12/30/2005 12:00AM

Rocky Gulch: $800K and counting


Rocky Gulch looks to add to his legacy as the richest New Mexico-bred of all time in the $100,000 Albert Dominguez Memorial Handicap Sunday at Sunland Park. The 1 1/16-mile event for New Mexico-bred 3-year-olds and upward lured a field of 12, including Ninety Nine Jack, who upset Rocky Gulch when they met in the Dec. 11 Johnie L. Jamison Handicap.

Despite that defeat, Rocky Gulch figures to be favored in an attempt to win the Dominguez for the second straight year. A 5-year-old gelded son of Dry Gulch owned by Larry Teague and trained by Terry Walker, Rocky Gulch has won 13 of 20 for earnings of almost $800,000. In the Jamison he blew the start as the even-money favorite, but still had the speed to make the lead. He was hounded every step of the way, and Ninety Nine Jack nailed him in the final strides. In that race, Rocky Gulch moved past the still-active Ciento as the all-time leading money-winning New Mexico-bred.

Rocky Gulch, who carries high weight of 126 pounds, must give from five to 14 pounds to the opposition. Regular rider J. M. Bourdieu has the call.

Ninety Nine Jack, plagued by health problems, has worked his way back up the New Mexico-bred ladder. He won an allowance sprint at Zia Park Nov. 20 and used that as a springboard to his 16-1 upset over Rocky Gulch in the Jamison. Owned by Mary Bowden and trained by Michael Welch, the 7-year-old Ninety Nine Jack has won 16 of 33 and earned more than $415,000.

Ninety Nine Jack received seven pounds from Rocky Gulch in the Jamison and, at 121, will be in receipt of five pounds Sunday. Brian Theriot rides.

One other possible spoiler is Cattleman Prospect. He comes off a dull run in a stakes at Zia Park Dec. 2 but has challenged Rocky Gulch in stakes before. Brian Peck rides at 117 pounds for trainer Clay Sparks.