Mr. Trieste won his eighth straight race when he pulled away from four rivals to post a four-length win in the $106,000 Zia Park Distance Championship to highlight closing day of the inaugural season Sunday at the Hobbs, N.M. track.
With regular rider Ken Tohill aboard for trainer Gary Cross and owner Richard Lueck, the 4-year-old Old Trieste colt grabbed the lead from Don't Strike Out in the stretch after pressing the pace and drew off in the final furlong. Silver Axe, the 6-5 favorite ridden by Glenn Corbett, finished well to be second, a length in front of Don't Strike Me Out. The final time was not available for the 1 1/8-mile event.
Since winning the Albuquerque Derby in April 2004, Mr. Trieste hasn't been beaten, including a prior win at the nine-furlong distance in the San Juan County Commissioner's at SunRay Park in September. He won two prior races at Zia Park in track record times – the $65,000 Kachina Mile (1:36 3/5) on Oct. 22 and the $81,000 Veteran at 1 1/16 miles (1:43) on Nov. 12, his most recent start. He earned $63,600 for Sunday's win.
Inamorato got the early lead, covering the opening quarter mile in :24, before Don't Strike Me Out collared the leader and led by a head after a half-mile in :47 3/5 and six furlongs in 1:14 2/5. Mr. Trieste, racing three wide just off the lead, sustained his drive into the stretch to gain command with a furlong to go.
Cobra Farm bred Mr. Trieste, who is out of the Silver Deputy
mare Angel's Tearlet, in Kentucky. He was a $160,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Select Yearling sale in 2002.
Mr. Trieste has won 10 of 18 races in his lifetime and earned $331,292. He is five for five in 2005, including four black-type victories and earnings of $205,500. Mr. Trieste was claimed out of a victory at Ellis Park by his current connections for $30,000 from Kenneth McPeek in August of 2004. After a second-place finish in the Ruidoso Thoroughbred Derby three weeks later, he started his current winning streak.
The 19-10 second choice, Mr. Trieste paid $5.80, $2.20, and $2.20. Silver Axe, a three-time stakes winner, returned $2.20 and $2.20. Don't Strike Me Out, ridden by Mark Villa, was $2.40 to show.