05/03/2005 11:00PM

First Comment returns to favorite track - Delta


First Comment, winner of the 2004 East Juvenile Challenge, heads the first of two trials to the Grade 3 Bayer Legend East Derby Challenge on Friday night at Delta Downs.

The horses with the 10 fastest times from Friday's trials qualify for the finals on May 22, part of MBNA East Challenge Night with five Challenge stakes races.

First Comment has won four of his last six starts, including his only two career starts at Delta Downs. In his two starts at the Louisiana track, both last summer, he won his trial to the East Juvenile Challenge and then returned to take the finals as a 15-1 longshot. He won by a half-length for his only career stakes win.

That victory in the East Juvenile Challenge earned First Comment a berth in the Grade 1 Juvenile Challenge Championship. In that 400-yard race, he finished third, three-quarters of a length behind winner Dash on a Mission and a nose behind runner-up Eye Yin You, winner of the Grade 1 Remington Park Futurity.

This year, First Comment won his Longhorn Derby trial at Manor Downs and was a troubled seventh in the Grade 3 finals, his most recent start, on March 20.

In the second Bayer Legend Derby trial, Lazy E Derby runner-up Chocolate Cartel meets Sam Houston Futurity third-place finisher Dirty But First.

Chocolate Cartel is coming off his two most productive races, a second in his Lazy E Derby trial and a third in the finals as a19-1 outsider.

Dirty But First returned from a five-month layoff on April 17 to run third in the Sophomore Stakes at Delta.

Trials for the Grade 2 MBNA America East Challenge Championship were scheduled for Friday at Delta Downs, but were not required because only 10 horses entered the trials. All will be eligible for the May 22 finals.

The group is led by Vals Fortune, winner of 10 stakes and 17 races from 19 starts in restricted races while earning $971,859. He will make his first start against open company in the East Challenge Championship.

Bullions N Garters seeks eighth straight

Bullions N Garters, winner of 10 of 13 lifetime starts, faces Oklahoma-breds when she goes for her eighth straight victory in the $100,000 Sooner State Stakes on Saturday at Remington Park.

The 4-year-old Bullions N Garters has not been beaten since the final race of her 2-year-old season, a third in the Kansas Futurity at the Woodlands. Last year, she was unbeaten in six starts, with wins in the Oklahoma Horseman's Derby and the Altoona Derby.

Bullions N Garters returned from a seven-month layoff on April 16 at Remington with a dominating 1 1/4-length victory in the Red Earth Handicap as a 7-5 favorite.

Redman Running is making his first start in six months in the Sooner State. He has won 3 of 6 starts at Remington, including the 2003 Grade 1 Remington Park Futurity, and was a close second in the 2004 Remington Park Derby.

Country Chicks Man comes off a 17-1 upset win in the Eastex Handicap on April 9.