04/08/2008 11:00PM

Farias holds hot hand in dual derbies


Trainer Adan Farias has the fastest qualifier, Fighter on Fire, for Friday's Grade 2, $185,700 El Primero Del Ano Derby and the second-fastest qualifier, My Lady First, to Saturday's Grade 2, $245,000 La Primera Del Ano Derby on Saturday at Los Alamitos.

The El Primero Derby is for colts and geldings, while the La Primera Derby is for fillies.

If Fighter on Fire acts like a professional in the gate, he is the horse to beat in the El Primero after dominating the three trials with a 1 1/2-length win over second-fastest qualifier Ought to Be Rapid. He raced the 400 yards in 19.510 seconds, while Ought to be Rapid was timed in 19.720 seconds.

Fighter on Fire was scratched from the Los Alamitos Two Million after misbehaving in the gate, then finished seventh as the 3-2 favorite in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby after throwing his head at the start. Prior to those stakes he was second by a nose in the Grade 1 Golden State Million.

Trainer Paul Jones has four entrants in the El Primero Derby, led by third-fastest qualifier Kite Flyin. He came off a nonwinners-of-two allowance victory to win his El Primero Derby trial.

In the La Primera Derby, My Lady First has a class edge while Forgive Him is the fastest qualifier.

My Lady First has qualified for three Grade 1 races at Los Alamitos and her best effort was a third in the Los Alamitos Winter Derby two starts ago. She then won her La Primera Derby trial with the second-fastest time of 19.650 seconds for 400 yards.

Forgive Him produced a career-best effort in topping the La Primera Derby qualifiers with a 19.610-second clocking. The derby will be her stakes debut.

Jones also has four fillies in the La Primera Derby, led by Rainbow Futurity qualifier Keep Themusicplaying.

Wood foursome at Sunland

Trainer Blane Wood has four horses in the $342,538 New Mexican Spring Futurity for New Mexico-breds on Sunday afternoon at Sunland Park. But the Ralph Muniz-trained Match This Miracle has the fastest qualifying time.

Wood won four of the 10 trials with his four qualifiers - Southern Passer, Makeminecaine, Victoria Hotpants, and Hearts Runaway. Southern Passer is 2 for 2 while the other three qualifiers won their career debuts in the trials.

Match This Miracle topped the 10 trials when she drew out to a three-length win in 15.004 seconds for the 300 yards. She won her maiden at first asking at Sunland Park on March 7.

Heavenly Trip in Challenge

Heavenly Trip, on the board in her last nine starts, returns from a close second-place finish in the Grade 2 West Texas Maturity to head the Grade 1, $110,000 Bank of America New Mexico Challenge on Sunday at Sunland Park.

The consistent 4-year-old is the top female in her division at Sunland Park, thanks to her win in the Gradeo2 Sunland Winter Derby and her second, beaten by a nose, in the West Texas Maturity. She won the derby by a length by drawing out in the final 100 yards of the 400-yard test, so the 440 yards of the New Mexico Challenge should suit her well.

One of her challengers, Run Perry Run, has been among the best of his generation for his two seasons in New Mexico. At 2, he won the Hobbs America Futurity and last year at 3 he won his All American Derby trial and finished eighth in the derby.

Juvenile stars returning

Reigning All American Futurity winner Heartswideopen and Rainbow Futurity winner Wild Six are scheduled return to racing at Ruidoso Downs this summer.

Trainer Carl Draper has Heartswideopen in training at Sunland Park, while Wild Six is expected to return to training in the Wes Giles barn in the near future after being bred.

Javier and Manny's Rodriguez's Heartswideopen had her first serious workout on April 3 at Sunland Park, covering 220 yards in 11.75 under exercise rider Jed Vane.

"We worked her with a good horse, and he was all out in 11.88 and she did it easy," said Draper. "I just wanted to start tightening her body and I got just what I wanted."

She could make her 2008 debut in the Ruidoso Derby trials on May 24.

Last summer at Ruidoso Downs, Heartswideopen won the Grade 1, $500,000 Ruidoso Futurity in stakes-record time of 17.08 for 350 yards and won the Grade 1, $1.9 million All American Futurity by a neck to earn $1 million. She was named the 2007 champion 2-year-old and the 2007 champion 2-year-old filly.

Wild Six has been bred this spring and recipient mares are carrying two foals sired by Corona Cartel, who was the leading sire last year by money earned. Wild Six has also been bred to two-time champion FDD Dynasty, but those recipient mares have yet to be pronounced in foal.

Wild Six could make her first appearance at Ruidoso Downs in the Rainbow Dderby trials on July 4.

"If she doesn't make the Rainbow Derby, then we'll point at the All American Derby," said co-owner Lincoln Sherwood. "We'll let her tell us when she's ready to run."