04/16/2009 12:00AM

Wind Water tops Inaugural

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The $40,000 Inaugural Handicap kicks off the SunRay 2009 stakes schedule, with older performers slated to go 6 1/2 furlongs. Saturday's feature will go as the ninth of 10 races on the season's second day of action.

The highweight is the 7-year-old Wind Water at 124 pounds. The Chris Hartman charge comes off a solid win in the Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes at Sunland. That victory was Wind Water's 19th in a distinguished 51-race career that has seen him amass more than $765,000 in earnings. He is showing no signs of slowing down and will rule a short-priced favorite Saturday. Brian Theriot has the call to ride.

Loves Bonus, fourth to Wind Water in the Bill Thomas and a winner at SunRay last May, rates next in the weights at 120 pounds. The Oklahoma-bred son of Bonus Time Cat finished in front of Wind Water in the five-furlong Budweiser, also at Sunland, in early February after stalking the early pace. He will probably be part of the pace Saturday and will have regular rider Ricardo Jaime in the irons.

Others in the field include Hot Flame, who will be making his first start of the year; Noble Truth, also expected to be part of the pace picture; Austin Lights, winner of the latest Sunland Park Claiming Challenge; and Happy Humor, third in the Bill Thomas in his last trip postward.