12/28/2012 4:12PM

Sunland Park: Clean strart critical for Dm Streakn Thru Fire

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Dm Streakn Thru Fire will attempt to turn the tables on champion Prospect to the Top on Sunday when the Quarter Horses meet in the Grade 1, $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park. The 400-yard race for 3-year-olds and up is one of two stakes on the program.

The $85,000 Albert Dominguez Memorial Handicap for New Mexico-breds at 1 1/16 miles is led by 123-pound highweight Our Choice.

The Championship is Sunland’s most prestigious offering for Quarter Horses, and it drew a field of 10, including Lllano Teller, winner of last year’s All American Derby; The Long Knife, who is coming off a win in the Texas Classic Derby; and First Blazin Love, a restricted Grade 1 winner last out at Sunland.

Dm Streakn Thru Fire was second to Prospect to the Top in the Grade 1 Zia Park Distance Championship on Dec. 2, a 440-yard race Prospect to the Top won wire to wire. Dm Streakn Thru Fire was away last and rallied, finishing 1 3/4 lengths back.

“We’re going to have to break a lot better,” said Michael Joiner, who trains Dm Streakn Thru Fire for Telling No Lies Partnership. “If he can just break heads-up, or close to them, I feel like he’s got a chance. He’s going to have to get away from the gate good.”

Dm Streakn Thru Fire had a decent start one start prior, in the Grade 2 Lovington at Zia on Nov. 4. He broke sixth of 10 and went on to a three-quarter of a length win in the race run at the same 400-yard distance he will travel Sunday.

“That was probably the best he’s broke this year,” Joiner said. “He kind of hurt himself in his last race as a 3-year-old [in 2011] and hasn’t been breaking really sharp this year. I think it’s just a confidence thing. He runs too good after he gets away from there.”

Joiner said Dm Streakn Thru Fire strained his back in his final start at 3 and was given a year off, but since then has not resumed breaking as sharply as he had at 2 and 3.

“He just hasn’t had the confidence to break really hard like he used to,” Joiner saud. “Otherwise, he’s training excellent, doing really good.”

Cody Jensen has the mount.

Prospect to the Top has won two graded stakes this year after spending the first part of the year at stud, according to the American Quarter Horse Association.

◗ Our Choice will be seeking his fifth stakes win of the year when he stretches back out to two turns for the Dominguez. He enters off a second-place finish in the $85,000 Johnie L. Jamison at Sunland, a 6 1/2-furlong race in which he made an eight-wide bid. Ry Eikleberry has the mount for trainer Justin Evans.