06/22/2004 11:00PM

Lozano finds success early in season


The Niner Account, who has won 10 of his last 13 starts, might get his first shot at stakes company next month after winning a starter allowance at Lone Star Park on Sunday.

Martin Lozano, who trains the popular horse, said he and owner Gary Owens are looking at the $125,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap on July 4.

"We're thinking about taking him to Prairie Meadows," said Lozano.

Owens claimed The Niner Account for $20,000 at Oaklawn in February. The horse won that day, and has since won four more races for Owens. He raced on turf Sunday, and remained undefeated in three career starts on the surface after he won by a length under regular rider Cliff Berry.

"He's pretty neat," said Lozano. "He's a racehorse. He's just a racehorse. He's a big, stout horse and he's really a nice horse. Just like a pony. He's not aggressive at all."

In his career, The Niner Account, who is 6, has won 12 of 18 starts and $170,320. He is a son of Unaccounted For.

Lozano trained for a brief while in 1997 in New Mexico. After working as an assistant trainer and exercise rider, he returned to training in August 2003 when offered a private position by Owens. The Niner Account would give him his first win in a stakes, were he to capture the Iowa Sprint.

Lozano, 41, has a 30-horse stable at Lone Star, and will soon begin racing at Louisiana Downs as well. He has the highest win percentage of any trainer this month at Lone Star, having won with 6 of 12 starters since June 1. He is in his first season at the track, and ranks fifth in the standings to leader Steve Asmussen.

"I'm very happy with what we've done here," he said. "It's not easy here."

Lozano has been one of the more active claiming trainers at the meet, and said he has claimed 14 horses at Lone Star. He has lost seven head. One of his recent claims, Wild Pro, will run in the sixth race Friday night at Lone Star.

The gelding won a conditioned claimer for Lozano in his last start and will move into the open claiming ranks on Friday.

Kristina's Wish, who has won three consecutive races since being claimed by Lozano in March, could step into stakes company in the near future. Lozano said she is a candidate for the $50,000 Margarita Breeders' Cup at Retama Park.

"She's really doing good," he said.

As for Lozano's 2-year-olds, they should start running in the next week. First on deck is Mr. Charisma, who is from the first crop of Charismatic. Mr. Charisma is a half-brother to Flipforthegold, a stakes winner of $173,571.