04/12/2005 11:00PM

Jones saddles fastest in Primero and Primera


Three-time defending national champion trainer Paul Jones could have a couple of promising derby stars in fastest-qualifiers Dutch Schultz and Louisiana Eye Opener in the gender-segregated El Primero Del Ano Derby and the La Primera Del Ano Derby at Los Alamitos this weekend.

Dutch Schultz goes in the Grade 2, $152,100 El Primero Derby for colts and geldings on Friday night. Louisiana Eye Opener stands out in the Grade 2, $180,800 La Primera Derby for fillies on Saturday night. Each derby is run at 400 yards.

On March 25, Dutch Schultz topped the El Primero trials, defeating stablemate Lethal Bay by three-quarters of a length in 19.61 seconds, the quickest time from the two 400-yard qualifying heats. Lethal Bay ran the second-fastest qualifying time - 19.71 seconds.

Winner of the Cypress Handicap, Dutch Schultz has been competitive at the Grade 1 level with a third in the Golden State Million and a troubled fifth in the Los Alamitos Winter Derby. He started off 2005 with the Cypress victory as a 3-5 favorite.

Autumn Handicap winner Lethal Bay was a 7-10 favorite in his trial against Dutch Schultz, on the strength of a third-place finish in the Los Alamitos Winter Derby on Feb. 25.

Grade 1 Ed Burke Futurity winner Heza Secret Diamond, making his first start in four months, finished fourth behind Dutch Schultz in his trial and figures to improve in the finals.

Flyn Gt, who likes shorter distances, held on to win the first of the two trials in 19.85 seconds by a nose over Special Crown Royal. Flyn Gt was second in the Grade 1 Ed Burke Futurity and third in the Grade 1 Governor's Cup Futurity, each at 350 yards.

In the La Primera, Louisiana Eye Opener is the filly to beat, especially if she runs an error-free race. She has won 5 of her 7 starts, but has also been involved in bumping incidents in five of her starts. In her La Primera trial, she rolled to a 2 1/2-length win in 19.62 seconds, for her third straight victory. In her previous two wins, she won trials to the Los Alamitos Million and the Winter Derby - but her times were not fast enough to qualify for the finals.

Also in the La Primera are Curls Girl and Slighty Icy, who finished second and third in the Denim N Diamonds Handicap, behind Winter Derby winner One More Habit.

Brooks loaded at Remington

Hall of Fame trainer Jack Brooks, winner of a record eight All American futurities, appears to have another promising 2-year-old contingent with the two fastest qualifiers to the Grade 2, $250,823 Remington Park Futurity on Saturday at Remington Park.

Also on Saturday, the winners of the two major 2004 futurities at Remington Park, Phoebes Otoole and Eye Yin You, meet in the Grade 2, $87,750 Remington Park Derby.

The early leaders among Brooks's juveniles are Crater Lake and Perry Lane, the top two qualifiers to the Remington Park Futurity. They will race as a You and Me Partners-owned entry in the finals after winning their career debuts in their trials. Crater Lake was timed in 18.06 seconds for the 350 yards while Perry Lane won with an 18.11-second clocking.

Brooks will also saddle trial winner Awesome Ryan, the eighth-fastest qualifier.

Last year, Phoebes Otoole and Eye Yin You were the dominant juveniles at Remington Park.

Phoebes Otoole, winner of the 2004 Heritage Place Futurity at Remington, has won 5 of 8 career starts and rolled to a 1 1/2-length win in his Remington Park Derby trial. He raced the 400 yards in 20.01 seconds in his first start since a third in his All American Futurity trial on Aug. 19.

Eye Yin You, winner of the 2004 Remington Park Futurity, had a rough trip in his trial, finishing fifth as the 2-5 favorite. It was his first start since finishing second by a neck in the Grade 1 Ford Juvenile Challenge Championship on Nov. 6.

Winning Eye Yin You's trial was fastest qualifier Dos Poruno, a Paint horse timed in 19.98 seconds for the 400 yards. Dos Poruno will be facing the strongest competition of his 10-race career, which includes five wins against Paint and Quarter Horse competition.