11/28/2012 4:34PM

Zia Park: Derby scratch may make Alsvid the favorite

Shelly McShane/Coady Photography
Alsvid is the horse to beat in Saturday's $150,000 Zia Park Derby.

Alsvid turned in a rapid final work for the $150,000 Zia Park Derby, a race in which he could go favored as Southern California shipper Private Zone will be scratched. The Zia Park Derby is one of four six-figure stakes Zia Park in Hobbs, N.M., has packed into its Saturday and Sunday cards as part of its final week of racing. The track’s mixed meet closes Tuesday.

Alsvid has won four stakes this year and for the move back to two turns he worked five furlongs in 58.60 seconds at his Remington Park base Saturday. The drill was the fastest of 34 at the distance, and he worked by himself, under regular jockey Chris Landeros.

“He put in a spectacular work,” said Chris Hartman, who trains Alsvid for Black Hawk Stable. “It was a visually impressive work.”

Hartman said Alsvid galloped out six furlongs in 1:11.20. The horse will be vanning in from Remington Park along with Red Lead, his stablemate who is to run in the $200,000 Zia Park Distance Championship at 1 1/8 miles on Sunday.

Alsvid has post 4 for the Zia Park Derby, a 1 1/16-mile race. Private Zone also was part of the nine-horse field, and he figured to go favored off a runner-up finish to Oklahoma Derby winner Politicallycorrect in the $100,000 Damascus at his Santa Anita base Nov. 3. However, there has been a change in plans for the horse, trainer Doug O’Neill said.

“We’re not going to run him,” O’Neill said. “We huddled up and decided [not to go because] the only way to get there was a 16-hour van ride. We love the Zia Park Derby idea for him. It’s just the traveling arrangements, we thought they would zap him and could force us to miss the Malibu.”

O’Neill said the Grade 1, $300,000 Malibu at Santa Anita on Dec. 26 has been a long-term goal for Private Zone. He said a possible next start for the horse could be the Grade 3, $100,000 Vernon Underwood at Betfair Hollywood Park on Sunday.

The Zia Park Derby is the lone stakes on the card Saturday. The Distance Championship on Sunday will be supported by the $120,000 Eddy County for 2-year-old New Mexico-breds and the Grade 1, $150,000 Zia Park Quarter Horse Distance Championship.