11/05/2004 12:00AM

Of his five, Jones sees two fillies as best bets


Trainer Paul Jones will start half of the 10-horse field for Sunday's $1,002,400 Golden State Million Futurity for Quarter Horses at Los Alamitos. Jones, the nation's leading Quarter Horse trainer, considers two hard-luck fillies - Hardly Hateful and Louisiana Eye Opener - to be his best chances.

The 400-yard race is the first of two seven-figure futurities at Los Alamitos this fall. In December, the track is hosting the Los Alamitos Million, with an estimated purse of $1.4 million.

Eight of the 10 qualifiers for the Golden State Million ran in the All American Futurity trials at Ruidoso Downs in August, but none qualified for the $2 million final on Labor Day.

Hardly Hateful may have qualified with better luck on trial day, Aug. 19.

In what Jones called "a fluke deal," Hardly Hateful flipped in the paddock. She was declared fit to run, but she finished third and did not qualify for the final.

There were no mishaps when Hardly Hateful started in the Golden State Million trials Oct. 22. She won her division of the trials and set the fastest qualifying time for Sunday's final.

That performance and her runner-up finish in the Rainbow Futurity during the summer at Ruidoso Downs are likely to make her the favorite on Sunday. Hardly Hateful races for Vessels Stallion Farm.

"The filly is a real runner. She's very capable of winning," Jones said. "All year, I've thought she was my best 2-year-old."

To get there, Hardly Hateful must outrun the rest of Jones's team - Dutch Schultz, Fantastic Jessie, Get Down Perry, and Louisiana Eye Opener. Other top contenders are Chicks Like Us and Ocean Runaway. Court Etiquette and Gulfstream Five are the other qualifiers.

Chicks Like Us is on a three-race winning streak, which includes the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association Futurity on Oct. 2. Ocean Runaway won the Governor's Cup Futurity at Los Alamitos in June.

Louisiana Eye Opener won her division of the Golden State Million time trials, setting the fifth-fastest qualifying time. The race was her first start in 4 1/2 months. Sunday's final is her stakes debut.

"She's very fast. She impressed me," Jones said. "I had her at Ruidoso for half the year, but she hurt herself in the hind end and she never was quite right until the end of that meet. I think she's a tremendous filly."