04/06/2005 11:00PM

Desert Prospector owns hottest form


PHOENIX - He has never tried turf, but Desert Prospector's dazzling winter form still makes him the horse to beat in the $25,000 Arizona Stallion Stakes Saturday at Turf Paradise. The 7 1/2-furlong turf race restricted to Arizona-bred 3-year-olds has attracted a field of seven.

Desert Prospector, owned by Elizabeth Robison and trained by Bart Hone, hasn't run since Dec. 4, when he romped in the Arizona Breeders Futurity here. That race was at six furlongs on the dirt, and it followed a 12-plus-length romp in a six-furlong allowance race Nov. 19. While Desert Prospector hasn't run in four months, Hone wins 30 percent of the time off this kind of layoff.

Desert Prospector's pedigree says turf should be no problem. His sire, Big Sky Chester, was a stakes-caliber runner going long on turf both here and in Southern California. Some solid works over the past month indicate Desert Prospector is ready to go. Scott Stevens rides.

Buck's Wine gave Desert Prospector a scare when he closed for second at 48-1 in the Arizona Breeders Futurity, but his form has fluctuated greatly since. Buck's Wine came back with three straight dull outings in maiden races, and then won his maiden on the turf here while facing winners.

In his last two starts, Buck's Wine raced poorly in the Palo Verde, a dirt sprint, and the Tempe Handicap, a turf route. Trainer Glen Wasson named Adolfo Morales to ride.

Hollywood Payday comes off a fine first turf try. A son of Hollywood Reporter, Hollywood Payday rallied nicely to be third in a $12,500 mile turf claimer here on March 13. Joel Campbell rides.