12/11/2003 12:00AM

Sunland: Albuquerque Derby top two in rematch


SUNLAND PARK, N.M. - Saturday's $50,000-added Yuletide Derby at 6 1/2 furlongs rematches This Cat's for You and Novel T Dreamer, the one-two finishers in the Albuquerque Derby in September

This Cat's for You is trained by Ramon Gonzalez and Henry Dominguez trains Novel T Dreamer. Gonzalez and Dominguez are the top two trainers on the New Mexico circuit, and they finished one-two in the standings at Sunland Park last year, with Gonzalez winning his sixth title here.

Novel T Dreamer beat This Cat's for You by three-quarters of a length in the 1 1/16-mile Albuquerque, but while conceding five pounds. Before that he won the Ruidoso Thoroughbred Derby. He has not run since the race at Albuquerque but has a series of solid local works.

This Cat's for You's most recent race suggests a horse coming into form, a sound whipping of the best sprinters on the grounds in the 5 1/2-furlong KLAQ Handicap on Nov. 29.

Meanwhile, trainer Steve Asmussen entered Grand Steal in the Yuletide. Grand Steal will be making his first start in New Mexico, and his past performances are dotted with starts at major Midwest tracks. He defeated older horses in a two-other-than allowance at Churchill on Nov. 7, then was fourth at 6-5 in the Conroe Stakes at Sam Houston. Asmussen, stabled here for the first time, leads the trainer standings with 7 wins from 28 starts. Virtually all his horses have been heavy favorites, leaving for tremendous overlays in many cases.