02/02/2005 12:00AM

Rocky Gulch stood out at Sunland


The New Mexico Horse Breeders Association unveiled its honor roll for 2004, and although it doesn't distinguish one divisional winner as horse of the year, there is little doubt Rocky Gulch was the star. Named top 3-year-old male, Rocky Gulch comes off a fabulous campaign in which he won six of 10 races for $377,179. All six wins came in stakes for owner and breeder Larry Teague and trainer Terry Walker. Rocky Gulch won five of his last six, with wins coming at the three major New Mexico tracks - Sunland, Albuquerque, and Ruidoso. Rocky Gulch finished third versus open company in the $500,000 WinStar Derby and second in the $100,000 Borderland Derby, both at Sunland Park.

Other top Thoroughbred honors went to Shesmoveslikeaghost, older female; Ninety Nine Jack, older male; Hay Creek, 3-year-old filly; Hush's Gold, 2-year-old filly; and Sandias Peppermint, 2-year-old male. Prospector Jones was named top Thoroughbred stallion of the year, Rona Prospect the top broodmare, and Untold Gold the top freshman Thoroughbred sire.

Top Quarter Horse honors went to Shelbys Twiggy, older female; XS Nitro, older male; La Talea, 3-year-old filly; Ongoing Ta Fame, 3-year-old male; Uno Menudo, 2-year-old filly; Win Mur, 2-year-old male; Pyro Power, Quarter Horse broodmare; Dash Ta Fame, Quarter Horse stallion; and Jacksboro, Quarter Horse freshman sire.

* Cat Buster put in his bid as top sprinter on the grounds with a rallying victory in last Saturday's $53,400 Budweiser Handicap. Under Glen Murphy, Cat Buster ($17.20) bided his time early in the five-furlong event, swung wide for the stretch run, and powered home to win going away. A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Tale of the Cat, Cat Buster blew past the tiring speed, drawing off to a 1 1/2-length victory for leading trainer Steve Asmussen in 57.20 seconds.

Cat Buster was coming off a disappointing run in an allowance race here Jan. 9, finishing a distant fifth as the favorite to Rockin the Ship, whom he beat in the Budweiser. After being favored last time, Cat Buster was the longest price of the six horses in the Budweiser.

This win sets up Cat Buster for a run at the Bill Thomas Memorial Handicap on March 5. That 6 1/2-furlong event is the last major open sprint stakes of the meet.