04/06/2005 12:00AM

Fast-closing Meteoric eyes breakthrough


Meteoric, coming off a close second in the Carmel Handicap, searches for his first Los Alamitos stakes win Friday when he is part of a deep and talented field in the Grade 3, $27,250 Kaweah Bar Handicap at 350 yards.

Meteoric closed strongly in the 350-yard Carmel on March 11, but came up a nose short of Pennants Chick, who is starting in the Miss Princess Handicap on Saturday night. While Meteoric has not won a stakes at Los Alamitos, he has strong Grade 1 credentials with seconds in the 2002 Los Alamitos Million and the 2004 Los Alamitos Winter Championship.

Joining Meteoric from the Paul Jones stable Friday is 2003 Rainbow Futurity winner Planet Holland, who comes off a troubled ninth in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Championship on Feb. 26. Last summer, he was second in the Grade 2 Ruidoso Derby and third in the Grade 1 Rainbow Derby. He will be coupled with Latest Version, coming off a sixth in the Winter Championship.

Not for Long is looking for his first 2005 victory after having won 4 of 7 starts in 2004 , including the Grade 1 Governor's Cup Derby and the Golden State Derby.

In Saturday's Grade 3, $35,000 Miss Princess Handicap for females, Pennants Chick carries 125 pounds while searching for her fourth straight win. She easily won two allowance races before holding off Meteoric in the Carmel.

Make It Work is making her first start since finishing third, beaten a neck, in the Grade 1 Southern California Derby on Dec. 12. While still eligible for a nonwinners-of-two allowance race, she also has a second in the Grade 2 La Primera Del Ano Derby and a third in the Grade 1 Golden State Derby.

Willis positioned for big day

Leading trainer Eddie Willis could score a stakes triple on Saturday night at Remington Park, with two horses in the Grade 3, $25,000 Eastex Handicap, and the dominant fastest qualifiers in the $147,000 Lazy E Futurity and the $91,000 Lazy E Derby.

Through last weekend, Willis had 10 victories from 36 starters, a win rate of 28 percent.

Willis will saddle Best Advice and Twelves Gentleman in the Eastex. Best Advice is making his 2005 debut after having won the Kansas Derby, finishing second in the Heritage Place Derby, and running a close third in the Lazy E Derby in 2004. Twelves Gentleman, winner of the 2003 Fair Meadows Maturity, comes off a sixth-place finish as the 9-5 favorite in a Sunland Park allowance race.

The Willis-trained Runaway Suspect became the horse to beat in the Lazy E Futurity when he won the third of five trials by 1 3/4 lengths in 17.872 seconds for the 350 yards. The next-fastest qualifier, trial winner Going to the Hague, was timed in 17.96.

Kansas Futurity winner Corona on Tap, winner of 5 of 7 starts, won the third of three trials to the $91,000 Lazy E Derby in 19.922 seconds for 400 yards. He won by 1 1/2 lengths over second-fastest qualifier Conner Can, winner of the 2004 Lazy E Futurity.

The Lazy E Futurity and Lazy E Derby, whose finalists were determined in March 19 trials, are restricted to the offspring of stallions standing at Lazy E Ranch.