11/27/2003 1:00AM

Source up against Sky Diver in KLAQ


SUNLAND PARK, N.M. - Sunland Park led the nation in starters per field last year at 9.9, and Saturday's $50,000-added KLAQ Handicap hits that number just about on the button, with a field of 10. The race, for 3-year-olds and upward at 5 1/2 furlongs, drew horses from tracks around the country, making for an excellent player's race.

Steve Asmussen, who won six stakes here last season while shipping in and out, is stabled here for the first time and has Source entered with Casey Lambert named to ride. Claimed for $50,000 at Saratoga, the 5-year-old Source had already won three races on the New York circuit. Since then, Source has failed to win in two starts for owner Rosenda Parra. He worked a half -mile in 47.80 seconds on Nov. 22 at Sam Houston.

Six-year-old Sky Diver, owned by R. D. Hubbard, Constance Sczesny, and Richard Mandella, dominated the New Mexico sprint division over the summer and fall. He has won four of his last five starts including two stakes. In his last start, Sky Diver won a 4 1/2-furlong allowance race by more than 10 lengths in 49.80 seconds. J. Martin Bourdieu, the leading rider here last spring, has the call from trainer Bart Hone.

Ramon Gonzalez, who has six Sunland training titles to his credit, has a dangerous uncoupled entry ready for the KLAQ. Eight-year-old Majorbigtimesheet comes off a stakes win at Turf Paradise and has Max Corrales riding, while 3-year-old This Cat's for You brings an 11-5-3-1 record and has Cesar De Alba in the saddle.