surgery. The three-time champion won 22 of 30 starts and earned $1,225,337 for owners Bobby Blakeman and Tom Bradbury.