05/15/2006 11:00PM

Berry can picture 3,000 wins on horizon


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Lone Star Park leading rider Cliff Berry is coming off the most successful year of his career, and it has put him close to reaching 3,000 career wins. He was at 2,886 through Tuesday.

"I'm about 100 and something away and I feel like I can probably do it this year, if I have a good year," said Berry.

So far, his year has been better than good. Berry has won 75 races to date, and needs another 114 to reach 3,000. It is well within his grasp after he won a career-high 240 races and his mounts earned a personal best $3,654,765 last year.

Berry put up those numbers by winning titles at both Lone Star and Remington Park. This year, he has gotten off to a fast start at the current Lone Star meet, with 35 wins from 143 mounts. One of his biggest supporters has been trainer Cody Autrey, who has won at a 50-percent clip over the first month at Lone Star. Berry has ridden 21 of the 25 winners Autrey has saddled this meet and together they boast a 47-percent win rate at Lone Star.

"Cliff's a great rider," said Autrey. "He's patient. He's always in the right spot at the right time. He rides really hard. Every day he's got a great attitude. You're definitely at an advantage when you've got him."

Berry said one advantage he has is a sharp agent in Richard McNaughton. In the six years McNaughton has been his agent, Berry said his number of wins has increased annually.

Berry, 43, has won 10 titles at Remington. A native of Missouri, he lives with his family in Jones, Okla. Berry is known for getting the most out of his mounts, and has long had a reputation for his excellent work ethic.

"You get out of it what you put into it," he said. "I'd like to finish this meet like I started. That would be great."

And it would keep him rolling right along on the road to 3,000.

Big number for Real Dandy

Real Dandy ran one of the biggest races of his career here Sunday, when he barreled home by 5 1/2 lengths in a one-mile allowance that drew a field littered with stakes winners. For his effort, he earned a Beyer Figure of 101, the second highest number in his career behind the 102 he earned for capturing last year's Grade 3, $750,000 West Virginia Derby.

Real Dandy will now be nominated to the Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap here May 29, said his trainer, Steve Asmussen.

Real Dandy won two stakes last year, and to date has earned $847,135. He is on pace to become Asmussen's second millionaire, behind Grade 1 winner Lady Tak.

Mr. Pursuit grabs quarter

Mr. Pursuit grabbed his right front quarter leaving the starting gate last Saturday in the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Derby, said his trainer, Joe Petalino. He still managed to finish fourth in the race, which was won by Wanna Runner.

Petalino said Mr. Pursuit could see stakes action again later this meet, in the $100,000 Alysheba Breeders' Cup for 3-year-olds at one mile on July 1.

Rain on Monday, who finished fifth in the Lone Star Derby, also is looking at a local stakes for his next start, said Asmussen. He is being pointed to the $50,000 Harold V. Goodman for 3-year-old Texas-breds at 6 1/2 furlongs on July 8.

* Trial by Jury and Lonesome Launch will be rematched on Thursday night in the featured eighth race, a one-mile optional claimer on turf. The two met at this level April 28, with Trial by Jury finishing second and Lonesome Launch third.