06/05/2006 11:00PM

Asmussen loaded in Texas futurity races


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - A week after sweeping divisions of the New York Stallion Stakes at Belmont Park, trainer Steve Asmussen will be in a position to capture both $100,000-estimated divisions of the Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity at Lone Star Park.

Asmussen will start the probable favorite and fastest qualifier in each race, to be run here Saturday. Grade 3 winner Datrick is one of four starters Asmussen has for the colts division of the TTA. For the fillies division, a race Asmussen has won a record six times, he will be represented by Miss Mary Pat.

Asmussen has been on a stakes roll. The leading stakes-winning trainer in Lone Star history, he won his 50th Lone Star stakes on Saturday, when Stalwartly busted a move through the stretch for a nose win in the $40,000 Nevill/Kyocera at six furlongs. It was an important win for Stalwartly, who is a 3-year-old half-brother to 2002 sprint champion Orientate.

"He's now a very well-bred stakes winner," said Asmussen. "That was his best race yet, and he'll continue to get better."

Asmussen feels Stalwartly will be at his best as a closing sprinter, and the plan is to try and spot him in races and at tracks that best suit his style. The colt was scheduled to ship to Asmussen's division in Kentucky.

Asmussen ranked second among all North American trainers in wins and earnings through Tuesday. He is Lone Star's all-time leading trainer in wins, with 635. For his career, he has 3,384 training wins. He is the meet-leading trainer here, and is in pursuit of a record eighth training title at Lone Star, which opened in 1997.

As for stakes wins, the Nevill/Kyocera is one of 355 Asmussen has accumulated during his career, and is the most recent of a meet-best five for him. His other stakes winners at the meet include Upstream, who captured a recent 1 1/16-mile division of the Texas Stallion Stakes. "We'll point him for the Harold Goodman or the Assault," said Asmussen.

The $50,000 Harold Goodman is for 3-year-olds at 6 1/2 furlongs, and the $100,000 Assault is for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles. Both races, which are for Texas-breds, run July 8.

Asmussen targets Prairie Meadows

Another stakes winner for Asmussen at the meet is Red Lifesaver, who closed fast to win the $100,000 Valid Expectations on May 29. Asmussen said she might make her next start in the $100,000 Saylorville, for fillies and mares at six furlongs, at Prairie Meadows on June 30.

Asmussen is also looking at another Prairie Meadows stakes for one of his Lone Star-based runners. He said Real Dandy could make his next start in the Grade 2, $300,000 Cornhusker Breeders' Cup Handicap on July 1. In his last start, Real Dandy closed for third to Magnum in the Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap.

Stockholder, another handicap runner from the Asmussen barn, is being pointed for the $50,000 Bob Johnson Memorial at one mile at Lone Star on July 22. Earlier this meet, Stockholder was second by a neck in the Grade 3, $300,000 Texas Mile.

Petalino juvenile in competitive spot

Great Hunter should go off favored Thursday night for trainer Joe Petalino in the seventh race, one of the most competitive 2-year-old maiden special weight races this meet. The five-furlong race also drew Power Surge, who adds blinkers and Lasix for trainer Bret Calhoun; Real Quiet Man, from the barn of trainer Cole Norman; and Going Ballistic, a promising runner from trainer Donnie Von Hemel.

"We'll get a pretty good line on him in that spot," said Petalino of Great Hunter. "There's some runners in there."

Great Hunter closed fast for second in his career debut, which came over 4 1/2 furlongs. As a son of Aptitude, he will likely appreciate the bit of added distance he gets in this race. Great Hunter also owns the field's highest last-race Beyer Speed Figure, a 76, and will be ridden by Quincy Hamilton.