04/27/2007 12:00AM

Water Park favored in Czaria


Last year Water Park ran on gallantly to finish second in the Czaria Handicap at Sunland Park. She looks to do one better Sunday in the $50,000 Czaria, which brings an end to Sunland's 2006-2007 meeting. The six-furlong event for fillies and mares drew a field of nine and goes as the 12th race on a 13-race program.

Water Park, trained by Patti Shirley, will hate to see the Sunland meet end. After last year's Czaria, she shipped to the East Coast with trainer Christophe Clement, but found no success at Suffolk, Belmont and Aqueduct. She was freshened and returned to Sunland and Shirley. While it's taken her a while to get going, she appears to be hitting on all cylinders now.

Water Park was third in the Feb. 24 Santa Teresa here, rallying well after a slow start. She has since posted two smart allowance wins, giving her six wins, all at Sunland. Regular rider Travis Cunningham keeps the mount from the rail.

The horse to fear most may be New Mexico-bred Skirt Alert. Trained by O.D. Jamison, she moves into the open ranks here and comes sharp. She rattled off three straight sprint wins during the fall and winter before finishing third in the one-mile Sydney Valentini here March 24. The move back to a sprint may be key. Duane Sterling rides.

Tempting Date and White She Devil were second and third behind Water Park in both her recent allowance wins. Both have loads of speed and figure to be knocking heads early.

Kranky Karol is the last horse to have beaten Water Park, as she won the Santa Teresa. She was third in the one-mile Harry Henson here March 18 and figures to enjoy moving back to a sprint.

The New Mexico racing scene shifts to Sun Ray Park from May 3 through July 15. Ruidoso Downs runs May 25 through Sept. 3. Racing returns to Sunland Park on Dec. 14.