04/03/2007 11:00PM

Heartswideopen one to watch in futurity trials

Email

The New Mexico futurity season starts on Friday afternoon when 98 hopefuls start in the 10 trials to the Grade 1, $266,000 West Texas Futurity at Sunland Park.

Trainer Carl Draper, who conditioned 2004 All American Futurity winner DM Shicago, saddles the promising Heartswideopen in the fourth trial. Her easy one-length maiden victory on March 9 was timed in 15.21 seconds, the fastest 300-yard time by a juvenile this spring at Sunland Park.

A $60,000 purchase in last year's Ruidoso select yearling sale, Heartswideopen has the breeding to back up her early-season form. Her dam, Dashing Phoebe, was a two-time champion who won the Grade 1 Sun Country Futurity and the Grade 1 Kansas (now Ruidoso) Futurity before July of her championship juvenile campaign.

Also in the West Texas trials are 300-yard maiden race winners Brown Eye Suze and Wild Six. Brown Eye Suze won her maiden with a 15.35-second time, while Wild Six won with a 15.45-second time.

Screamin Bye out to reach potential

Screamin Bye tries to realize his potential against proven stakes horses Angelina Ballerina and Mister WW in the Grade 2, $139,019 West Texas Derby on Sunday at Sunland Park.

Last summer at Ruidoso Downs, Screamin Bye won his trials to the Grade 1 Ruidoso Futurity and the Grade 1 Rainbow Futurity, defeating Grade 1 futurity qualifiers, but did not race in the final of either futurity. After being disqualified from fifth to eighth in his All American Futurity trial at 8-5 odds, Screamin Bye was laid off for six months by trainer Jamie Zamora and returned in March at Sunland Park.

In his second start since the layoff he won his West Texas Derby trial in 19.238 seconds for 400 yards, the fastest time from three trials.

Angelina Ballerina and Mister WW did not win their West Texas trials, but should be factors in the derby. Angelina Ballerina has Grade 1 second-place finishes in last year's West Texas Futurity and Retama Park Futurity. Mister WW has two stakes wins at Sunland Park this winter in New Mexico-bred company, including a win against All American Futurity runner-up Gun Battle in the Grade 1 Shue Fly Stakes.

Claimers chase cash

Claiming horses race for their career-best paydays in the six finals of the winter claiming series, worth $190,000 in total purses, at Los Alamitos on Friday and Saturday nights.

The Friday night program features the 3-year-old division, and Saturday's card offers the older claimers. The entrants have earned points in Los Alamitos claiming races since Dec. 28 to qualify for the finals. Each night will offer three 350-yard finals, each for a different claiming level. The highest level is for $12,500 claimers and has a $40,000 purse. The horses are eligible to be claimed out of each of the finals.

"This series was a chance to reward the people who kept claiming horses here this winter to fill races until the 2-year-olds start running in the spring," said Los Alamitos racing secretary Ron Church. "It's worked well. We've had more older horses this year than in previous years."

In Friday's race for 3-year-old $12,500 claimers, the consistent Doctor Cocktail comes off a win, a second, and a third in three 2007 starts at the $10,000 claiming level. He won his latest start by 1 3/4 lengths at 300 yards.

In Saturday's race for older $12,500 claimers, Dashing Jay Money comes in with 3 wins in his last 4 starts, including 2 wins for a $12,500 claiming tag.