01/25/2008 1:00AM

Five of six from two trainers


Trainer Jon Arnett must feel a bit like John Edwards at the recent South Carolina Democratic Party debates - a third wheel.

That's because Sunday's $50,000 El Paso Times Handicap at Sunland Park basically comes down to trainer Henry Dominguez against trainer Steve Asmussen. The pair send out five of the six 3-year-old fillies going 6 1/2 furlongs.

Dominguez sends out a tough trio, headed by Southern California invader R Charlies Angel. A daughter of Indian Charlie, R Charlies Angel beat $62,500 claimers at Hollywood Park on Nov. 14 but then set the pace and faltered to fifth in the Blue Norther at Santa Anita on Dec. 30. The Blue Norther, however, was at a mile on the turf. This is surely a better surface and distance for her. Jorge Espitia rides.

Kuba a Noqua is 2 for 2 for Dominguez. She won her debut at Zia Park on Oct. 22 and then came to Sunland for a Dec. 15 allowance race. Slow away from the gate, she blasted home to win by three. Ken Tohill was up for both starts and keeps the mount.

The Dominguez triumvirate is completed by Snake Proof, and she's not just entered to fill out the field. Snake Proof debuted locally Dec. 15, pressed the pace, and then drew clear for a handy win. Tony Martinez was up that day and keeps the mount.

Asmussen counters with the talented Valid Lilly. She invades from Texas, where she won 4 of 7, including a couple of restricted stakes. She was most recently third in the Bara Lass at Sam Houston on Dec. 1. Valid Lilly can flat sizzle early and if she's ready off the layoff and handles these new surroundings she can be tough. Tim Thornton rides.

Miss Van Gogh gives Asmussen a second shot to win. A daughter of champion juvenile Vindication, Miss Van Gogh began her career at Woodbine in Canada.

She was a non-factor at Remington Park on Nov. 18 when 10th in the Cimarron, a turf race, but bounced back to be third locally behind Kuba a Noqua in a Dec. 15 optional claimer. Casey Lambert rides.

Arnett's filly Slew's Bet, unraced since running fifth in a stakes at Zia Park last October, completes the field.