05/07/2003 11:00PM

Clement wasn't pushy when it came to Dynever


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - When Dynever showed signs that he would not be an early bloomer, his trainer, Christophe Clement, paid attention. The result is a late-developing 3-year-old with tremendous potential who will be seeking his third straight win in Saturday's Grade 3, $500,000 Lone Star Derby.

Clement put off Dynever's debut until the colt's 3-year-old season in order to give him time to develop mentally.

"I did not want to rush him too much," said Clement. "He was rather green, and we wanted to give him a bit of time as a 2-year-old."

Clement debuted Dynever at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 8. Dynever ran second in a seven-furlong maiden race at 22-1. He returned March 8 to win his maiden by more than eight lengths in his first start around two turns.

From there, he was favored in the $250,000 Aventura at Gulfstream on April 5. He battled with Supah Blitz in upper stretch of that 1 1/16-mile race and then found a new gear to draw off and win by more than three lengths.

"He runs fast," said Clement. "That's what I like the most about him. And he's a very good mover."

Dynever, who races for Catherine Wills and Peter Karches, is by Dynaformer out of Flamboyant. Clement trained Flamboyant for Wills when she was sent to the United States after racing in Europe.

Flamboyant won two allowance races for Clement, one at the 1 1/8-mile distance Dynever will be running for the first time in the Lone Star Derby. The new distance should agree with Dynever, who has continued to develop since the Aventura, according to Clement.

"He's a very exciting type of horse," he said. "We want to enjoy him, have fun, and see what happens."

If things go well Saturday, the Belmont Stakes could be next.

Hoping to leave trouble behind

Crowned Dancer, the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile Championship winner last year, has suffered through troubled trips in both of his starts this year. His connections are hoping for some clear sailing in the Lone Star Derby.

"We're just looking for a good break, a tight track, and a fair trip for everyone," said Christopher Paasch, who trains Crowned Dancer.

Those are some things Crowned Dancer did not get in his last start, when fourth in the Grade 1 Blue Grass on April 12. Going into the first turn of that race, Crowned Dancer was one of a couple of horses who were bumped around and forced to check hard.

"That was basically my horse's race," said Paasch.

One start earlier, Crowned Dancer finished third in the Grade 2 San Rafael at Santa Anita, but not without trouble. In that race, Crowned Dancer bumped with a rival turning for home.

"It knocked the wind out of him a little bit," said Paasch.

Another colt hoping for a clean trip is Crowned King, who was stopped at the three-eighths pole last out when fifth in the Grade 2, $500,000 Arkansas Derby. Trainer Billy McKeever Jr., felt the trouble cost him at least third place behind winner Sir Cherokee.

Blinkers for Grendel

Grendel is the most lightly raced member of the Lone Star Derby field, with two starts, but he has one of the best pedigrees. He is by millionaire Atticus, while his third dam produced a 3-year-old champion, Little Current.

Grendel's dam, Turkish Tryst, is a stakes winner, and her best runner is the stakes-placed Wild Current, who has earned $272,378.

Grendel won his maiden at six furlongs, then came back and ran third after a wide trip in an entry-level allowance March 23. He shows some big works since, and will add blinkers for trainer Al Stall Jr., who has given the mount to Larry Melancon.

* This is the second year the Lone Star Derby has been run after the Kentucky Derby, and the result once again is a big field. Last year there were 14 horses, and this year, 13.

For the five previous runnings of the race, all held two weeks before the Kentucky Derby, the highest number of starters was 11. The lowest was seven, and the average was eight.

* Hot trainer Steve Asmussen, who won four races here Wednesday night, has two colts in the Lone Star Derby: Defrere's Vixen and On the Border.

* Post for the Lone Star Derby is 5:13 p.m. Central, and the race will be broadcast live nationally on Magna Entertainment Corp.'s HRTV, and live locally on KDFI-27.

* The forecast for Saturday is partly cloudy skies and highs in the upper 80's.