12/27/2007 1:00AM

Etoile de Dome challenges the boys

EmailThe filly Etoile de Dome will be taking on colts for the first time Saturday in the $125,000 Red Hedeman Handicap at Sunland Park, but she looks like a strong fit in the one-mile race for 2-year-olds bred in New Mexico.

For one, Etoile de Dome owns the field's highest career Beyer Speed Figure, an 88. She earned the number for a 5 1/2-length win in the $153,000 New Mexico Cup Juvenile Fillies at Zia Park on Nov. 11. Etoile de Dome has won at two turns, a feat achieved in a maiden special weight race at Remington Park on Oct. 12.

"It's been my experience watching the Red Hedeman Mile that the horse that has experience around two turns generally is in pretty good shape," said Chris Hartman, who trains Etoile de Dome for M Bar O LLC. "This filly's already proven she can go two turns. It's not an issue

for her."

Of the 12 horses entered in the Hedeman, just three have raced around two turns. Aside from Etoile de Dome, who has made three route starts in her career, Mgba Kissin Silver and Duke It Out Luke also are winners at two turns. Duke It Out Luke is on the also-eligible list for the Hedeman.

Etoile de Dome will break from post 2 in the field of 10, and she figures to be prominent, as she wired the field in her maiden score and raced just off the pace in the New Mexico Cup.

"She can go to the lead or lay right off of it," Hartman said.

Etoile de Dome, under regular rider Glen Murphy, will carry 118 pounds. Run Like Fire is the 122-pound highweight in the Hedeman. A winner of 5 of 6 starts, he will be making his two-turn debut Saturday. Run Like Fire comes into the Hedeman on the heels of an off-the-pace score in the $153,000 New Mexico Cup Colts and Geldings Juvenile at Zia on Nov. 11.

He earned a Beyer of 83 in the six-furlong race. Joe Martinez has the mount on Run Like Fire for trainer Michael Welch.