02/28/2008 1:00AM

Tailgunner Tom enters Maiden off big trial win


Off his dominating trial win, fastest qualifier Tailgunner Tom will be a prohibitive favorite in the $134,000 Maiden Stakes at Los Alamitos on Saturday night.

The Maiden Stakes is restricted to horses who were maidens on Dec. 1, 2007, and Tailgunner Tom is a perfect match for those conditions. Although he was a maiden until his trial win on Feb. 9, the Corona Cartel colt had finished second by a neck in last October's Grade 1 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity and came into his Maiden Stakes trial off a string of four straight runner-up efforts.

In the PCQHRA Breeders Futurity, Tailgunner Tom had a troubled start, but still pressured winner Ancient Ruler at the Maiden Stakes distance of 350 yards. He then rolled through his Maiden Stakes trial with a 1 1/4-length win in 17.35 seconds, the fastest qualifying time by 0.20 second.

"With this horse the talent has always been there," said trainer Paul Jones, who has four Maiden Stakes runners. "He didn't just get good all of a sudden. The drop in competition made all the difference."

Jones also sends out Sunbrook Lane, winner of 2 of 3 starts; Shescheckinumout, winner of two straight races; and Gather the Roses, a maiden who has finished third or better in each of her three starts.

Top two from Shue Fly get a rematch

DPI Good Boy and Blazin N Shakin, the top two finishers in the Grade 1 Shue Fly Stakes, are set for a rematch in the Grade 1, $125,000 New Mexico Horse Breeders Stakes for 3-year-old statebreds at Sunland Park on Sunday.

DPI Good Boy won the Shue Fly by a head over Blazin N Shakin on Jan. 5, each horse's most recent start. It was the fourth win from six starts for DPI Good Boy. Blazin N Shakin won the Grade 3 Senorita Stakes at the Downs at Albuquerque.

Gilbreath to sit out summer racing

Two-time All American Futurity-winning trainer Dwayne Gilbreath, 62, will not have his customary string of horses at Ruidoso Downs this summer.

Gilbreath says that "his plate is loaded" and he wants to stay at his Brock, Texas, ranch and "rehab some horses." He plans on running at Remington Park this spring and then sending some of his horses, primarily futurity and derby horses, to other trainers at Ruidoso Downs.

Gilbreath won the Grade 1 All American Futurity in 1983 with On a High and in 1991 with Refrigerator, still the all-time leading money earner among Quarter Horses. Gilbreath won the Grade 1 Rainbow Derby six times in a 10-year stretch (1992-2001). He has also won the Grade 1 All American Derby twice, the Grade 1 Rainbow Futurity three times, the Grade 1 Ruidoso Derby four times, and the Grade 1 Ruidoso Futurity twice. All of those stakes are at Ruidoso Downs.

Gilbreath anticipates a summer return to Ruidoso Downs in 2009.

"I love Ruidoso," he said. "I'll be back."

Ruidoso announces stakes schedule

The Quarter Horse stakes schedule at Ruidoso Downs will be topped by the 50th running of the Grade 1, $2 million All American Futurity and will include three derbies with estimated total purses of more than $1.7 million.

The summer season at Ruidoso Downs starts on May 23, and that program will be devoted to the trials to the Grade 1, $500,000 Ruidoso Futurity. Juveniles will point to the Grade 1, $625,000 Rainbow Futurity on July 20 and the All American Futurity on Labor Day, the meet's closing day.

Derby horses, led by last year's All American Futurity winner Heartswideopen, will target the Grade 1, $400,000 Ruidoso Derby, the Grade 1, $500,000 Rainbow Derby, and the Grade 1, $850,000-estimated All American Derby. If the All American Derby reaches its projected purse, it will have a higher purse than any Quarter Horse derby run in 2007.