06/10/2005 12:00AM

Two stars come out at Ruidoso


The undefeated 2-year-old Leading Spirit and the return of All American Futurity winner DM Shicago headline a strong pair of stakes for Quarter Horses on Sunday's program at Ruidoso Downs.

Leading Spirit, the fastest qualifier for the Grade 1, $500,000 Ruidoso Futurity, has been sensational while winning his first four career starts. After winning his maiden at Sunland Park, he set the fastest qualifying time to the Grade 1 West Texas Futurity and then won the West Texas by an easy three-quarters of a length in a stakes record 14.92 seconds for the 300 yards, just .01 off the world record.

One of three Special Leader offspring in the Ruidoso Futurity, Leading Spirit dominated the 17 Ruidoso Futurity trials with a 17.17-second win for the 350 yards. The time was .14 quicker than second-fastest qualifier Separate Tac, who should improve in the finals after winning her trial in her second start.

Also trying to topple Leading Spirit from the 2-year-old division leadership will be Grade 2 Remington Park Futurity winner Crater Lake, undefeated in three starts, and West Texas Futurity runner-up Ladys Is First.

DM Shicago's return to stakes action in the Grade 2, $270,450 Ruidoso Derby will be a strenuous test with him as he faces three other Grade 1 futurity winners in 2004 - Thewayouwantmetoo, A Stone Runaway, and Eye Yin You - and All American Futurity fastest qualifier Mighty Invictus.

DM Shicago was given a long rest after winning the $2 million All American on Labor Day, returning on May 28 to finish a neck behind Mighty Invictus in their Ruidoso Derby trial. Mighty Invictus, also making his first appearance since the All American, finished fifth in that race behind DM Shicago.

Mighty Invictus's time of 19.643 was the third-fastest time, while DM Shicago, who also finished second to Mighty Invictus in their All American trial, was timed in 19.674.

Rainbow Futurity winner Thewayouwantmetoo drew off to win her Ruidoso Derby trial by 1 1/4 lengths in 19.703.

West Texas Futurity winner A Stone Runaway overcame a slow start to finish a nose behind sixth-fastest qualifier Look Forward in their trial. Look Forward was timed in 19.732 and A Stone Runaway, the fastest qualifier to the 2004 Ruidoso Futurity, was timed in 19.742.

Winners Award, a 12-1 outsider, set the fastest qualifying time from the five Ruidoso Futurity trials with a 19.409 time for 400 yards while winning by 2 3/4 lengths over All American Juvenile winner Desiro and Eye Yin You, winner of the Remington Park Futurity and Remington Park Derby.

Hardy trio strong at Canterbury

Trainer Ed Hardy is in the enviable position of sending out three of the four fastest qualifiers to the Grade 3, $54,180 Bayer Legend Central Challenge at Canterbury Park on Sunday.

The Hardy-trained First Start Muggins set the fastest qualifying time of 20.135 for 400 yards when he defeated stablemate and second-fastest qualifier Runaway Gold by a nose.

CS Night Light, the third Hardy qualifier, won her trial in 20.321 for the fourth-fastest qualifying time.