04/26/2007 12:00AM

Welch holds strong hand in Copper Top


The next wave of budding New Mexico-bred stars run at Sunland Park Saturday in the $200,869 Copper Top Futurity. The 4o1/2-furlong race for statebred juveniles attracted a field of 10 on the penultimate card of the meeting.

Trainer Michael Welch holds a strong hand, with likely favorite Run Like Fire and the filly Premeditated Legs.

Run Like Fire has won both his starts. A son of Premeditation owned and bred by Mary Bowden, he won his debut here March 16 by three lengths, then came back April 10 and an allowance race by 1o1/2 lengths while racing very wide part of the way. Travis Cunningham, aboard for the first two starts, has the call again.

Premeditated Legs takes on males after a strong maiden win at Sunland on April 10 in her second start. She added blinkers in that race and that seemed to have her more focused. Her 64 Beyer Speed Figure that day compares well with Run Like Fire's winning figure (68). Ricardo Jaime, up for her first two races, keeps the mount on Premeditated Legs.

Grandest Slam finished a close second April 10 in his only start. The horse he lost to by a half-length was Booming Pleasure, a filly who runs back Saturday. She rallied smartly after a sluggish start in that April 10 race, her only start.

Unbridled F Five showed courage in his debut on April 10, dueling for the lead and winning by three-quarters of a length. Picabo Ghost and Brax, who finished second and third behind him, are back for more.

After His Money finished second in his only start, nearly three lengths behind Premeditated Legs April 10. A son of Gone Hollywood, he was the 3-5 favorite.

The meet ends Sunday.