04/21/2004 12:00AM

Top qualifier Redman Running one to beat


Redman Running, winner of last year's Remington Park Futurity, deserves to be favored in the Grade 1, $75,800 Remington Park Derby on a Saturday card that also includes the Grade 1, $169,216 Remington Park Futurity.

Last year, Redman Running was Oklahoma's premier 2-year-old, winning both the Remington Park Futurity and the Grade 3 American Airlines Oklahoma Challenge. Redman Running proved that he fit with top-caliber competition nationwide when he went to Los Alamitos and finished second in the Grade 1, $150,000 American Airlines Juvenile Challenge Championship, behind Willie Works.

Redman Running has returned in peak form this year, winning his Remington Park Derby trial on April 2 in his first start since Nov. 1. His 2 1/4-length victory in 19.878 seconds was the fastest qualifying time. The next fastest qualifier, Miss Racy Eyes, was timed in 20.124 seconds. This .246-second differential in qualifying times is huge in Quarter Horse racing.

Miss Racy Eyes, the winner of a minor futurity last year, was also making her 2004 debut in the trials, and won by a neck.

In the Remington Park Futurity, fastest qualifier Separate Rainbow is one of three finalists from trainer Rodney Reed. He will also saddle Tours Quick Miracle and Eyesa Storm.

Separate Rainbow made his career debut in the April 3 trials and won by a half-length in 17.976 seconds for the 400 yards. He is sired by Separatist, who is quickly becoming the leading freshman sire of 2004, with two of the four fastest qualifiers to the Remington Park Futurity and numerous first-out winners at Los Alamitos this spring.

Hall of fame trainer Jack Brooks has the third- and fourth-fastest qualifiers, Mighty Invictus and Eye Yin You, respectively. Both horses made their career debut in the trials, with Mighty Invictus finishing second behind Separate Rainbow and Eye Yin You winning.

Fools Affair steps up in Seal Beach

Fools Affair, a winner of 5 of 7 career starts, makes his first Los Alamitos stakes start when he faces five 3-year-olds in the $15,000 Seal Beach Handicap on Friday night.

All-time leading Los Alamitos trainer Blane Schvaneveldt took over the training of Fools Affair last winter after the gelding had won all five of his starts last year in Utah and Wyoming, including two futurities. For Schvaneveldt, Fools Affair ran third in his Winter Derby trial and was second in a strong allowance race.

The 350-yard Seal Beach also attracted the top two finishers in the Dillingham Handicap, Ze Eye and He Could Be the One, both trained by Paul Jones. Ze Eye was fourth in the Winter Derby and He Could Be the One won two consecutive races before finishing second in the Dillingham as the odds-on favorite.

First Kool Baby back in derby

First Kool Baby, winner of the 2003 Firecracker Futurity, makes his 2004 stakes debut in the Grade 2, $84,230 Manor Downs Derby on Saturday afternoon.

He made his 2004 debut in the trials on April 10, winning the third of five trials by a length in 17.490 seconds for the 350 yards. Last year, he won 4 of 5 starts.

Be a Bono gearing up for return

The undefeated Be a Bono will return to trainer Dan Francisco's barn at Los Alamitos next week to prepare for the Governor's Cup Derby trials on June 5, according to his owner, Spencer Childers.

"He didn't need any surgery. I just didn't want to keep him at the track," said Childers, a 92-year-old hall of fame owner. "It's hard on them to stay there for 12 months a year. They always come back better after a little rest."

Be a Bono won the 2003 Golden State Futurity and raised his record to 6 wins in 6 starts in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby on Feb. 27 in his most recent start.