05/06/2003 11:00PM

People to join racehorse Hall


Three renowned horsemen - Walter Merrick, Jack Brooks and Jacky Martin - and Gene Hensley, founder of the All American Futurity, will be the first people inducted into the Racehorse Hall of Fame, located in the Hubbard Museum of the American West in Ruidoso Downs, N.M.

Previously, only horses have been included in the Hall of Fame. To be inducted this year are Kaweah Bar, a two-time world champion; Pokey Bar, winner of the All American Futurity; and foundation sire Little Joe.

The inductions will take place on June 14 at the Hubbard Museum.

Merrick has been racing Quarter Horses since the 1930's as an owner, breeder, and trainer. He owned, bred, and trained Easy Jet, world champion of 1969 and the all-time leading Quarter Horse sire.

Merrick, 92, was recently inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. He is also a member of the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in Amarillo, Texas.

Brooks, a trainer, and Martin, a jockey, own the victory records in the All American Futurity, Quarter Horse racing's richest race. Brooks has trained eight All American Futurity winners, and Martin has been aboard seven of those winners.

Hensley conceived of the All American Futurity and implemented his plan for the race when he was the majority owner and general manager at Ruidoso Downs from 1952 to 1962. It has been the sport's richest race since the first running in 1959.

Short-term gain: $15,000

The quickest of the quick will be determined at Los Alamitos on Friday night when Grade 1 stakes horses meet claimers over the abbreviated distance of 100 yards in the $15,000 100 Yard Dash Handicap.

Miami Cartel, winner of the Los Alamitos Derby, and Takin on Spoon Man have the class edge. The Paul Jones-trained Miami Cartel won the Kaweah Bar Handicap at 350 yards on April 5, his most recent start. Takin on Spoon Man was just a neck behind Miami Cartel in the Kaweah Bar after being bumped at the start.

Talking Tactics is going strong at 10 years old. He is stepping up in class after winning four straight claiming races at 350 yards, his only starts this year. Last year he finished in the top two places in eight of nine starts, all claiming races at 300 or 350 yards.

Cottonwood rematch in Derby

Circle of Light and Snow Skier, the top two finishers in the Grade 3 Cottonwood Handicap on March 16, will meet again in the Grade 3 $42,000 Albuquerque Spring Derby over 400 yards on Sunday afternoon at The Downs at Albuquerque.

Circle of Light, owned by Three H Racing and trained by Carlos Sedillo, won the Cottonwood Handicap and then was defeated by 26-1 outsider Quick Ta Shine in his Spring Derby trial.

Snow Skier, trained by Robert Cappelucci, has won 3 of 4 starts this year with his only setback being to Circle of Light in the Cottonwood. His time of 19.581 seconds for the 400 yards in his Spring Derby trial was the fastest qualifying time.