02/15/2008 12:00AM

Same trio now tries mile


Just last month, trainer Henry Dominguez ran one-two-three in Sunland Park's El Paso Times Handicap, a sprint for 3-year-old fillies. On Sunday, Dominguez brings back his triumvirate in the next local stakes for 3-year-old fillies, the $50,000 Island Fashion.

The one-mile race drew a field of eight, and serves as the primary local prep for the $200,000 WinStar Sunland Park Oaks on March 16.

Snake Proof, Kuba a Noqua, and R Charlies Angel gave Dominguez a sweep of the top three positions in the El Paso Times, and all three again figure tough. Snake Proof was victorious that day, keeping her record perfect in two starts. After a sprint win locally over maidens on Dec. 15, Snake Proof bided her time early in the Jan. 27 El Paso Times, swung out, and finished strongly to win by a length under Joe Martinez, who has the call again.

Her immediate victim was stablemate Kuba a Noqua. She won her first two starts and in the El Paso Times sat back, just like Snake Proof. Kuba a Noqua was actually in front of Snake Proof for most of the race, but couldn't quite stay with her in the final furlong. A bullet five-furlong work in 1:00.20 on Feb. 10 hints Kuba a Noqua is fit and feeling good.

R Charlies Angel invaded from Southern California and was making her first start for Dominguez. She dueled up front in the El Paso Times, opened up into the lane as if she were going to win, but couldn't fend off her two stablemates late, and was beaten a length. Of the three, she's the only one with route experience - she finished fifth in the one-mile Blue Norther on the grass at Santa Anita on Dec. 30.

Steve Asmussen has two challengers to the Dominguez trio, Catera and Possible. Catera may be the more dangerous of the two. She drew away to easily beat maidens in her second start, which came at Fair Grounds on Jan. 28. She faces a route and winners for the first time, but obviously has ability, and being by Gone West she should handle the trip.

Possible won her maiden last June at Churchill Downs, then was idle until Dec. 31, when she returned at Fair Grounds to rally for second in an allowance sprint. She finished seventh there as the 2-1 favorite in her first route attempt on Jan. 31.

Etoile de Dome merits a look for trainer Chris Hartman. She was a game second against males in the Red Hedeman Mile locally on Dec. 29. She then finished a well-beaten third in the La Senora Handicap, a sprint, on Jan. 19. She may prefer this longer trip.