10/11/2006 11:00PM

Mr. Trieste on a roll

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Mr. Trieste is on another streak. Mr. Trieste, who won eight consecutive races from September 2004 to December 2005, will be looking for his third straight win on Saturday, when he cuts back to a sprint distance for the $60,000 Zia Express at Zia Park in Hobbs, N.M.

The 6 1/2-furlong race is a rare one-turn appearance for Mr. Trieste, whose victories during his last streak ranged in distance from 7 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. He has worked consecutive bullets at Zia for the turn back from 1 1/8 miles Saturday.

"He's sharp," said Gary Cross, who trains Mr. Trieste for Richard Lueck. "He's sprinted before, when he was a 2- or 3-year-old, and he outran some nice horses."

Lueck claimed Mr. Trieste as a 3-year-old in August 2004, and shipped him here from Kentucky, where he had won his maiden at 5 1/2 furlongs at Churchill. The horse has lost only once in New Mexico, in his first start here, and is 3 for 3 at Zia.

In his most recent start, Mr. Trieste went over $500,000 in earnings when he won the $75,000 San Juan County Commission Handicap at Sun Ray Park on Sept. 4. The runner-up from the race, Dignified Donovan, returned in his next start to win the New Mexico State Fair Handicap.

Mr. Trieste will try to catch the front-runner Dangerous Devon in the Express.

"If he stays within four or five lengths of them, they better not be stopping," said Cross, who has given the mount to Ken Tohill.