12/02/2005 1:00AM

Statebred queen title on the line


For most of 2003 and 2004 Shemoveslikeaghost was queen of the New Mexico-breds. She hasn't run since November 2004, however, and in the interim Latenite Special has taken up the mantle of queen of the hill. The two have never met, but that all changes in Sunday's $125,000 New Mexico Racing Commission Handicap at Sunland Park. Their presence has not scared off would-be throne-takers, as a full field of 12 New Mexico-bred fillies and mares has been entered in the six-furlong event.

Latenite Special wasted little time taking Shemoveslikeaghost's seat at the head of the table. Latenite Special, owned Terence Baldwin and trained by Mitch Lane, has won 10 of 15 career starts and 5 of her 6 2005 starts. After a winter vacation, she won an allowance race here and then won stakes here, at Albuquerque, and at SunRay Park. She was a lackluster fifth in the Lincoln Handicap at Ruidoso July 31 and was given a few months off. That seemed to do the trick as she returned Nov. 6 at Zia Park and easily won the New Mexico Cup Filly and Mare Championship over a number of her Sunday opponents.

The 4-year-old Latenite Special will be ridden by Clifton Berry and totes high weight of 124 pounds.

Shemoveslikeaghost, owned William Stradley and trained by Fred Danley, has an equally impressive record of 10 wins from 18 starts. She has won the last two runnings of this race. In fact, her last race came in last year's edition of the New Mexico Racing Commission Handicap. She carries second high weight of 122 pounds and rider Joe Martinez.

Hat Creek (119 pounds) comes off a second behind Latenite Special in the New Mexico Cup Filly and Mare Championship, and in fact handed Latenite Special one of her few defeats, in the La Coneja here a year ago.

Betsy N (119 pounds) was third behind Latenite Special and Hat Creek at Zia Park.