03/30/2006 12:00AM

A Long Goodbye eyes $100K bonus


World-record holder A Long Goodbye will secure a $100,000 bonus if he can defend his title in the Grade 1, $111,150 New Mexico Challenge on Sunday afternoon at Sunland Park.

A Long Goodbye has won the Grade 3 KHEY Handicap and the Grade 2 West Texas Maturity, the first two races needed to secure the $100,000 bonus sponsored by Good Time Stores. He won the 350-yard KHEY by a neck and then the 400-yard West Texas Maturity by three-quarters of a length. Special Task Force was second in each of those races.

The 440 yards of the New Mexico Challenge is A Long Goodbye's best distance. In the 2005 New Mexico Challenge, A Long Goodbye set the 440-yard world record of 20.68 seconds when he defeated familiar rival Special Task Force by a length.

The New Mexico Challenge is an old-timer's race, with the 7-year-olds Special Task Force and Push the Pace lining up against the 6-year-old A Long Goodbye.

Special Task Force, in the top two in 26 of 43 career starts, finished ahead of A Long Goodbye when he won the 2005 KHEY Handicap and was a close second in the 2005 West Texas Maturity. A Long Goodbye was third in each of those stakes.

Push the Pace won the 2005 West Texas Maturity over Special Task Force and A Long Goodbye. His only two wins since then have been in Sunland Park allowance races, and he finished behind A Long Goodbye and Special Task Force in his two most recent starts.

The winner of the New Mexico Challenge becomes eligible for the Grade 1 Challenge Championship on Nov. 11 at Lone Star Park.

'Garters' begins season in Decketta

Bullions N Garters, winner of four stakes in 2005, makes her 2006 debut in the $35,000 Decketta Handicap over 350 yards on Saturday at Remington Park.

Owner-trainer Jim Gubas has selected winning spots for Bullions N Garters, a 5-year-old mare with 14 wins from 20 career starts. Last year, she won the Grade 3 Two Rivers Stakes, the Grade 3 Keokuk Stakes, the Bob Moore Stakes, and the Red Earth Handicap (now the Decketta). She is making her first start since finishing a close second behind multiple stakes winner Si Puede in the Rheudasil Handicap at Lone Star Park on Oct. 21.

The 5-year-old Bullions N Garters will carry high weight of 126 pounds.

Bugs Mega Jet makes her seasonal debut in the Decketta after winning or placing in three derbies last year, including a win in the Grade 3 Iowa Double Gold Derby as the 7-5 favorite.

Algonquin comes into the Decketta after winning a 300-yard allowance race at Remington Park on March 18. Last year, she won 3 of 9 starts, including a win in the Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby.

Derby, futurity doubleheader

A pair of futurities and two derbies provide competitive fields on Sunday at Remington Park.

In the Grade 3, $200,000 Oklahoma Futurity, WR Okie Smoker has a 2-for-2 record and fastest qualifier status. He won his maiden on March 10 and then won his Oklahoma Futurity trial on March 19 in 17.947 seconds, the quickest time from eight trials.

In the Grade 3, $76,075 Oklahoma Derby, JA Fast Lady has 2 wins, 2 seconds and a fifth in the Grade 1 Texas Classic Futurity in his last five starts. One of those wins came in the Grade 2 Valley Junction Futurity.

Also on the card are the $93,390 Lazy E Futurity and the $84,887 Lazy E Derby, races restricted to offspring of stallions at the Lazy E Ranch.