08/30/2006 12:00AM

Mr. Pursuit's closing style key in Prelude


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Mr. Pursuit, fresh off a solid third-place performance against older rivals in the Ark-La-Tex Handicap at Louisiana Downs, returns to his own age group as he heads the cast for Friday's $100,000 Prelude Stakes. He will take on eight rivals in the 1 1/16-mile test, which offers an all-fees-paid berth in the Sept. 23 Super Derby to the winner.

In addition to the move back to 3-year-olds, Mr. Pursuit's running style should also prove effective. This year's edition of the Prelude came up deep with early speed, and the Joe Petalino-trained Mr. Pursuit should find the table set for a big late run.

"We are pleased with the expected pace scenario," Petalino said."That and the distance should suit him, as well. We had him in a couple of races at a mile, and I just think he is better at a mile and a sixteenth or a mile and an eighth."

Jamie Theriot, aboard for Mr. Pursuit's maiden win and an entry-level allowance score at Oaklawn Park in the spring, returns to ride on Friday.

Front-running His Eyes could be a force in the Prelude, despite facing early pressure, which is unlikely to result in another 24-second opening quarter, which he took advantage of while winning the one-mile Alysheba Stakes at Lone Star in early July over Mr. Pursuit and others.

His Eyes has won 4 of his 7 starts and has never finished worse than second on dirt. The Bret Calhoun-trained runner drew the rail, which can help in his attempt to pull off another wire job. Leading rider Carlos Gonzalez will be in the saddle.

One of several expected to battle His Eyes in the early going is the Tom Amoss-trained Scion.

The easiest of winners at Arlington Park in a one-turn mile in his most recent start, Scion has a 2-for-2 record going two turns. He graduated going 1 1/16 miles at Hawthorne last October and then won in his first try against winners at Evangeline Downs in his next start. Jose Riquelme will ride.

* Zarb's Dahar, a winner of 11 races win from 13 local starts who was second in last month's Louisiana Downs Champions Day Sprint, makes a rare appearance in allowance company on Friday's undercard. He will take on six foes in the fifth race of the day.