01/04/2013 2:04PM

Sunland: Forest Mouse brings consistency to Winsham Lad

Coady Photography
Forest Mouse won the 1 1/8-mile Zia Park Distance Championship (above) and turns back to a mile for the Winsham Lad on Sunday.

Forest Mouse has been a significant player in the New Mexico handicap ranks since moving to the state last February. He has finished first or second in his eight starts, and on Sunday will be seeking his second consecutive stakes win when he goes to post as the probable favorite in the $50,000 Winsham Lad at Sunland Park.

“Ever since he’s joined our barn, we have had nothing but fun with him,” said Henry Dominguez, who trains Forest Mouse for Parnell Thomas.

Forest Mouse, who had previously been based in Arizona, made his first start for Thomas and Dominguez last February at Sunland. He was second in the $50,000 Curribot. Forest Mouse then ran second again in the $100,000 Sunland Park Handicap in April and went on to win the $90,000 San Juan County Commissioner’s Handicap at SunRay Park in June. His latest stakes win came Dec. 2, when he drove to a three-quarter-length win in the $218,000 Zia Park Distance Championship.

“He’s got good tactical speed and he used it last time,” said Dominguez.

Forest Mouse, who won at 1 1/8 miles in the Distance Championship, will be shortening up to a mile for the Winsham Lad. The race drew a field of nine older horses including Red Lead and Hurricane Lake, who finished second and third in the Distance Championship. Global Stage will also go Sunday, and in his last start Nov. 17 he won the $55,000 Veteran at Zia by a neck over Forest Mouse.

Forest Mouse drew post 5 for the Winsham Lad and will be ridden by Ry Eikleberry.

“We’re going back to a mile and I don’t think that makes any issue with him,” said Dominguez. “He’s got tactical speed. He doesn’t have to be on the lead, but he can be right off of them.”

Red Lead was second by a head in last year’s Winsham Lad. He comes into this year’s renewal in sharp form, as he has won two of his last three starts. In the Distance Championship he stalked the pace and rallied. Derek Bell has the mount on the Red Lead, who will break from post 6 for owner Joe Davis and trainer Chris Hartman.

Hurricane Lake has raced once since closing fast for third in the Distance Championship. He shipped to Turf Paradise and ran fourth as the favorite in the Hank Mills Sr. Handicap on Dec. 22. Enrique Gomez has the mount for trainer Robertino Diodoro, who is new this meet to Sunland.