03/26/2008 11:00PM

Gulchrunssweet might be set for best


Hecamefromaclaim attempts to recapture his best form when he returns to defend his title in the $100,000 Mt. Cristo Rey Handicap at Sunland Park.

The 4 1/2-furlong event for New Mexico-breds lured a full field of 10, plus two also-eligibles.

Trained by Todd Fincher, Hecamefromaclaim was in peak form at this time last year, culminating in a game wire-to-wire victory in this race. His form tailed off toward the end of the year, however - he was sixth in a New Mexico-bred allowance race at Zia Park on Oct. 22 and then sixth in a stakes locally on Dec. 22. Now 7, Hecamefromaclaim has been freshened and boasts a bullet 46-second breeze on March 18 to indicate he's doing well. Regular rider Duane Sterling has the call.

Hecamefromaclaim will need a return to top form to handle Timeless Mike and Gulchrunssweet.

Timeless Mike appears to have turned the corner for trainer Chris Hartman. He dueled and fizzled to ninth in the New Mexico Sprint at Zia on Nov. 11 but has cranked it up since. He beat $20,000 New Mexico-bred claimers Dec. 23 and was then second against $25,000 statebred claimers on Jan. 13.

Hartman claimed Timeless Mike that day and brought back the 5-year-old gelding against tougher optional claiming New Mexico-breds on Feb.o24, when he dueled and prevailed. Timeless Mike may be ready for this step up.

Timeless Mike worked a bullet 59.80 on March 19, and Ken Tohill, who was aboard for the Feb. 24 win, keeps the mount.

The 8-year-old Gulchrunssweet is the horse to beat. He was second to Hecamefromaclaim in this race last year, but that run came after three months on the bench. This time he has some recency.

Trained by Bart Hone, Gulchrunssweet was given a long break after a dull run at SunRay Park last May. He returned on Feb. 25 and was a game third behind Timeless Mike, losing by a just a half-length. He might be set for his best now with that race under his belt and two local bullet works since. Regular rider Alfredo Juarez Jr. keeps the mount.