03/01/2007 12:00AM

Familiar lineup in N.M. State 'Cap


Saturday's $125,000 New Mexico State University Handicap at Sunland Park is almost like reunion day. A dozen statebreds, most of whom have been knocking heads with each other for years now, will get reacquainted in the mile event.

Rocky Gulch, two-time defending New Mexico-bred horse of the year and the richest New Mexico-bred of all time with earnings of over $1 million, is in the field. Rocky Gulch, 6, returns after a couple months off, which came after two poor outings earlier this meet, and may not be the same horse for owner Larry Teague and trainer Terry Walker. Favoritism therefore may instead fall to Some Ghost.

Owned by Stan Fulton and trained by Jess Alley, the 6-year-old Some Ghost comes off a third-place finish in a 1 1/8-mile allowance race at Sunland on Feb. 6, when he was boxed in with nowhere to go during much of the race.

Some Ghost finished behind El Minuto and Midnite Prospector that day, and both are back in this contest. Before that he rallied to beat many of these in the 1 1/16-mile Alberto Dominguez Memorial, which he won for the second consecutive year here Jan. 7. Last year he finished second in this race, beaten a nose. Ricardo Jaime will ride.

Romeos Wilson, another who has had several battles with a number of these, comes off a layoff. Owned by Rita Danley and trained by Fred Danley, the 9-year-old Romeos Wilson rallied to win the Johnnie L. Jamison here Dec. 16, then was a nonthreatening third behind Some Ghost and El Minuto in the Dominguez here Jan. 7. He has worked well of late, and Adrian Ramos keeps the mount.

El Minuto certainly merits respect. After a seventh in the Jamison, he missed by a neck to Some Ghost in the Dominguez and then went wire to wire to beat many of these in a Sunland allowance race Feb. 6.

Trained by Henry Dominguez, El Minuto has speed, but is at a severe disadvantage breaking from post 12 with the short run to the first turn at this trip. Regular rider Ken Tohill will try to minimize the damage.