04/14/2013 6:23PM

Sunland Handicap: Forest Mouse outfights Red Lead in stretch duel

Coady Photography
Forest Mouse, the 3-5 favorite under Ry Eikleberry, draws clear late in the Sunland Park Handicap.

Forest Mouse had to work harder than expected, but still got the job done as the 3-5 favorite in Sunday’s $100,000 Sunland Park Handicap.

Back on the main track after a pair of off-the-board finishes in graded turf stakes in Southern California, the 5-year-old Forest Mouse ($3.20) went after pacesetter Red Lead with about five-sixteenths remaining in the 1 1/8-mile race and quickly erased a three-length deficit. Red Lead, who won the 2010 running of the Sunland Park Handicap but was fourth as the 9-5 favorite last year, refused to fold and raced alongside Forest Mouse for most of the stretch run. But inside the sixteenth pole, Forest Mouse broke free and scored by 2 1/2 lengths, hitting the wire in 1:49.09.

Red Lead was clearly second best, 6 1/2 lengths in front of Tiz Gianni at 5-1.

Forest Mouse, ridden by Ry Eikleberry for trainer Henry Dominguez, is now 13 for 31 lifetime with earnings of nearly $510,000. He had finished second in the 2012 running of the Sunland Park Handicap. In his most recent start at Sunland in January, Forest Mouse dominated the Winsham Lad.

In the Grade 1, $100,000 West Texas Futurity for Quarter Horses, second-time starter Wr Golden Eagle ($10.20) outdueled 14-1 shot Anna Delovely by a head. Ridden by Freddie Martinez for trainer Roy Marcom, Wr Golden Eagle ran 300 yards in 14.86 seconds.