12/06/2007 12:00AM

Pace setup favors Reporting for Duty

EmailReporting for Duty should get all the pace he needs to fuel his late run Saturday, when he attempts to give his connections their second win in the $100,000 Zia Park Derby. Reporting for Duty races for Bob and Cathy Zollars, who along with trainer Steve Asmussen and jockey Luis Quinonez won the inaugural Zia Derby in 2005 with Real Dandy.

Reporting for Duty looks like a strong favorite. He will face five others in the 1 1/16-mile race, most notably Follow My Moon and Devil Red, both front-runners stretching out to two turns. The Zia Derby also drew stakes winner Forty Acres, who in his last two starts set the pace in the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby and $300,000 Oklahoma Derby.

Reporting for Duty rallied for second in the Oklahoma Derby, as did Real Dandy in his start leading up to the Zia Derby. The Oklahoma Derby was Reporting for Duty's first start since June.

"He ran really well," said Asmussen. "I think he ran his race. We were beaten by Going Ballistic that day, and I think we were just second-best."

Reporting for Duty earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 96 for his effort in the Oklahoma Derby. Earlier in the year, he finished second in the Grade 2 Illinois Derby and third in the Grade 2 Ohio Derby. Reporting for Duty's schedule then was interrupted when he suffered a cut to his eyelid which kept him on the sidelines until the Oklahoma Derby on Oct. 21.

"It's disappointing over him cutting his eyelid, because I think he really missed some financial opportunity," said Asmussen. "He had just run third in the Ohio Derby, and there were some very nice

3-year-old races that he was forced to miss."

But that injury is behind Reporting for Duty, who on Saturday figures to be coming after Forty Acres late. Forty Acres won the $100,000 Prelude at Louisiana Downs in August.

Another horse who would benefit from a quick pace is Sumac, who in his last start was a close fourth against older rivals in the $63,000 Veteran at Zia. Cliff Berry has the mount for trainer John Hall.

* Zia set a single-card handle record Monday, when $1,121,229 was bet on the track's 11-race program. Of that amount, $1,055,417 was bet on the track's races off-site. The Zia meet ends Tuesday.