03/19/2009 12:00AM

Speed the name of this game


Extreme speed will be featured Saturday at Sunland Park in the 4 1/2-furlong Mt. Cristo Rey Handicap for New Mexico-breds. Due to the short run into the turn, the field will be limited to 10 starters.

The 9-year-old Gulchrunssweet comes into the race with a two-race winning streak against middle-level claiming foes. Trained by Bart Hone, Gulchrunssweet is a short-sprint specialist, having compiled a 4-3-1 record from 8 starts at 4 1/2 furlongs. Quyet Bui will break Gulchrunssweet, the likely favorite, from post 3.

Chaco Latte has been keeping company with Quarter Horses of late, including a near miss going 870 yards against open allowance foes in early February. Chaco Latte has been a model of consistency for trainer Henry Dominguez, having finished in the money in his last eight races. Leading rider Alfredo Medellin has the call in the Mt. Cristo Rey.

Trainer Todd Fincher will add blinkers to the equipment of Z Z Dome, who shortens up from a mile to the 4 1/2 furlongs. Z Z Dome set the early pace in the New Mexico State University Handicap Feb. 21 before settling for third. He, too, is a consistent sort, having been involved in the trifecta in his last five starts. Pat Valenzuela will be in to ride.

Retsina Spring, a five-time winner last year and victorious in mixed company at 1,000 yards in his most recent start, finished a close second to Gulchrunssweet when they met in allowance company last fall at Albuquerque and has won four times at Sunland Park. Ken Tohill rides at 117 pounds.

Lightning Canyon and Excess Folly are on the also-eligible list.