03/13/2008 11:00PM

Grace Anatomy giving fast dirt a try


The WinStar Derby at Sunland Park on Sunday is surely the piece de resistance, but the three supporting stakes are by no means mere window dressing. The $200,000 WinStar Sunland Park Oaks, $100,000 New Mexico Breeders' Derby, and $100,000 Harry Henson Handicap figure to provide some fireworks of their own. They go as races 9, 8, and 10, respectively.

Grace Anatomy, a filly with Grade 1 credentials, and Sky Mom, herself stakes-proven, lead the field in the Oaks. The 1 1/16-mile event drew seven 3-year-old fillies.

Grace Anatomy looked like a potential Kentucky Oaks filly the way she got things going last summer. After a big maiden win at Del Mar for trainer Doug O'Neill, she was a gallant third behind Country Star in the Grade 1 Alcibiades at Keeneland. She didn't care for the Monmouth slop, and floundered home seventh behind champion Indian Blessing in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, and appeared to be going the wrong way when a dull eighth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet, again behind Country Star. However, the daughter of Aldebaran rebounded at Santa Anita, finishing second in the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel on Jan. 13. She was most recently fifth in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes there Feb. 9. The class drop can help, though this race will be her first on fast dirt (She ran in slop once; the other six races came on synthetics). Corey Nakatani rides.

Sky Mom, from the ever-powerful Steve Asmussen stable, won the mile Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies at Turfway last September. Like Grace Anatomy, she went off form afterward, but like that rival has picked it up recently. She won a division of the one-mile Martha Washington on Feb. 17 at Oaklawn. Garrett Gomez rides.

R Charlies Angel, a Southern California expatriate, may be the best local hope. She easily won the Island Fashion here Feb. 17 for trainer Henry Dominguez. She now runs for trainer Chris Hartman. Dominguez is still well represented, as he sends out Snake Proof (second in the Island Fashion and winner of the El Paso Times) and Bar Fly Blues (a 5 1/2-length maiden winner here).

Tough Tiz's Sis heads Henson Handicap

Tough Tiz's Sis, routinely a Grade 1 combatant, towers over her rivals in the Harry Henson as nine distaffers are entered to go a mile. Tough Tiz's Sis comes off three straight seconds against much tougher in the Grade 2 Bayakoa, Grade 2 El Encino, and most recently the Grade 1 Santa Maria. She's already proven here, too, having won last year's WinStar Sunland Park Oaks easily for trainer Bob Baffert. Aaron Gryder rides.

Trainer Tom Amoss's much-traveled stakes mare Delicate Dynamite deserves respect, having been competitive with graded stakes company.

Run Right Thru appears a brand new horse since coming here from Southern California for trainer Henry Dominguez, with two big wins, including last month's Santa Teresa.

Rivals meet again in N.M. Breeders' Derby

Brax and Run Like Fire renew their rivalry in the New Mexico Breeders' Derby, and while the two may rank as the top New Mexico-bred 3-year-olds sprinting, things aren't so firm when it comes to routing. That factor has convinced many others to take a shot, and the mile event lured a field of 10, plus two also-eligibles.

Brax comes here sharp, having won two straight, including the Pepsi Cola Handicap here Jan. 26 over Run Like Fire. However, in his only previous mile attempt, the Cliff Lambert trainee finished fifth in the Red Hedeman Mile. Casey Lambert rides.

Run Like Fire had a torrid spring/summer, winning 5 of his first 6 starts. After easily winning the New Mexico Cup Colt & Gelding at Zia Park on Nov. 11 at 7-10, he was fourth in the Red Hedeman Mile here Dec. 29, his only try beyond a sprint. Brax then beat him a neck in the Jan. 26 Pepsi Cola at even-money. Jorge Martin Bourdieu rides.

Should the distance get the better of those two, More Moves may be poised to upset. He rallied gamely for trainer Jimmie Claridge to win a mile allowance race here March 2.