03/03/2004 12:00AM

Interesting Catalina Derby


Redrockn and Rockin the Ship, the two fastest Thoroughbred qualifiers, will be challenged by six Quarter Horses in the Grade 3, $57,800 Catalina Derby over 870 yards at Los Alamitos on Saturday night. Redrockn has spent his two-race career at the 870-yard distance against Quarter Horses. He finished second in his career debut, then won his Catalina Derby trial by 3-1/2 lengths in 46.015 seconds for 870 yards.

Rockin the Ship is undefeated in two starts. A year ago he won a two-furlong maiden race at Santa Anita and did not resurface until he won his Catalina Derby trial on Feb. 19 by 1 1/2 lengths.

Deal Buster is still a maiden but figures to improve after finishing second in her Catalina Derby trial - her first start at 870 yards - behind Redrockn.

A daughter of the Thoroughbred Grand Slam, Deal Buster has the breeding and connections to excel at 870 yards. She is trained by Laura Pinelli and ridden by Tyler Baze, who won the 2003 Grade, 1, $175,000 Marathon National with Heros Call, a son of Grand Slam and the 2003 co-champion distance horse.

* Buccaneer Beach received the year's first invitation to the Grade 1, Champion of Champions on Dec. 11 by winning the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Championship last Saturday night by a nose over Meteoric. Buccaneer Beach, claimed last summer for $8,000, is now eligible for the Champion of Champions for the second straight year. He finished third in 2003.