02/12/2010 1:00AM

Red Lead in Sunland spotlight


Trainer Chris Hartman was looking forward to finding out how Red Lead would fit against older stakes horses heading into last month's $50,000 Winsham Lad at Sunland Park. Turns out, he fit quite well. Red Lead finished second to perhaps the top handicap horse in New Mexico right now, Black Hills, and with that rival not returning Sunday for the $50,000 Curribot at Sunland, there will be a good deal of focus on Red Lead.

The Curribot, at 1 1/16 miles, is a stepping-stone to the meet's top race for older horses, the $100,000 Sunland Park Handicap. It drew a field of six older horses, including Song of Navarone, who is sitting on $750,000 in career earnings, and Z Humor, a winner of more than $700,000.

Red Lead was a factor in a series of derbies last year at 3, among them runner-up finishes in the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Derby and the Zia Park Derby. He was also third in the Iowa Derby and Oklahoma Derby.

The Winsham Lad was the start to Red Lead's 4-year-old season, and he closed for second in the Jan. 9 race behind three-length winner Black Hills. Red Lead earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 94, the best last-race number in the Curribot. Ken Tohill has the mount on the horse, who will break from post 5.

Song of Navarone will break from post 6, one start after finishing fourth in the Winsham Lad.