12/26/2008 12:00AM

Master Mizzen likes to tussle

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NEW ORLEANS - You could say that it has been bad racing luck that has caused Master Mizzen to end up in the money more than in the winner's circle, but his trainer, David Carroll, doesn't believe it.

"He makes his own luck because he's one of those horses who like his trip to be compromised," said Carroll. "He seems to like to be bumped and blocked; when everything goes his way, he doesn't run as well."

Master Mizzen will have ample opportunity to mix it up with other horses when he meets a full field of 12 in Sunday's eighth race, a third-level allowance and optional claimer, going about a mile on the turf for a purse of $48,000.

Master Mizzen has had a solid 2008, finishing in the money in 7 of 8 races - but he has only one win to show for it. That win came May 29 at Churchill Downs in a one-mile allowance on the turf. In that race he was briefly blocked in the second turn before finding a path to win by a half-length.

His last race represents a prime example of the kind of racing luck Carroll believes Master Mizzen creates. In that race, an optional claiming race at Churchill on Nov. 22, Master Mizzen rallied six wide, nearly erasing a 10-length deficit, before running out of room and finishing second by a neck.

That race was his first back off a summer vacation, and he should be poised to move forward off that effort.

Trackerman, trained by Malcolm Pierce, also makes his second start off a layoff. In his first race back he was four wide on both turns, and still won by 1 1/2 lengths. He is a perfect 2 for 2 over the Fair Grounds turf course, though he either wins or fails to show up, with no second- or third-place finishes from 10 starts.

Getting into this race by running for the claiming price of $62,500 is General Charley, who was badly beaten in his last race, the Buddy Diliberto Handicap. That race was moved from the turf to a very sloppy track, and General Charley didn't take to the mud.

That was his first bad race since being claimed six races ago for $35,000, and General Charley should relish a return to the turf and shortening up to a mile. He'll be looking to push his earnings past the $400,000 mark with a winner's share of the purse.