05/02/2007 12:00AM

A Canada-bred invades again


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - For the stakes winner Reata's Rocket, the trail to the $1 million Queen's Plate will run through Lone Star Park. He was flown here late last month and has been training toward a start in the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Derby on May 12.

"We thought it would be a nice stepping-stone on our way to the Queen's Plate, and with a little luck, we show up and run our race," said Joe Orseno, who trains Reata's Rocket.

Reata's Rocket is bidding to become the second straight Canadian-bred to win the Lone Star Derby, after the 2006 winner, Wanna Runner. He will start as a top choice following his third-place finish to eventual Grade 1 Blue Grass winner Dominican last out in the $100,000 Rushaway at Turfway Park on March 24.

The race was Reata's Rocket's first around two turns, and it came at the 1 1/16-mile distance of the Lone Star Derby. Earlier in his career, he won the $200,000 NATC Futurity at Monmouth Park, and was fourth in the Grade 2 Hutcheson and Grade 2 Swale, both at Gulfstream Park.

Reata's Rocket flew from south Florida to Lone Star on April 25. Orseno said he decided to ship in early for the race rather than move the horse to Monmouth with the rest of his stable at the close of Gulfstream, then have to ship Reata's Rocket again, to Texas.

"I wanted him to train over that racetrack for a little while, and I'm going to breeze him on the weekend, so it worked out okay," said Orseno. "He's probably there six, seven days longer than I normally would have done it, but I always like to get there beforehand and let a horse just get acquainted with the racetrack and get familiar with the surroundings and everything."

Orseno said there are a number of reasons the Lone Star Derby works well for Reata's Rocket, one of which is the timing of the race, which sets him up well for the Queen's Plate at Woodbine on June 24.

"And to top it all off, Al Micallef is from Fort Worth," Orseno said of the owner of Reata's Rocket. "He owns the restaurant there, Reata's, which is where the horses get their names from, Reata's Rocket. So, we thought it would be a lot of fun to take him to his hometown and run him in the Lone Star Derby, and it would be a good stepping-stone for the Queen's Plate for us."

Orseno said Rajiv Maragh has the mount for the Lone Star Derby.

Others possible for the race are Reporting for Duty, who was excluded from the Kentucky Derby, and Takedown and Harrow Land, the one-two finishers last out in the $100,000 Northern Spur at Oaklawn Park. Speedway, a stakes winner who was third in the Northern Spur, was to be nominated for the Lone Star Derby, said John Adger, racing manager for owner Stonerside Stable.

Dancing Dudete returns home

Dancing Dudete gets the chance to race with statebreds for the first time in her career Friday night. She will start as a leading contender in the featured ninth race, a second- level allowance for fillies and mares bred in Texas.

Dancing Dudete has been facing better at Oaklawn Park, and in her last start was seventh to multiple winner Classify in a $100,000 optional claimer. Trainer Tom Howard has given the mount to Cliff Berry.

Dancing Dudete figures to be coming for front-runners Governor's Trixie and Amarula.