03/25/2003 1:00AM

Amoss sets goal for Lone Star Sky


NEW ORLEANS - Lone Star Sky was given a target in a major five-furlong work Tuesday at Fair Grounds, and later trainer Tom Amoss said he was targeting the Illinois Derby as Lone Star Sky's next start.

Second in the Risen Star Stakes and fourth in the Louisiana Derby, Lone Star Sky was timed in just over 58 seconds for his five-furlong breeze, a very fast work by this track's standards.

"He worked well, and he worked rapid," said Amoss, who trains Lone Star Sky for owner Walter "Buddy" New. "We gave him a target, something to run at this time."

Lone Star Sky will start in the April 5 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne "depending on how he comes out of the work and the forecast there for that weekend," Amoss said. "Ideally, we could come back Monday with a light half-mile breeze."

If Lone Star Sky's connections aren't satisfied with the circumstances leading up to the race, the colt probably will be redirected to the Arkansas Derby the following weekend.

Thinking Grade 1 for Mineshaft

Mineshaft worked a half-mile in 49.40 seconds here Monday and is on schedule to start in the Ben Ali Handicap on April 25 at Keeneland. Trainer Neil Howard hopes the Ben Ali will set Mineshaft up for a winning race in the Grade 1 Pimlico Special Handicap in May.

Mineshaft won three times at this meet, but it was his convincing victory in the $500,000 New Orleans Handicap that earned him national attention and gave his connections hope that he could win a Grade 1 race this summer.

Howard eased up on Mineshaft's training after the New Orleans Handicap, and is happy he did so. "He worked nice, everything's going great, and I'm really happy we decided to give him that little break after the last race," Howard said. "Usually, we'd breeze eight or 10 days after a race, but we waited a little extra. We're just trying to eliminate any bounce off such a big effort."

Also working for Howard on Monday was Quick Tip, winner of the Bayou Breeders' Cup Handicap here in her last race. Quick Tip worked a half-mile in 48.80 seconds and will start next in the April 13 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland.

Read Me My Rights right at home

Read Me My Rights would be perfectly content spending the rest of her days at Fair Grounds. There are an inordinate number of grass sprints here, and running one turn on turf is what she wants to do. Under other conditions, Read Me My Rights is 10-0-5-2, but in about 5 1/2-furlong turf races at Fair Grounds, she's 3-2-1-0.

She is in another one on Thursday, the featured ninth race, which is a second-level allowance for fillies and mares with a $40,000 claiming option. Read Me My Rights was one of only six horses to enter; another is Sweet Deimos, a European import making her first start in this country.

Read Me My Rights, owned by Weila Ye, trained by Danny Peitz, and ridden by Larry Melancon, was second in her last race, but that was on dirt, and two starts ago she beat first-level allowance horses in a turf sprint by more than four lengths. She will race on or near the lead from post 2. There is speed to her outside, but she has shown a willingness to come from just off the pace if the situation dictates it.

Sweet Deimos could prove a worthy rival, but has many questions to answer. Group 3-placed in Ireland, she hasn't raced since November and shows only one published workout, although a swift five-furlong gate breeze. "She's ready to run. She needs to run," said trainer David Carroll. "This may be a little short for her."

Lady Tak keeps to routine

If it's a Monday at Fair Grounds, Lady Tak is out for some serious exercise. Lady Tak has breezed almost every Monday during the meet, and this week was no exception, as she logged five furlongs in 1:01.20. Lady Tak easily won the Fair Grounds Oaks in her last start to go 5 for 5 to start her career. Her unbeaten streak goes on the line April 5 when she races in the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland.

* The Fair Grounds meet concludes Monday, and many of the horses stabled here this winter already have departed for their spring and summer quarters. By 9 a.m. Tuesday, the backstretch and racetrack had a decidedly deserted feel, with only a handful of horses out on the racetrack.