11/10/2005 12:00AM

End is near for Ocean Runaway

Ty Wyant
Ocean Runaway, shown in a recent gallop at Los Alamitos, runs in Saturday's Los Alamitos Super Derby, and may finish his career in the Champion of Champions on Dec. 10.

Ocean Runaway's championship career nears its final run when he starts as the prohibitive favorite in the Grade 1, $637,100 Los Alamitos Super Derby on Saturday night.

The winner of the Los Alamitos Super Derby qualifies for the Grade 1, $500,000 Champion of Champions on Dec. 10 at Los Alamitos. If Ocean Runaway wins the derby, he will make his final start in the Champion of Champions. If he does not win the derby, then he may start in the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors trials on Nov. 19. All remaining Champion of Champions berths will be filled by the horses with the fastest times in the Directors trials.

Regardless of the race itinerary, Ocean Runaway will be concluding his career in the next month before entering the stud next year at the 6666 Ranch in Guthrie, Texas. A son of all-time leading sire First Down Dash, Ocean Runaway has been syndicated for breeding.

"It's bittersweet," said trainer Denny Ekins. "It's not something you look forward to. He's extremely special. He's had a great career and I'm elated to have had him."

Ekins masterfully guided the career of Ocean Runaway, who comes into the Super Derby with eight straight wins at Los Alamitos, including two $1 million futurities, three Grade 1 stakes, and one Grade 2 stakes.

Ocean Runaway was champion 2-year-old in 2004, when he won the Grade 1 Golden State Million and the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Million to become the first Quarter Horse to win two $1 million races. This year, Ocean Runaway continued his dominance at Los Alamitos with a win in the Grade 2 PCQHRA Breeders Derby, where he ran 400 yards in 19.38 seconds, and a win in his Los Alamitos Super Derby trial, where he topped all qualifiers by running 400 yards in 19.47.

The only blemishes on Ocean Runaway's record this year are seconds in his three starts at Ruidoso Downs, including the Grade 1 Rainbow Derby to divisional leader DM Shicago. DM Shicago arrived at Los Alamitos this week to prepare for the Champion of Champions.

Ocean Runaway will be a short-priced favorite in a deep field in the Los Alamitos Super Derby. Also entered are Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby winner One More Habit, Grade 1 Governor's Cup Derby winner Apollitical Time, Grade 2 El Primero Del Ano Derby winner Dutch Schultz, and Grade 1 Golden State Derby runner-up Jumpn.

Futurity weekend at Evangeline

There will be futurity races on consecutive nights this weekend at Evangeline Downs: Louisiana-breds will run in the Grade 1, $447,852 LQHBA Futurity on Saturday, and open horses will run in the $228,075 Harrah's Entertainment Futurity on Sunday night.

The LQHBA Futurity, the richest race in the 40-year history of Evangeline Downs, brings together fastest qualifier Streakin to Shine, Grade 1 LQHBA Sale Futurity winner Streakin Patriot, Grade 2 Mardi Gras Futurity winner Magic Shiney, and second-fast qualifier Shining Tee Pie, who has won 3 of 4 career starts.

The Harrah's Entertainment Futurity is led by fastest qualifier Miracle Streak, who has won 3 of his last 4 starts. He won his trial by 1 1/4 lengths in 20.194 seconds. The only setback in his last four starts was a fifth-place finish in the Grade 2 Firecracker Futurity against open company.