11/29/2012 2:56PM

Zia Park: Alsvid tries to get the distance in derby

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Shelly McShane/Coady Photography
Usually a sprinter, Alsvid goes 1 1/16 miles in the Zia Park Derby on Saturday.

Alsvid will be seeking his fifth stakes win of the year on Saturday, when he makes a rare start around two turns in the $150,000 Zia Park Derby. The 1 1/16-mile race jumpstarts the final week of the Zia Park meet in Hobbs, N.M.

The Zia Derby drew nine, but Private Zone will be scratched, according to trainer Doug O’Neill. With the defection, Alsvid’s chief rivals appear to be Master Rick, who was third in the Grade 2 Super Derby; Explain, a stakes winner who last out was fourth by a length in the $50,000 Pomona Derby at Fairplex; and Motown Men, a stakes-placed invader from Betfair Hollywood Park.

Alsvid has registered three of his four stakes wins this year at one turn, chief among them the $200,000 Remington Park Sprint Cup over older horses Sept. 30. His other stakes win came in his two-turn debut, in the $60,000 Prairie Mile on June 2. Chris Landeros was aboard, and has the mount again in the Zia Derby.

“I don’t think the distance will be a real problem for him,” said Chris Hartman, who trains Alsvid for Black Hawk Stable. “I think a real good miler is what he’s going to be at the end of the day. This should be within his scope.”

Alsvid, a son of Officer whose dam, Reagle Mary, is a half-sister to 2003 Santa Anita Derby winner Buddy Gil, has made one other start at two turns. It came in the Grade 3 Iowa Derby when he finished fifth to champion Hansen. Alsvid will be stretching out from six furlongs off a close fourth against older horses in the $350,000 De Francis Dash at Laurel on Oct. 27.

“If the opportunity presents itself, I imagine he’ll be out on the lead,” Hartman said. “If not, he’ll be tactical. He can lay right off of horses. There’s a couple of speed horses in there, and I’m expecting him to lay second or third.”

Motown Men set the pace and just missed in a one-mile allowance last out at Santa Anita, earning a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 91. The race came against California-breds and he will be moving back into open company for the first time since last November, when he was fourth in the Grade 3 Generous at Hollywood Park. Alejandro Medellin has the mount on Motown Men for trainer Peter Eurton.