12/28/2006 12:00AM

New Mexico-bred duo up to challenge


Arealstraitheart and Gotta Get can conclude an excellent year for New Mexico-breds competing against open horses when they start in the Grade 1, $400,000 The Championship over 400 yards at Sunland Park on Saturday afternoon.

Also on the card is $311,000 Shue Fly Stakes for New Mexico-bred juveniles.

A 3-year-old, Arealstraitheart has proven his mettle against Grade 1 open company the last two years, scoring a 1 3/4-length win in the Grade 1 All American Derby on Sept. 3 and finishing second by a neck in last year's Grade 1, $1.9 million All American Futurity.

In the All American Derby, Arealstraitheart skipped over a sloppy track to win as the 7-5 favorite. He raced the quarter-mile in 21.01 seconds.

Against New Mexico-breds, Arealstraitheart has been the best of his age group, with two Grade 1 wins and a nose second in the Grade 2 Zia Derby on July 30 at Ruidoso Downs.

Gotta Get has won his last six races, all of them stakes in 2006, and is testing the open division for the first time. Four of his wins during the streak have been by a length or more, including his last two, which have each come by 1 1/4 lengths.

The deep field for The Championship includes PYC Paint Your Wagon, a two-time Grade 1 derby winner; This Snow Is Cold, who won the MBNA America Challenge Championship; Desirio, the horse of the meet at Zia Park; and A Long Goodbye, who set the 440-yard world record at Sunland Park in April 2005 and won three straight stakes there last winter.

Gun Battle vs. Mightys First Call

Gun Battle and Mightys First Call, two proven juveniles in Grade 1 open company, top the New Mexico-breds in the Grade 1 Shue Fly Stakes.

Gun Battle and Mightys First Call finished second and fourth in the Grade 1, $1.9 million All American Futurity on Sept. 4. Gun Battle was the 5-2 favorite in the All American Futurity after winning his trial by 5 1/4 lengths.

Against statebreds, Gun Battle won the Grade 1 Zia Futurity at Ruidoso Downs and was second as the 3-10 favorite in the $334,000 New Mexico Cup Classic Futurity at Zia Park. He is the third-fastest qualifier to the Shue Fly, with a 19.365-second time for 400 yards.

Mightys First Call has yet to finish ahead of Gun Battle in their six meetings, four of which came in stakes. Mightys First Call was the fastest qualifier to the Shue Fly, with a 19.204-second time. She drew away to win by 3 3/4 lengths.

Spike It and Fly tops Cypress

Fresh off an upset win in the Grade 1 Southern California Derby, Spike It and Fly heads a full field of 3-year-olds in the $25,000 Cypress Sophomore Handicap on Saturday night at Los Alamitos.

Spike It and Fly carries high weight of 126 pounds after setting the fastest qualifying time to the Southern California Derby and then winning the derby at 10-1 odds.

Jumpn Chic returns from an eight-month layoff to run in the Cypress. He was second by a nose in the El Primero Del Ano Derby before the layoff.