03/01/2007 12:00AM

Blazing Desert facing several speedsters


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Blazing Desert is trainer Lloyd Mason's miracle horse. A 4-year-old gelding, Blazing Desert has gone 2 for 2 since a stem cell treatment allowed him to return to the races after more than a year on the sidelines with a broken left hind sesamoid and suspensory injuries.

Blazing Desert moves up to allowance company Saturday at Bay Meadows in a six-furlong race that has been split into two divisions.

"He's a good horse, and I train him like a good horse," said Mason, who also bred and owns Blazing Desert. "He's been training well. Everything looks good."

Blazing Desert drew the rail in the field of seven, and that pretty much assures he will go for the lead. But there is speed drawn outside him in Elegant Ice, Touchdown Call, and Badgett's Best, who each is capable of running a sub-45-second half-mile.

Mason isn't concerned about the amount of speed in the race.

"He likes horses alongside him," Mason said. "He kind of plays with them. He likes to eyeball them. He's just competitive."

Mason always had high hopes for Blazing Desert, who ran 10th and last in his debut against eventual Kentucky Derby runner Cause to Believe.

"He had problems in the gate and didn't show much," said Mason, who gave the gelding seven weeks before his second start.

Blazing Desert showed improvement, setting the early pace before finishing second to next-out winner Puff of Smoke while in a $32,000 claiming race. He then missed by a head in a straight maiden race and then was second to multiple stakes-placed Barber in his next start before a training accident sidelined him.

Mason doesn't like to mess with success, but he does think Blazing Desert is more than a sprinter.

"I don't like to change when things are going well," he said, "but I'm not to sure he won't route and should be able to handle the turf as well."

Mason noted that Blazing Desert's dam, the stakes-placed Cicely Alaska, who is also the dam of talented 3-year-old Pacific Heat, "ran on all surfaces and distances."

The stalker Touchdown Call, who will be making his third start following an eight-month layoff, grabbed the lead in the lane at this level in his last start before finishing third, beaten a length. He may offer the strongest competition.

In the other division, Mom Is Ready, who missed by a nose when favored last time, should get a good trip behind Hot Tizzy. Blue Eyed Blond, making his first start in 16 months, has worked well for his comeback.