05/26/2008 11:00PM

Master Mizzen likes crowd scene


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Trainers prefer clean trips for their horses, but in the rare case of Master Mizzen, a little traffic wouldn't hurt.

"It's like he needs trouble to keep his attention or something," said David Carroll, who trains Master Mizzen for breeder-owner Keene Ridge Racing. "When he made the lead by himself a few races back in New Orleans, he completely lost all his focus."

Master Mizzen, with Julien Leparoux to ride, looks like a major contender in a $45,200 second-level turf allowance, the richest of nine races to be run Thursday at Churchill Downs. With plenty of opposing speed to facilitate his late run, Master Mizzen should be tough to deny late, given a decent setup, said Carroll.

"On paper, it looks like a race with a lot of pace," said Carroll, who recently has become known primarily as the trainer of Denis of Cork, the third-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby and a prospective opponent for Big Brown in the upcoming Belmont Stakes. Master Mizzen, he added, "has been a source of frustration," having finished second or third in eight of 14 starts, "but the best thing about him is he can run. He should be able to get through this condition before too long, I'd hope."

Master Mizzen is one of nine 3-year-olds and upward, including one "main-track only" designee, entered in the fifth race, which is slated for a mile on the turf course.

The early runners to which Carroll alluded include Brilliant Bid, You Got Me Rocking, Red Alert, and Past the Point. Of those, You Got Me Rocking arguably comes off the best effort, having flashed his speed in winning here four weeks ago during Kentucky Derby week. Miguel Mena has a return call on You Got Me Rocking from trainer Garry Simms.

Past the Point is the puzzler of the group. A $400,000 purchase, the 4-year-old ridgling began his career in promising fashion but has stalled somewhat in recent tries for Darley Stable and trainer Eoin Harty. He will be making his turf debut Thursday.

One other turf allowance (race 8), an entry-level sprint, also is scheduled for Thursday. Carroll also has a prime contender in that one in Dictina Too, a 10 1/2-length winner of an April 27 maiden race. Eight fillies are entered against her, with Amanyara, Grand Obsession, Lily's Place, and Stonestreet Lady looking like the main opposition.

First post Thursday is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.