06/26/2007 11:00PM

'Bleu Eyes' moves up the ladder


EDMONTON, Alberta - Miki Bleu Eyes seeks his third straight victory at his favorite one-mile distance as he steps up to face six rival $22,000 claimers at Northlands Park on Friday.

Miki Blue Eyes, a 9-year-old gelding, came alive at the Stampede Park meet for trainer Dale Saunders when stretched out to a mile, winning for $13,000 and $17,500 under well-timed moves by returning rider Quincy Welch. This race lacks early foot save for Viscount Victor G, and Welch will likely have Miki Bleu Eyes positioned closer to the lead.

Alberta's claimer of the year in 2006 after recording seven victories, Viscount Victor G has faltered in his last three starts and would require a much-improved effort to threaten here. Viscount Victor G is dropping a notch from the $30,000 claiming ranks and will break from the outside.

Dual Fuel also drops from the $30,000 claiming ranks. In his latest, Dual Fuel was away slowly and made up lots of ground late to run a distant second to Rapid 'n Ready. That mile went in an extremely fast time of 1:36.80 over a course favoring speed, and Dual Fuel can be a factor here if he breaks alertly.

The deep closer in the field is Second Time Clever, who was third to Miki Bleu Eyes last out in his first mile attempt of the year. Second Time Clever was claimed that day by trainer Ron Grieves and is eligible to improve as he makes just his third start of the campaign.