12/28/2007 12:00AM

Yonegwa comes into Futurity fresh and on hot streak

EmailYonegwa came onto the scene in New Mexico in September, and quickly established himself as one of the best 2-year-olds in the state. Sunday, he will be seeking his fourth straight stakes win when he starts in the $100,000 Riley Allison Futurity at Sunland Park.

The 6 1/2-furlong Futurity will go as the ninth, one race before the $50,000 Bold Ego.

Yonegwa's win streak dates back to Aug. 18, when he captured the $50,000 Ellis Juvenile at Ellis Park. Following that race, Double Eagle Ranch purchased the horse privately and sent him to New Mexico. In his first start in the state, Yonegwa was a 6 1/4-length winner of the $45,000 A.C. Kemp Handicap at Albuquerque on Sept. 29.

Yonegwa proceeded to travel to Zia Park, where he captured the $60,000 Governor's on Oct. 28. His connections then decided to pass on the next stakes for his division, the Eddy County at Zia on Nov. 23, and instead sent him to Sunland to prepare for the Riley Allison.

"We decided to give him a couple of months between these last two races," said Bennie Woolley Jr., who trains Yonegwa. "If we hadn't have, he would have had to run every 30 days. So, we decided to skip to the Riley and try to keep the horse a little fresh.

"He's been here a little over a month now," he said. "He's had four works here and the horse seems to handle the racetrack. He likes it here."

Yonegwa, a son of Kafwain, won a maiden special weight at Churchill Downs in June. As a career winner of 4 of 7 starts and $138,083, he ranks as the most accomplished horse in the seven-horse field Sunday.

"The colt's really a professional," said Woolley. "He doesn't make mistakes. For a young horse, for a 2-year-old, he's got a mind of steel. He really does things the right way every time."

Yonegwa, who has natural speed, will break from post 5 under regular rider Casey Lambert.

"He's obviously going to be up on the front tier," Woolley said of Yonegwa. "We're just going to play it by ear and see what the others do."

The chief threat could be Rapper S S, who in his last start rolled to a five-length win in a Sunland allowance on Dec. 16. For his effort he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 88, which is the highest last-race number in the field. Joe Martinez has the mount for trainer Henry Dominguez.

* In the Bold Ego, Kin to a Kitty, who has won her last three starts, is the 122-pound highweight. Others of note in the 5 1/2-furlong race for fillies and mares include Lauras Last Music, who last raced at Aqueduct, and Sweet Travel, who ships in from Hollywood Park for trainer Gary Mandella.

Kin to a Kitty was claimed for $25,000 on May 27, and after winning that day went on to capture the $69,000 Zia Park Distaff in October and a $40,000 optional claimer at Sunland on Dec. 12 in her subsequent starts. Brian Long has the mount for trainer Mac Millar.