08/08/2006 11:00PM

Four stakes in two nights


Four MBNA America Racing Challenge stakes spread over two nights provide stakes doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday at Prairie Meadows.

On Friday, juveniles compete in the $56,970 Ford Central Juvenile Challenge, and fillies and mares race in the $30,060 John Deere Central Distaff Challenge.

On Saturday, older horses run in the $70,920 MBNA America Central Challenge, and 3-year-olds race in the $46,440 Bayer Legend Central Derby Challenge.

Trainer Ed Hardy could win both stakes on Friday night, with First Class Smarty, the fastest qualifier to the Central Juvenile Challenge, and three qualifiers to the Central Distaff Challenge. First Class Smarty has won four straight races, including the Grade 3 Northlands Futurity, and set the fastest time of 17.501 seconds in the 350-yard Central Juvenile Challenge trials. The Hardy-trained trio in the Central Distaff Challenge is led by the top two qualifiers, CS Night Light and Threadbare Gypsysoul. Hardy also has eighth-fastest qualifier Cassandra Crest. CS Night Light won her 400-yard trial in 19.857 seconds for the top time from two trials.

Saturday's MBNA America Central Challenge is expected to bring out Mr Chivato to You, winner of three of his last four starts with a close third in the Rocky Heinz Stakes.

Trainer Charley Hunt has four of the 10 3-year-olds in the Bayer Legend Central Derby Challenge, led by fastest qualifier A True Stoli. She earned her first victory in more than a year when she won her trial in 19.886 seconds for 400 yards. Hunt also saddles Youcanhearmenow, Run Donnie Run, and Cartel Caliente.

Recent claims lead N.M. Distaff

Grants Strike Gold and Bug Lover, 3-year-old fillies who were each claimed earlier this year, have the two fastest times going into the Grade 3, $36,900 John Deere New Mexico Distaff Challenge at SunRay Park on Saturday.

Grants Strike Gold, owned and trained by Julian DeVargas, was picked up for $15,000 on June 3. She raced to her first win for her new owner-trainer when she won her trial by two lengths in the fastest qualifying time of 19.963 seconds for 400 yards.

Bug Lover, a $10,000 claim by owner-trainer Bernard Baca on April 22, has responded with wins in the Pelican Stakes and her John Deere New Mexico Distaff trial since the claim.

No MBNA trials at Los Alamitos

With 10 horses entering the trials to the MBNA America California Challenge scheduled for Saturday night at Los Alamitos, the trials were scratched, and those 10 horses will be eligible to compete in the Grade 2 MBNA America California Challenge on Aug. 26.

Those 10 horses include Los Alamitos Winter Championship winner Gold Medal Jess, defending California Challenge winner Catchmeinyourdreams, Bayer Legend Derby Challenge winner LDS Dash for Dylan, and 2005 champion 3-year-old filly Apollitical Time.

Texas Sixes tops TQHA Derby

Texas Sixes appears to have regained his winning ways and should be dangerous in the $63,880 TQHA Sires' Cup Derby on Saturday night at Sam Houston Race Park.

Texas Sixes won his Sires' Cup Derby trial with the fastest time of 20.084 seconds for 400 yards. It was his first win in over a year, since the end of a four-race winning streak that included the Ruidoso Juvenile Invitational. That streak was snapped with a fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 Rainbow Futurity.

All American Winner goes into the Sires' Cup Derby winless in three 2006 starts. Last year he had Grade 1 wins in the Sam Houston Futurity and Dash for Cash Futurity.