11/22/2006 12:00AM

Blasi colt may finally bag first stakes win


Western Prize appears to be sitting on a stakes win, and he can secure the first of his career in the $75,000 Eddy County, a one-mile race for 2-year-olds to be run during a special Friday card at Zia Park.

Others in the seven-horse field include Topper Power, a stakes winner who is 3 for 4, and the stakes-placed Bold Vow.

Western Prize has finished second or third in four consecutive stakes starts since August. He comes into the Eddy County off a runner-up finish in the $100,000 MEC Mile at Remington Park on Oct. 20. Before that, Western Prize was third in the $100,000 Juvenile at Louisiana Downs, second in the $100,000 El Joven at Retama Park, and second in the $50,000 Ellis Juvenile at Ellis Park.

"He's run very well this year for us, and he seems to be a very honest horse," said Scott Blasi, who trains Western Prize for Vinery Stables. "I expect a good effort out of him."

In addition to his encouraging record in stakes company, Western Prize also stands out in the Eddy County for his two-turn experience. His last three starts have come in two-turn stakes races, an ideal setup heading into the one-mile race on Friday.

"He definitely stays a mile, which I think is one of his best qualities," said Blasi. "A lot of the 2-year-olds this time of year don't, and I think that will be his biggest strength.

"He's been two turns. He goes a mile. Distance isn't a question for him, and he's gotten better as he's matured."

Western Prize is a closer and will race off the pace in the Eddy County. Jockey Roman Chapa has the mount on the colt, who will break from post 2.

The chief threat has drawn the rail. Topper Power won the first three races of his career, including a stakes at The Downs at Albuquerque in September. In his most recent start, he was fourth to runaway winner Eldon's Effort in the $66,000 Governor's at Zia on Oct. 29. Leading trainer Henry Dominguez has given the mount to Ken Tohill.