08/04/2004 12:00AM

Talented fields at Los Alamitos


Heros Call, the 2003 co-champion distance horse, will be a solid favorite to get his first 2004 victory in the $18,000 MD Barns Distance Challenge at Los Alamitos on Friday night.

The weekend at Los Alamitos is highlighted by the Grade 1, $141,000 Vessels Maturity on Saturday night. Buccaneer Beach, who nearly broke the 400-yard track record in his trial victory for the Vessels, is by far the race's fastest qualifier.

Heros Call, who raced to the four fastest 870-yard times at Los Alamitos last year, secured his portion of last year's distance championship when he won the Grade 1 Marathon Handicap on Dec. 14. A 4-year-old gelding owned and trained by Laura Pinelli, Heros Call has made just one start this year, a second-place finish in the 870-yard Jim Smith Handicap. In the Jim Smith he was the 3-5 favorite, but came up half-length short of Oak Canyon.

Available Credit makes his first start since finishing second to Heros Call in the Marathon as the 3-1 second choice. Last year he finished on the board in seven 870-yard stakes, winning three of those races.

In the Vessels Maturity, Buccaneer Beach comes off a stunning 2 3/4-length trial win, narrowly missing the 400-yard track record with a time of 19.380 seconds. Buccaneer Beach's time was just .04 of a second off Takin on the Cash's track record, which was set in 1990.

Buccaneer Beach, an $8,000 claimer last summer, has become a championship-caliber horse in the past year with a win in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Championship, a second-place effort in the Grade 2 California Challenge Championship, and a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Champion of Champions.

Mongoose Jet Eye won the first of two Vessels Maturity trials and recorded the second-fastest qualifying time when he won by a length in 19.530 seconds. Although Mongoose Jet Eye's time was fast, it was still a length slower than Buccaneer Beach's clocking.

Los Alamitos Championship winner Catchmeinyourdreams was second behind Mongoose Jet Eye in their trial while making his first 2004 start and that effort should set him up well for the Maturity finals. Last year he had runner-up efforts in the Champion of Champions and the MBNA America Challenge Championship.

Sky Lane Pie has reached the best form of his career in the past four months with back-to-back wins in the Kaweah Bar Handicap and the California Challenge Championship. He was third in his Maturity trial behind Buccaneer Beach.

Challenge races at Ruidoso and Arapahoe

Remington Park Futurity winner Eye Yin You looks for his second stakes win when he starts in the Grade 3, $70,110 Ford New Mexico Challenge for 2-year-olds on Sunday at Ruidoso Downs.

Eye Yin You won the Grade 1 Remington Park Futurity by a neck but lost his next two starts - both futurity trials - before winning his Ford Challenge trial by 2 1/4 lengths.

Also on Sunday, Streakin Kilobyte goes for his sixth straight win when he heads the Grade 3, $40,950 Bayer Legend West/Southwest Challenge for 3-year-olds at Arapahoe Park.

His streak includes wins in the Cottonwood Handicap, the Albuquerque Spring Derby, and his trial in which he set the fastest-qualifying time of 19.954 seconds for 400 yards.