01/09/2007 1:00AM

An unlucky Wild as Elle a solid price


Sometime this week trainer Scott Blasi is going to disappear. Blasi's name appeared next to about 1,000 horses who started last year, but when trainer Steve Asmussen returns from a six-month suspension this week, trainer Scott Blasi will revert to assistant trainer Scott Blasi and fade from the public eye.

All Blasi did was win 198 races from July through December - and if you ask him, that number should have been at least 199. Wild as Elle finished third of 11 in the 10th race on Dec. 15 at Turfway Park, and she might have taken first prize with any sort of break. Wild as Elle's running line tells the tale: "Broke in air, lost footing." Away last from an inside draw, she did well to beat eight rivals over northern Kentucky Polytrack.

"She should have won the other day," Blasi flatly stated.

Wild as Elle gets another chance in the featured ninth race on Thursday at Fair Grounds, and she ought to offer decent odds despite her well-known connections and obviously troubled recent race. The favorite in the nine-horse Thursday feature, a six-furlong race open to second-level allowance horses or $35,000 claimers, looks like Ocean Current, who scored by more than five lengths in an off-the-turf entry-level allowance race Dec. 14 at Fair Grounds. Also likely to draw bettors' attention is Mythical Event, who finished third of seven at 3-5 on Dec. 20 at Delta Downs, but goes for the barn of the leading Fair Grounds trainer, Tom Amoss.

Nothing against Ocean Current, but her last-race victory came over a group watered down by the surface switch, and two starts ago she was well beaten at Churchill by Swept Gold, who also has wound up in the Thursday feature. Swept Gold appeared to relish muddy Churchill going that day, and Ocean Current's overall form picture is the prettier of the two, but the point is this: The favorite is not invulnerable here.

Not if Wild as Elle can improve in her second race back from an epic layoff of more than two years. Trained during 2004 by Ken McPeek, she won her career debut in an early-season 2-year-old race at Keeneland, then showed some quality finishing second to the decent horse Rich in Spirit in a two-turn grass race later that year. The Dec. 15 Turfway race was her first for Blasi, whose Kentucky crew put two subsequent solid works into Wild as Elle before sending her to the Fair Grounds string.

"I haven't had a lot of experience with it here, but I did have tremendous success going from Polytrack to dirt at Churchill," Blasi said.