05/08/2002 11:00PM

Cappuchino built to gobble up ground

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GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Cappuchino has a stride that eats up ground in a hurry, and that's what trainer Jerry Hollendorfer likes most about the well-bred colt, who looks like a major player Saturday in the Grade 3, $500,000 Lone Star Derby at Lone Star Park.

Cappuchino is one of three serious 3-year-olds managed by Hollendorfer, who also trains Preakness possibility U S S Tinosa, and Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby winner Yougottawanna.

Cappuchino comes into the Lone Star Derby on the heels of a sharp second-place finish in the $150,000 California Derby at Bay Meadows on April 13.

"He's a big horse, and he has a long stride, and that's what I like about him," said Hollendorfer, who co-owns the colt with Howard Litt and George Todaro.

Hollendorfer also likes Cappuchino's pedigree. The colt is by Capote and out of the Grade 2-winning mare Tara Roma, who is also the dam of Grade 1 Go for Wand winner Serra Lake.

Serra Lake is by Seattle Slew, as is Capote.

"[Serra Lake] was a late-developing runner, and hopefully, this guy will go along and continue to develop," Hollendorfer said of Cappuchino.

Cappuchino has won 4 of 9 career starts, and is a stakes winner around both one turn and two. He arrived from Bay Meadows on Wednesday, and will be ridden in the Lone Star Derby by Rene Douglas.

No bonus? No problem

A number of changes have been made to the Lone Star Derby this year. The race has been graded; the $1 million bonus offered the last two years has been dropped; and it is being held a week after the Kentucky Derby for the first time, occupying the old spot of the Grade 2 Illinois Derby.

The changes have helped the Lone Star Derby pull in "horses that didn't get in to the Kentucky Derby or horses that weren't quite ready for that race, as well as horses that decided they didn't want to go a mile and a quarter," said Lone Star director of racing Larry Craft. "I think this is the best, and deepest field we've ever had."

It is also the largest, as the race has lured a record 14 horses. The previous biggest field was 11.

Trainers cite the timing of the race, as well as the purse, as the biggest draws this year.

"We didn't get in the Derby, and this race looked like a good fit," said Craig Dollase, who trains Tracemark. "The timing was right."

Lightning forces cancellation

A lightning storm that hit the area Wednesday night forced the cancellation of the final two races on the card at Lone Star. It was the fourth time weather has forced the track to call off races in five years of operation.

Wagers on the eighth and ninth races were refunded, and a consolation was paid on the last two pick three wagers on the night, as well as the pick four.