07/06/2005 11:00PM

Shazoomer faces off with Wokatee


Shazoomer, the fastest qualifier, and Wokatee, who is undefeated, will meet for the first time Saturday night in the Grade 1, $355,849 Texas Quarter Horse Association Sale Futurity, one of seven Quarter Horse stakes worth a cumulative $654,137 at Sam Houston Race Park.

Also on the program, one of the richest of the meet, are five qualifying stakes for the MBNA Challenge Championships. The winners of those stakes will earn berths into the national finals, to be held at Los Alamitos on Nov. 5.

In the TQHA, Shazoomer could be a slight favorite. He won his 350-yard trial for the race in 17.88 seconds when he captured the last of 11 trials run June 25. Shazoomer drew post 10 for Saturday, and trainer Janet VanBebber has given the mount to Alvin Brossette.

Wokatee remained perfect in two career starts when she won her trial in 17.91 seconds under regular rider Gilbert Ortiz.

"The ground broke from under her, but she recovered in two jumps and won her trial easily," said Bobby Martinez, who trains Wokatee. "I think she's another Azoom."

Last year, Azoom won the TQHA, as well as the Texas Classic and Sam Houston, both Grade 1 futurities.

This year, there is a $39,538 consolation for the TQHA, led by the VanBebber-trained Ali the Great.

Qualifying stakes for MBNA

Frostys Money Man, who was second by a half-length last out in the Grade 1 Oklahoma Challenge Championship, rates as one of the top contenders in the Grade 1, $107,190 Texas Challenge Championship at 440 yards, one of the qualifying stakes for the MBNA Challenge Championships. Larry Payne has the mount on Frostys Money Man, a 13-time winner whose chief threat appears to be Gray Invasion.

All About Ease, who won last year's Grade 1 Ruidoso Futurity, will remove blinkers for the Grade 3, $58,770 Bayer Legend Texas Derby Challenge at 400 yards. Her rivals include Little Kool Barbie, a daughter of Grade 1 winner Kool Kue Baby.

In the $28,350 MBNA Barnes Texas Distance Challenge at 870 yards, Run and Pray drew the rail, and the last time he broke from the 1-hole he won the Grade 1 Challenge Distance Championship last November at Sam Houston.

Lotta Torch figures to go favored in the $35,460 John Deere Distaff Challenge after winning a trial for the 400-yard race by two lengths. Love My Dash, who has won his last three starts, is the one to beat in the $28,980 Professional Choice Texas Claiming Challenge.