02/18/2004 12:00AM

WinStar Derby nominations way up


SUNLAND PARK, N.M. - Early nominations for the $500,000 WinStar Derby closed on Sunday, and racing secretary Norm Amundson was delighted with the more than 90 subscriptions fielded by his office. "Last year we had 51 total, and by the time late mail nominations arrive we could wind up with 100 this time," Amundson said.

No fees were needed to make an early nomination to the WinStar, with $5,000 due to start. Supplemental nominations are due March 15 and carry a starting fee of $10,000.

Trainer Doug O'Neill, who sent out Excessivepleasure to win the inaugural WinStar Derby in 2003, has nominated six horses, including Grade 3 San Miguel winner Hosco and Best Pal winner Perfect Moon. Todd Pletcher has nominated 25 3-year-olds, including Grade 1 Spinaway winner Ashado and Grade 2 Sanford winner Chapel Royal. Bob Baffert, Richard Mandella, Steve Asmussen, and Elliott Walden also have multiple horses on the list.

The $100,000-added Borderland Derby on Feb. 29 is the local prep to the WinStar, and is sure to attract local favorite Rocky Gulch. A son of Dry Gulch owned and bred by Larry Teague, Rocky Gulch has won five of six career starts and is drawing comparisons to 1981 Preakness runner-up and fellow New Mexico-bred Bold Ego.

Rocky Gulch is expected to make his first start outside the friendly confines of restricted racing in the Borderland. On Tuesday morning he worked six furlongs in 1:12 under the supervision of trainer Terry Walker. Rocky Gulch last saw action in the Jan. 17 Pepsi Cola Handicap, dominating statebreds while covering six furlongs in 1:09.16.

* Jockey Carlos Madeira suffered a broken ankle Sunday morning when he was thrown from a horse who was warming up for a workout. Madeira is the regular rider of Riley Allison Futurity winner Tin Can Sailor, who is being pointed to the Borderland by trainer Joel Marr.

According to his agent, Rick Kloeppel, Madeira is scheduled to see a specialist Wednesday afternoon for a final prognosis. Madiera ranks eighth in the Thoroughbred standings at Sunland and is the fifth-leading Quarter Horse rider.

* On Tuesday morning jockey Nena Matz, one of the nation's top female riders, broke her wrist in a training accident. Matz finished second in the 2003 Remington Park standings with 76 wins and is currently in 11th place here. She is expected to be out four weeks, according to her agent, Pete Caparelli.