05/17/2005 11:00PM

SLM Snowman returns in trial

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Los Alamitos
After five straight victories, including the Grade 1 MBNA Challenge Championship (left), SLM Snowman ended 2004 with a pair of defeats. He returns Friday from a five-month layoff in one of two trials for the MBNA Oklahoma Challenge.

SLM Snowman, winner of the 2004 Grade 1 MBNA Challenge Championship, returns from a five-month layoff in the second of two trials to the Grade 1 MBNA Oklahoma Challenge at Remington Park on Friday night.

SLM Snowman scored his fifth straight win and became a world championship contender when he rolled to a 1 3/4-length victory in the MBNA Challenge Championship at Sam Houston Race Park on Nov. 6. Then his championship prospects diminished when he finished eighth in the Grade 1 Champion of Champions and third, as the 2-1 favorite, in the Grade 1 The Championship at Sunland Park, his most recent race, on Dec. 26.

In the first trial, Special Task Force will try to reach the finals so he can defend his 2004 victory in the Oklahoma Challenge Championship. He comes off a second in the MBNA New Mexico Challenge Championship on April 3 at Sunland Park.

My Girl Jessie heads Heritage Place

Remington Park Futurity runner-up My Girl Jessie heads the Grade 1, $538,822 Heritage Place Futurity, and fastest-qualifier Bombay Native is part of a contentious field in the Grade 1, $109,428 Heritage Place Derby on Saturday at Remington Park.

The Heritage Place Futurity finalists were determined from two days of trials on April 30 and May 1, with the horses with the five fastest times on each day eligible for the finals.

On May 1, My Girl Jessie returned from her second-place finish in the Grade 1 Remington Park Futurity to win her Heritage Place Futurity trial by a romping 2 1/4 lengths. Her time of 17.737 seconds for the 350 yards was the fastest time on the second day of trials.

Among the second-day qualifiers is De Elegant Dream, who is making her first stakes appearance. She won a maiden race on April 1 and then won her Heritage Place trial by 1 1/2 lengths in 17.714 seconds.

Heading the first-day qualifiers is Wranglin Rosie, who won her trial by an overwhelming 3 1/4 lengths in 17.797 seconds. She was second in an April 1 maiden race before her impressive trial win.

In the Heritage Place Derby, the fastest qualifier, Bombay Martini, is in a good position to score his first important stakes win after a close victory in a deep trial. He prevailed by a neck in 20.070 seconds for 400 yards over fellow qualifiers Plain Eye Opening and Field Advantage.

Plain Eye Opening, the 8-5 trial favorite, won last year's Grade 3 Oklahoma Juvenile Challenge, and Field Advantage won the Grade 3 Blue Ribbon Derby on March 20.

East Challenge finals at Delta

Vals Fortune will face open company for the first time and try to become a millionaire in the Grade 2, $75,150 MBNA East Challenge Championship on Sunday night at Delta Downs.

Vals Fortune has been sensational, with 17 wins, including 10 stakes, from 19 starts and earnings of $971,859. He has won seven straight races and has been the odds-on favorite in all 17 starts, all against Louisiana-bred competition. The winner's check of $37,575 would make the 4-year-old gelding the first Louisiana-bred Quarter Horse millionaire.

Vals Fortune comes off a 1 3/4-length win in the John Alleman Handicap on April 23, his first start against older horses and his return after a four-month layoff.

"He's training super," trainer Heath Taylor said of Vals Fortune. "I gave him an extra, short breeze before his last race, and he was impressive ."

First Comment is the fastest qualifier to the Grade 3, $43,560 Bayer Legend East Challenge for 3-year-olds, also at Delta on Sunday. First Comment has won 5 of his last 7 starts, including the 2004 East Juvenile Challenge. He won his Bayer Legend East Challenge trial in 19.920 seconds for 400 yards.

In the Grade 3, $47,070 Ford East Challenge for juveniles, Stormin Memories is the fastest qualifier with an 18.169-second trial victory by a nose over the second-fastest qualifier, Shazoomer.