03/25/2005 12:00AM

Rocky Gulch's burden: 128

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Sunland Park
Weight may be Rocky Gulch's toughest opponent in the Mt. Cristo Rey on Sunday.

Rocky Gulch, the best New Mexico-bred around and one of the best ever, has been a money machine when facing his peers the last couple of seasons, and that figures to continue despite a 128-pound assignment for Sunday's $102,850 Mt. Cristo Rey Handicap at Sunland Park. Five others will try to knock the champ off his perch in the 4 1/2-furlong event for New Mexico-breds.

, owned by Larry Teague and trained by Terry Walker, has been nothing short of sensational over the past year. He's won 6 of his last 7, the only loss an inexplicably poor race in SunRay Park's Dine Stakes in November.

That was his first start in three months, and maybe he needed the race. Whatever happened, it was an aberration, as since then he has rattled off three straight big wins against fellow New Mexico-breds here. His weight assignments have grown from 123 to 124 to 127 and now 128.

Regular rider J. Martin Bourdieu keeps the call.

Rocky Gulch figures to be a heavy favorite, and two bullet works in recent weeks reinforce the notion that the 4-year-old son of Dry Gulch is feeling good as ever.

Sunday rival Jonnygetachex has gotten within earshot of Rocky Gulch before, notably when second in the Ruidoso Runner at Ruidoso last August. He finished in front of Rocky Gulch in the Dine Stakes at SunRay Park.

Trained by Joel Marr, Jonnygetachex is in peak form. He was no match for Rocky Gulch in the Johnie L. Jamison here Nov. 27, but was then was rested two months and came back to romp in two straight allowance races.

He carries second highweight of 122 pounds and rider Carlos Madeira.

Hecamefromaclaim, trained by Todd Fincher, finished fourth behind three of these in an allowance race here Feb. 13 as the 4-5 favorite. Assigned 121 pounds, Hecamefromaclaim is certainly capable of better, and can point to a lousy start and wide trip as excuses for that dull run.

Prior to that he rattled off four straight strong outings, three of them stakes wins. He's worked strongly in recent weeks and the distance is his specialty. Alfredo Juarez Jr. rides.