09/08/2006 12:00AM

Desert Sea gets his best distance again

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BOSSIER CITY, La. - Following two failed attempts at middle distances, Desert Sea returns to seven furlongs and rates a strong favorite in Sunday's $35,000 optional claiming feature at Louisiana Downs. Desert Sea is 2 for 2 at seven furlongs.

"This is what we have been waiting for," said trainer Pat Mouton on Friday morning.

Mouton claimed Desert Sea for owner Stanley Seelig for $20,000 at Oaklawn Park in early March, out of a two-turn mile race that Desert Sea won by two lengths. Desert Sea was tried at seven furlongs in his third start for Mouton on May 13 and won by two lengths. Another seven-furlong race and win came in his next start in June, before Mouton elected to try Desert Sea on the turf. The result was a forgettable last-place finish in his turf debut, before he rebounded with a third-place finish July 22 in a $40,000 optional claimer at a mile and 70 yards and around two turns.

Heart Appeal appears to be Desert Sea's primary opposition and should be a pace factor from post 1.

Three accidents in a row

Friday was a tough day at Louisiana Downs as a string of bizarre incidents occurred in three successive races.

In the third race, Furs Gonna Fly lost her action late in the turn of the $20,000 claiming sprint and unseated rider Luis Quinonez. The horse bore out badly soon after and slammed into the outside rail, flipping over it and landing in an adjacent drainage ditch. Quinonez appeared uninjured and Furs Gonna Fly eventually got up after some coaxing and was eventually loaded into the horse ambulance.

In the fourth race, Cliff's Secretary, a Louisiana-bred maiden, unseated Quinonez's younger brother Alonso prior to the start, ran off and impaled himself on the inside rail at the five furlong turf gap. Quinonez was not hurt but Cliff's Secretary died almost immediately due to trauma to the chest.

The fifth race produced another serious incident when the maiden Power Jeans stumbled badly just after the start, catapulting rider Stephanie Judkins into the air. Judkins was put on a backboard and transported to nearby Willis Knighton Medical Center. The extent of her injuries was not known late Friday afternoon.