02/22/2007 1:00AM

Sam Houston: Northern Scene shortens it up a bit


Northern Scene will cut back to one of his best distances for Saturday night's $45,000 Tomball at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Sam Houston Race Park. The race is for Texas-breds, and it drew stakes winners Goosey Moose, General Charley, and Favorite Jazz.

Northern Scene's latest stakes win came in December at Sam Houston. He returns to the track off a sixth-place finish in the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup Handicap over 1 1/8 miles on turf Feb. 10.

"I think he's a better horse from a mile to a mile and a sixteenth," said Morris Nicks, who trains Northern Scene. "He faltered the other day going a mile and an eighth. And even when he won [in December], he faltered. He lost the lead and came back and got it."

Northern Scene won the $50,000 Richard King, a 1 1/8-mile race, by a neck at Sam Houston in December. The last time he ran 1 1/16 miles was two starts ago, when he ran one of the best races of his career, finishing a close fifth in the $100,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley at Fair Grounds on Jan. 13.

"He ran a real super race when he only got beat a length and a half," said Nicks of the Bradley. "He was about six wide at the quarter pole. That was a huge race, really. He was about four wide in the first turn."

Northern Scene earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 92, 1 point lower than his career-best Beyer Figure of 93 earned for his win in the $100,000 Texas Hall of Fame at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Retama.

Jamie Theriot has the mount.