04/13/2012 12:12PM

Sunland Park: Dominguez has strong pair in Sunland Park Handicap

Lisa Dominguez / Coady Photography
Vamoose wins the Curribot Stakes at Sunland Park. He and Forest Mouse represent trainer Henry Dominguez in the Sunland Park Handicap.

Vamoose and Forest Mouse appear to give their trainer, Henry Dominguez, a strong hand in Sunday’s $100,000 Sunland Park Handicap. The 1 1/18-mile race is the final major Thoroughbred stakes of the meet, which will wrap up on Tuesday.

Vamoose won the local prep, the $50,000 Curribot, by more than three lengths in his last start Feb. 12. Forest Mouse, meanwhile, was second in that same1 1/16-mile race at Sunland.

“I feel strongly about both of them,” said Dominguez. “I expect big efforts from both of them.”

Forest Mouse will be making his second start for Dominguez after moving to the New Mexico circuit from Arizona. The race Sunday will also be his second start since December.

“We had only gotten him three weeks before he ran in the last stakes, and he has really come around,” said Dominguez. “The horse has been working brilliantly.”

Forest Mouse, who is a multiple stakes winner, has fired consecutive bullets for the Sunland Park Handicap. He went five-eighths in 59 seconds on April 1, then returned with another five-furlong move on April 8, covering the distance in 1:00.40. Alejandro Medellin has the mount on the horse, who is a 4-year-old by Teton Forest.

Vamoose has won three stakes in his last six starts, and in the Curribot stalked the pace before pulling clear of his rivals in the stretch. Enrique Gomez has the mount again Sunday.

“Vamoose won the prep for this one and he hasn’t changed at all,” said Dominguez. “He does everything that you ask him to do.”

The field of nine also includes Red Lead, the runner-up in the $50,000 Winsham Lad at Sunland in his last start Jan. 8. Before that race, he won a $25,000 optional claiming route at the track Dec. 21. Ry Eikleberry has the mount for trainer Chris Hartman.

Monterey Jazz and Matto Mondo, who have both made starts this winter at Santa Anita, are also part of the field Sunday. Monterey Jazz was sixth in the Curribot last out in what was his first start since November. Matto Mondo was claimed for $25,000 out of a sixth-place finish in a one-mile turf race at Santa Anita on March 31.

◗ The program also includes the Grade 1, $100,000 West Texas Futurity for Quarter Horses. The 300-yard race is led by War Front, an undefeated gelding who has closed from off the pace to win each of his starts by a nose. The other 2-for-2 starter in the field is the filly Xquizit.