03/30/2005 12:00AM

Three Grade 1's on Sunland card


Fastest qualifier A Long Goodbye, a four-length trial winner, meets Special Task Force in the Grade 1, $108,000 MBNA America New Mexico Challenge during a Sunday afternoon program of three Grade 1 stakes at Sunland Park.

Two-year-olds run in the Grade 1, $269,725 West Texas Futurity and New Mexico-bred 2-year-olds run in the Grade 1, $288,402 New Mexican Spring Futurity.

A Long Goodbye, winner of 15 of 32 career starts, from the claiming to stakes ranks, won his New Mexico Challenge trial by four lengths in an exceptional 20.88-second time for the 440 yards, approaching Kendall Jackson's track and world record of 20.73 seconds. Earlier this year, he was third in the West Texas Maturity and the KHEY Handicap, beaten by Special Task Force in each race.

The venerable stakes winner Special Task Force is also in peak form with three wins and a second, beaten a nose, in the West Texas Maturity in his last four starts. His wins include the KHEY Handicap and his Challenge trial under a hand ride.

In the West Texas Futurity, fastest qualifier Leading Spirit has won both of his starts by daylight. He won his trial by 2 1/4 lengths in 15.121 seconds for the 300 yards.

In the New Mexican Spring Futurity, fastest qualifier Big Chicken made his career debut in the March 15 trials and won by three-quarters of a length in 15.26 seconds for the 300 yards.