06/12/2006 11:00PM

Blinkers invigorate Red State

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Red State may have found his best form at a perfect time.

A maiden winner on May 27, makes his first start against winners in a $49,000 allowance at Hollywood Park on Thursday. A big performance could lead to a start in the Real Good Deal Stakes for California-breds at Del Mar on Aug. 11.

"We're looking at that race on Thursday first," trainer Marty Jones said. "Hopefully [the Real Good Deal] will be a goal down the road."

Owned by Harris Farms, Red State needed six races to beat maidens, but did so in emphatic fashion. Leading throughout, he pulled away to win a seven-furlong race by 4 1/2 lengths.

"We put blinkers on him and that helped quite a bit," Jones said.

Red State has been part of a successful Hollywood Park meeting this spring for Jones. Through Sunday, Jones had 5 wins from 37 starters, with 12 second- or third-place finishes.

Red State set a blistering pace in his maiden win - early fractions of 21.60 and 43.88 seconds. He is expected to race near the front in Thursday's seventh race at 6 1/2 furlongs.

The field of eight includes the Arizona invader Win to Win; Quiten Boy, who has been second and third in his last two starts at this level; and Mud Light, an exciting maiden winner in 2004 who has not started in 26 months.

Win to Win drew the outside post. Trained by Eric Kruljac, Win to Win was second in two minor stakes at Turf Paradise earlier this year. Since arriving in Southern California last month, Win to Win has worked well, including five furlongs in 59.40 seconds at Santa Anita on May 27.

Quiten Boy has a modest career record of 2 wins in 22 starts, but has run well this year. He is a threat from off the pace, which could lead to a placing if the pace takes too much of a toll on several runners.

Mud Light is more difficult to assess. He defeated maidens by 12 lengths in his debut at Santa Anita in April 2004, but was injured after that race. Trained by Jeff Mullins, Mud Light has worked consistently in recent weeks, including six furlongs in 1:12.80. Mullins has a good record of horses returning from layoffs, but winning after a break of more than two years will be a challenge.