06/15/2005 11:00PM

High Strike Zone has legit alibi


If ever there was a race to draw a line through, it is High Strike Zone's trip in the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap on May 30. His bridle broke during the race, and he and his jockey, Ricky Faul, were fortunate to get home safely, let alone finish fifth after dueling through fast fractions.

Saturday, will be back in action, this time at Louisiana Downs, as the 119-pound highweight in the $50,000 Ark-La-Tex Handicap.

The 1 1/16-mile race drew eight older horses, including , a two-time stakes winner at the meet who is cross-entered in the $200,000 Dallas Turf Cup at Lone Star Park and will run in that race as long as it remains on turf, according to his trainer, Billy McKeever.

High Strike Zone went into the Lone Star Handicap off a career-best win, having used stalking tactics to capture the Grade 3 Texas Mile. But in the Lone Star, he moved up early on to challenge pacesetter Yessirgeneralsir.

"We didn't have the trip I thought we were going to have," said Faul. "My right rein broke going into the first turn, and with a broken rein, you can't rate. He went way too fast the first part, and it cost him the race. He's a nice horse."

High Strike Zone, who is trained by Amos Laborde, won the Texas Mile over Supah Blitz, who came back and won the Lone Star. High Strike Zone was further flattered when Twilight Road, third in the Texas Mile, returned in his next start to win the Grade 3 Memorial Day Handicap at Calder Race Course.

Faul has been aboard High Strike Zone for all three of the horse's stakes wins, and would like to get a stalking trip Saturday.

also figures to be close. A winner of two allowances in his last three starts, he invades from Lone Star for trainer Cody Autrey.

"I think he'll be about two lengths off the lead," said Autrey. "He can be on the lead if you want him to be, but he's such a big horse, he likes to get in stride and lay about a couple lengths off the lead. And he's got a real good quarter-mile kick. He can be in contention and finish really well."

Intelligent Male can also be close, and the multiple stakes winner will attempt to give his trainer, Cole Norman, a fourth straight win in the Ark-La-Tex.

The field is completed by Akanti, Roar on Tour, Dusty Spike, and Setemup Joe.