02/06/2004 1:00AM

Inox faces three from Asmussen


SUNLAND PARK, N. M. - Inox, a consistent 6-year-old Argentine-bred mare, will take on a trio of Steve Asmussen-trained runners in the $50,000 Czaria Handicap on Sunday at Sunland. Asmussen's runners are uncoupled for wagering purposes, adding spice to what should be a very good betting race.

Inox came into trainer Bart Hone's care last summer from New York and has blossomed in the Southwest, winning three stakes. Her most recent triumph came against many of the same horses she will face Sunday, when she won the Bold Ego Handicap here on Jan. 3. Inox was racing for the first time in 2 1/2 months that day and could be even tougher for the Czaria. Inox will carry top weight of 122 pounds with regular rider Martin Bourdieu.

All three of Asmussen's runners are 4-year-olds who could be sitting on big races. City Sleeper was bet down to 3-5 for the Bold Ego and loomed a threat entering the stretch but flattened out and finished third, 1 1/4 lengths behind Inox. Leading jockey Ken Tohill will ride Sunday at 121 pounds.

Big Score was a top prospect at 2, winning an allowance at Saratoga and the Kindergarten Stakes at Philadelphia Park. After going winless in four starts at 3 in the Midwest, Big Score came to Sunland, where she registered an allowance win on Dec. 20. Isaias Enriquez has the mount at 119 pounds.

It took Hacienda Del Mar seven starts to win a race, and her maiden win came at Delta Downs just before the start of this meet. She has taken a liking to the Sunland strip, however, and has reeled off three consecutive allowance victories.