04/18/2008 12:00AM

Red Rock Creek sharp for handicap


Red Rock Creek may be a 7-year-old, but don't tell the veteran he's anywhere close to being washed up. The gelding comes off a big allowance win and looks to maintain his superb form in Sunday's $100,000 Sunland Park Handicap. The 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-olds and up drew a field of eight and highlights the final weekend of racing here. Monday is a dark day and Sunland presents its meet-closing card on Tuesday.

Owned and trained by Steve Asmussen, Red Rock Creek has been wonderfully managed, picking his spots around the country for raids. Since last summer, he's won on Presque Isle Downs's Tapeta track, was second on the turf in the Remington Green at Remington, won a grass race at Fair Grounds, was second in the Zia Park Distance Championship, won an allowance race at Fair Grounds, and was second in the Maxxam Gold Cup Handicap at Sam Houston.

His travels brought him here, and he rallied strongly to be second, beaten just a neck in the Curribot Handicap on Feb. 24 behind another of Sunday's entrants, Broke Sharply. He gained a measure of revenge in an allowance race here March 16, however, blasting home to easily beat High Pitch and Broke Sharply. That sends him into this as the horse to beat. Casey Lambert rides the 121-pound highweight.

Broke Sharply had no answer to Red Rock Creek's big charge here March 16, but his Curribot win showed that he can be more than a little scary when on his game. In that race, named for the legendary New Mexico-bred who won this race five years in a row (1984-1988), he stalked the pace, got first run on Red Rock Creek, and gave himself just enough of an advantage to get to the wire before Red Rock Creek got to him. Owned by Richard Lueck and trained by Gary Cross, the 6-year-old gelding has worked well since and has a bit more tactical speed than his rival.

One Lucky Buck came here from Southern California after nine months on the bench and has posted two big sprint allowance wins.

Rollicking Caller was third in this race last year behind Don't Strike Out but comes into this a question mark. He was second in the Winsham Lad here Jan. 12, but disappeared for two months and came back to be a dull last of nine in the Bill Thomas Memorial on March 15.