06/18/2009 12:00AM

Pair of fiery fillies top Ed Burke Futurity


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - A move from New Mexico to California earlier this year has energized the brief career of Tools of Fire, a contender in Saturday's $1 million Ed Burke Million Futurity at Los Alamitos.

After two third-place finishes at Sunland Park in March and April, Tools of Fire is unbeaten in two starts at Los Alamitos - a maiden race and a division of the Ed Burke time trials at 350 yards on June 6.

Tools of Fire, owned by Billy Smith and Pat Guthrie and trained by Mike Joiner, won her division of the Burke trials in 17.48 seconds, setting the fourth-fastest qualifying time. She won by three-quarters of a length, pulling away in the final 100 yards and leaving Joiner with the hope that she can continue to improve.

"Since she's gotten to California, she's steadily improved with every out," Joiner said. "She's gotten a little more mature and she's kind of starting to run a little better at the first part of the race. That gives her the opportunity to run well.

"We started her a couple of times at Sunland and she ran so-so," he said. "The filly always finished well."

The Burke is the first of three seven-figure futurities at Los Alamitos this year. The $1 million Golden State Million Futurity will be run in November, a month before the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity.

Joiner admits that Tools of Fire is not the filly with the best chance in the Burke. That role will go to LD Fire, the fastest qualifier who was timed in 17.33 seconds.

"She probably looks the most impressive out of the trials," Joiner said. "She's probably the number one contender in the field."

LD Fire and Tools of Fire are daughters of the stallion Walk Thru Fire. Mike Abraham bred both horses.

LD Fire is trained by Jaime Gomez and co-owned by Gomez and Abraham. LD Fire won her division of the trials by 1 3/4 lengths in her second career start.

Gomez is confident that LD Fire can win the Ed Burke, and was not discouraged when she drew the rail in the field of 10.

"When you've got a runner, you don't worry about that," he said. "She doesn't make mistakes. Sometimes it's better to be on the inside."

LD Fire is one of seven fillies in the field and is expected to be favored. "We're in good shape," Gomez said. "She's the one to beat."

The 10 qualifiers are all running in their first stakes.

Both Gomez and Joiner are having excellent seasons with their 2-year-olds. Joiner won the Ruidoso Futurity with First Klas Fred, while Gomez won the Kindergarten Futurity at Los Alamitos with Twin Spires.