02/02/2006 12:00AM

Don't Strike Out on deck for third straight win


Don't Strike Out seeks to keep his momentum going, toting high weight of 120 pounds while going after his third consecutive victory in the $50,000 Curribot Handicap at Sunland Park. The 1 1/16-mile race has a field of eight, with Don't Strike Out, winner of the recent Winsham Lad here, the likely favorite.

Don't Strike Out, 6, owned by Richard Kasuda and trained by Ray Carlisle Jr., may be in sharp form but he doesn't have much margin for error.

Don't Strike Out, a winner of 13 of 39 starts and over $211,000, came back from a late summer freshening for three straight solid outings in stakes at Zia Park. In all three outings he couldn't quite defeat Mr. Trieste.

He came to Sunland Park and got back on track, edging away late to win an allowance race Dec. 20. That set him up for the one-mile Winsham Lad Handicap here Jan. 7. He pressed the pace, took the lead in midstretch, and gamely held by a neck despite stumbling in the final furlong. The horse he beat narrowly that day, Broke Sharply, he will face again Saturday.

Mark Villa rides Don't Strike Out at 120 pounds.

Broke Sharply, owned by Richard Lueck and trained by Gary Cross, dueled on the lead in the Zia Park Derby Dec. 3 and finished third behind the talented Real Dandy. He then came to Sunland for the Winsham Lad, and gave way late to Don't Strike Out after making the early pace. He received three pounds from Don't Strike Out in the Winsham Lad; this time he gets four pounds. Ken Tohill rides at 116 pounds.

Jazzy Gallop, the second highweight at 118 pounds, invades for trainer Steve Asmussen after facing some tough opposition in the Midwest. Owned by Cathy and Bob Zollars, Jazzy Gallop does his best running in the lane and last year won a strong optional claimer on the dirt at the Fair Grounds and a stakes on the turf at Lone Star. Brian Peck rides.

Go Kitty Go rallied strongly to be second to Skip and Go, one of the top local older horses, in an allowance race here Jan. 22. Owned by Vernon and Sylvia Hauschild and trained by Mac Miller, he will be ridden by Casey Lambert at 117 pounds.

Turf Paradise

Muir Beach did everything right in the Kachina Handicap at Turf Paradise Jan. 14. Trouble was, she didn't win.

But that race marked her first outing in over five months, so Muir Beach might now be set for her best race, and that could be bad news for her opposition in the $40,000 Princess of Palms Handicap at Turf Paradise. The six-furlong race for fillies and mares lured nine, among them Kresgeville, who spoiled Muir Beach's comeback run, and Lil Easy, an early sizzler in the best form of her life.

But the race goes through Muir Beach. Last season's co-horse of the meet, she has had a marvelous career. Owned by Dennis Weir and trained by Dan McFarlane, Muir Beach, 5, has won 10 of 28 starts and has 10 seconds for earnings of over $355,000. She won this race last year, beating some of the same foes she meets again Saturday.

After a super Turf Paradise meet last year, in which she won five stakes, she shipped to Southern California and did well, finishing fourth in the Grade 3 Hawthorne at Hollywood Park, fourth in the Tranquility Lake on the turf there, third in the Grade 2 A Gleam at Hollywood, and sixth in the Grade 2 Clement L. Hirsch at Del Mar in August.

She received time off and returned in last month's one-mile Kachina, a race she also won in 2005. She finished strongly, but couldn't reel in the winner, Kresgeville. Muir Beach will be ridden by Joel Campbell.

Meanwhile, Kresgeville on Saturday can prove that the Kachina win no fluke. Owned by the Sandra Hall Trust and trained by Lyman Rollins, Kresgeville set the pace that day but was under constant pressure. Four of her five career wins have come at Turf Paradise, and while she led wire to wire last time, she has shown she can stalk and finish while sprinting. Glenn Corbett rides Kresgeville.

Lil Easy makes this more than a two-horse race. Owned and trained by Jacque Guerra, the 5-year-old mare has blistering speed and has won three of her last four starts, including the Kathryn Doll and Excess Energy. She was last seen dueling on the lead in the 4 1/2-furlong Quick N Cool on the turf here Jan. 8, and couldn't outfinish Southern California invader Fortunately. Lil Easy has since had two bullet works. Vince Guerra rides at 118 pounds

* Turf Paradise will not hold live racing on Super Bowl Sunday. The track will still be open for full-card simulcasting. Live racing returns Monday and Tuesday.