11/10/2005 1:00AM

Mr. Trieste seeks seventh straight win


Less than a week ago, Rocky Gulch won a Zia Park stakes while spotting his rivals between 10 and 18 pounds. This weekend, a similar task falls to Mr. Trieste. He will give away 8 to 19 pounds on Saturday, when he attempts to win his seventh straight race in Zia's $75,000 Veterans.

Mr. Trieste is the 126-pound highweight in the 1 1/16-mile handicap, where he will face five rivals, including four stakes winners: R. Associate, Go Kitty Go, Long Range, and Don't Strike Out.

Mr. Trieste set a track record at Zia when he won the $65,000 Kachina Mile in 1:36.60 in his last start Oct. 22. He worked a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.20 on Nov. 5, and is out to continue a winning streak that dates back to September 2004, when he won the Albuquerque Derby.

He went on to win two allowances at Sunland, in November and December. Mr. Trieste was then turned out after a busy 3-year-old campaign, and when he returned to action in August, he won an allowance at Ruidoso. Then came a stakes win at SunRay Park, and the Kachina.

Mr. Trieste has won 6 of 7 starts since being claimed for $30,000 at Ellis Park in August 2004 by owner Richard Lueck and trainer Gary Cross.

Mr. Trieste, who is out of Angel's Tearlet, a stakes winner of $280,051, was well-regarded as a young horse, Cross said. He won his maiden at Churchill Downs in his second career start, defeating eventual Grade 2 winner Bwana Charlie. Two races later, Mr. Trieste was third to Sir Shackleton, another eventual Grade 2 winner, in an entry-level allowance.

For the Veterans, he will break from post 6.

"He's pretty versatile," said Cross. "You can do about anything with him, send him to the lead or bring him from off of it. It doesn't matter to him."

Cross has given the mount to Ken Tohill.