02/11/2011 3:09PM

Last-race effort makes Red Lead stand out in Curribot

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Red Lead did not have an ideal trip in his last start, but he came within a half-length of winning anyways in an effort that should make him the favorite Sunday in the $50,000 Curribot at Sunland Park.

The 1 1/16-mile race is part of a series for 3-year-olds and up that concludes with the $100,000 Sunland Park Handicap on April 17.

Red Lead found himself farther off the pace than usual in the $50,000 Winsham Lad last month at Sunland. He had one horse beat through a half-mile in 47 seconds, then rallied for second to winner Black Hills, who did not return for the Curribot.

Red Lead had a wide trip to boot in the Winsham Lad, and for his effort he earned a Beyer Figure of 97. It is the best last-race number in the Curribot. Justin Shepherd has the mount on Red Lead for Frontier Stables and trainer Chris Hartman.

The chief threat could be Imco Spirit. The winner of the $218,000 Zia Park Distance Championship in December, he was third in the Winsham Lad. Imco Spirit will break from the rail, and has the speed to make good use of the post. He also has been effective from off the pace. Alejandro Medellin has the mount for trainer Henry Dominguez.

Others making up the five-horse field include multiple stakes winner Quiet Again, who returns to New Mexico following a trip to his native Texas. He shipped to Sam Houston for the $100,000 Star of Texas for statebreds and ran second to the Grade 1-placed mare Taptam.