12/07/2006 12:00AM

More Than Regal vs. Hartman's duo


More Than Regal looks like a solid favorite Saturday in the $150,000 Zia Park Derby, with perhaps his biggest challenge coming from one barn. Trainer Chris Hartman will send out two capable starters in Guiding Hand, who is rapidly improving, and Wait in Line, who was third to More Than Regal in the $250,000 Iowa Derby in June.

"We're looking for good efforts from both our horses," said Hartman. "I like our chances."

The Zia Park Derby will be run at 1 1/16 miles, and it drew a field of eight, including leading contender Majestic Stream, who has also been entered in the $200,000 Zia Park Distance Championship on Sunday. Clyde Veltmann, who owns and trains Majestic Stream, said Thursday that he was leaning toward running Majestic Stream in the Distance Championship.

A multiple stakes winner of $448,531, More Than Regal is the class of the derby. He last raced Oct. 20, when he finished third in the $273,000 Oklahoma Derby but was placed second following the disqualification of runner-up Private Fight for interference. Private Fight and Mr. Pursuit, who won the Oklahoma Derby, each returned to win their next starts, and More Than Regal has indicated he could be next with a series of sharp works at Remington. He should get a better pace to track at Zia than he did last out. Trainer Scott Blasi has given the mount to Roman Chapa.

Guiding Hand dominated a first-level allowance at Remington in his last start, Nov. 6, when he broke on top and led throughout for an 8 3/4-length win. He earned a career-best 97 Beyer, which ties him with Majestic Stream for the highest last-race Beyer in the derby.

"I think he's very capable of running that same race back," said Hartman.

Guiding Hand has won both of his starts, including a conditioned claimer, since returning from a freshening in October.

"The horse is in top form right now," said Hartman. "He was trying to get good at Lone Star, and then the hot weather got to him. The horse sort of fell off of form. He's getting good again now."

Wait in Line, who is more proven in stakes competition, won his last start by 6 3/4 lengths in an allowance at Zia. Earlier this year he was second to Wanna Runner in the Grade 3 Lone Star Derby.