06/06/2002 11:00PM

Ace cast of locals zero in on Dallas Turf Cup


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Shippers beware. The cast of locals pointing for the $250,000 Dallas Turf Cup at Lone Star Park on June 15 is rock solid, led by Candid Glen, Nat's Big Party, Maysville Slew, and possibly Unrullah Bull, winner of the Grade 3, $300,000 Texas Mile.

Other locals gearing up for the race include Don'tbotherknocking and Chauffe Au Rouge.

Trainer Steve Asmussen is eager to see Nat's Big Party improve upon his third-place finish in the Dallas Turf Cup last year. In his most recent start, Nat's Big Party won a Lone Star allowance May 4.

"He's doing awesome; he loves it here," said Asmussen, who trains Nat's Big Party for Richard Englander. "He's a better horse than he was last year. He has more confidence."

Last meet, Nat's Big Party came to hand over the local course, and after the Dallas Turf Cup went to Louisiana Downs and won the $100,000 Independence Breeders' Cup Handicap by a neck over Candid Glen. He then traveled to San Antonio and won the $50,000 Retama Turf Cup.

Candid Glen ran fifth in the Dallas Turf Cup last year, and since that race took down his second consecutive $200,000 John B. Connally Breeders' Cup Turf over a mile and an eighth at Sam Houston Race Park in March. In his most recent start, he was third in an allowance at Lone Star.

The Dallas Turf Cup became the goal for Maysville Slew, an earner of $572,010, after he won a local allowance prep for the race May 25. It was the first win for the horse since he captured the $100,000 Louisiana Downs Handicap over Northcote Road last September.

"He's coming back," said C.R. Trout, who trains Maysville Slew. "We're excited about the race."

Trout said after the Dallas Turf Cup, he will point Maysville Slew for the Grade 3 Cornhusker Breeders' Cup Handicap at Prairie Meadows on July 6.

Prince Iroquois aims for Johnson

Prince Iroquois, the 48-1 longshot who finished a game second to Congaree in the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap on May 27, is pointing for the $75,000 Bob Johnson Memorial at Lone Star on July 14, said trainer Cole Norman.

"He stepped up," said Norman, who won a $50,000 claiming race at Oaklawn Park with the horse in April.

Norman also trains Unrullah Bull, and said that horse is also under consideration for the Bob Johnson.

Maiden claimer points for stakes

Early Trading, who ran the second fastest five-furlong time turned in by a 2-year-old this meet when she won a $25,000 maiden claimer by 5 1/2 lengths in her debut Thursday night, is now being pointed for the fillies division of the $122,500 Texas Stallion Stakes at Lone Star on June 29.

Lonely Concorde, who was to start as the probable favorite for the $150,000 colts and geldings division of the Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity on Saturday, ran the fastest five furlongs of the meet for a 2-year-old on May 23 when he covered the distance in 58.60 seconds.

Early Trading won her race in 58.80 seconds under jockey Jimmy Coates.

"I thought she ran awesome," said Cindy Grimsley, who trains Early Trading. "She's nice. She acts like she's older. We call her Egor. She's a muscular, stout, strong filly."

* Jockey Anthony Lovato, who was tied atop the Lone Star standings with Corey Lanerie going into the races Friday night, has been suspended seven calendar days for careless riding. His suspension begins Sunday, but during his downtime he can ride in designated stakes. Lovato is the regular rider on Unrullah Bull.

* Bien Nicole, beaten a length as the favorite last time, meets the consistent Summerhill Gal and the always dangerous Wild Squaw in the eighth race, a $50,000 optional claimer for fillies and mares at a mile on turf, on Sunday.