08/10/2005 12:00AM

Thor's Echo stays home this time

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DEL MAR, Calif. - After being sent around the country in recent months in a failed search for a rich stakes win, Thor's Echo is staying home for Friday's $100,000 Real Good Deal Stakes at Del Mar.

Trainer Doug O'Neill is hoping that sending Thor's Echo in a sprint against statebreds will result in the horse's first stakes win since the $500,000 WinStar Derby at Sunland Park in April.

"He has done a lot of shipping in a short period of time," O'Neill said. "We'd thrown a lot of races at him. Now we're getting back to what he wants to do."

Thor's Echo will go favored in the Real Good Deal, a seven-furlong stakes for 3-year-olds. The race drew a field of nine, including Wind Water, a northern California stakes winner; Thirsty's Guy, who won the Tacoma Handicap at Emerald Downs in June; and the rapidly improving Mudweiser, who is trained by Rafael Becerra.

breaks from post 7. Owned by Royce Jaime and Pablo Suarez, Thor's Echo has shown speed throughout the year, but that has not always worked to his advantage. Thor's Echo led throughout the 1 1/8-mile WinStar Derby at Sunland Park, but subsequently faded to finish fourth in the Snow Chief Stakes at Hollywood Park, fifth in the Lone Star Derby, and third in the Iowa Derby.

In the Iowa Derby, run at 1 1/16 miles, Thor's Echo turned for home with the lead, but faded to finish 3 1/4 lengths behind Shamoan.

"He's probably a true miler, at most," O'Neill said. "Coming off a route he may not have that blistering speed he showed at one time. We still haven't ruled out stretching him back out again for a two-turn race."

is making his stakes debut. Claimed for $40,000 when he finished seventh in his career debut in February, Mudweiser beat maidens in his fifth start, a sprint at Hollywood Park on June 10.

The performance seemed to wake him up. Mudweiser returned to win an allowance race for statebreds at 1 1/16 miles on July 7.

and Wind Water will be near the front. Scottsbluff was second in two stakes at Turf Paradise last winter and returned to finish third in an optional claimer here on July 30.

won the Eddie Gregson Foundation Stakes over six furlongs at Bay Meadows on April 30, leading throughout. He has won three sprint stakes.