07/01/2010 12:00AM

Rnorthern Stoli has faced tougher

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Rnorthern Stoli might not be the fastest qualifier for Saturday night's Grade 2, $201,450 Firecracker Futurity for Quarter Horses at Delta Downs, but he deserves plenty of respect for who he has raced against. He faced two of the nation's top-ranked juveniles, American Runaway and Llano Teller, back in April, and that might give him a class edge Saturday.

The Firecracker, to be run at 350 yards, is the richest open-company race of the Delta meet. It will share a card with the $132,150 Firecracker Derby.

Rnorthern Stoli made his debut in a trial for the Grade 1 Remington Park Futurity on April 3 and was up for a neck win. He advanced to the finale April 17 and hooked both Llano Teller, who won, and American Runaway, who was second and would later win the Grade 1 Ruidoso Futurity at Ruidoso Downs.

As for Rnorthern Stoli, he turned up at Delta for the Firecracker trials June 16, and was a neck winner in 17.76 seconds. Matthew Casebolt was aboard and again has the mount for owner Oscar Rohne and trainer Kenneth Roberts.

G.R. Carter will be in to ride Bigtime Cat, who set the fastest qualifying time for the Firecracker when he won his trial in 17.57 seconds. He was clear by 1 1/2 lengths for trainer Frank Cavazos. Bigtime Cat is coupled with Heza Truckin, who was third to Rnorthern Stoli in his trial and who is to be ridden by Delta's leading jockey, Alfonso Lujan.

Tf Ms Special Perry, who won last year's Firecracker Futurity, will start as a top contender in the Firecracker Derby. She was second to Bertha Venation, the fastest qualifier, during trials June 17. The 400-yard race was Tf Ms Special Perry's first out since November. Gilbert Ortiz has the mount for trainer Heath Taylor.

Ruidoso: Shy Ann Jess returns

Shy Ann Jess, a winner of three of his last four starts, is the 126-pound highweight for the Grade 3, $30,000 Higheasterjet Handicap at Ruidoso Downs on Saturday. The 350-yard race will be the horse's first since he missed by a neck in a Sunland Park stakes Jan. 30. Jacky Martin has the mount for trainer Eduardo Gonzalez.

* Rapidton will be shooting for his sixth straight win when he runs in Saturday night's Silestone at Sam Houston. The $15,000 race, to be run over 350 yards, is restricted to 3-year-olds and up bred in Texas. Overall, the Janet VanBebber-trained Rapidton is 6 for 8.