01/31/2002 1:00AM

Dynameaux has potential to upset

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NEW ORLEANS - Almost every trainer worth his stopwatch and baseball cap has had a horse like Dynameaux come through his shedrow - talented and promising but also disappointing and mysterious.

For Steve Asmussen, who will saddle Dynameaux in a full field of 14 older horses Saturday in the $150,000 Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup Handicap, few things would ease the frustrations of such a puzzle as much as Dynameaux pulling a mild upset under Frank Lovato Jr. in the about 1 1/8-mile grass race.

Dynameaux, a four-time winner from 11 career starts, typifies much of the field in the 14th running of the Fair Grounds BC. Weight assignments range from 117 pounds for Tijiyr and Fan Club's Mister to 110 for Stars in His Eyes and Even the Score, a relatively minor spread that speaks loudly about the competitive nature of the race. In between those horses are 10 more with decent chances, all of which makes this a terrific betting race.

Dynameaux, a 4-year-old colt by Dynaformer, probably has not yet run his best race, said Asmussen, who recently passed Tom Amoss as leading trainer at this 89-day meet.

"He's got the ability, although he probably hasn't shown that he's good enough to run with Tijiyr and some of the other horses in there," Asmussen said. "I do think that some of his previous races show that he could head in the right direction, so we'll give them a try Saturday."

Tijiyr, who is using this race to prep for the March 3 Explosive Bid Handicap, drew post 13 with jockey Robby Albarado. Trainer Niall O'Callaghan said Tijiyr is close to reaching his top form after having raced twice in Florida recently.

Fan Club's Mister, trained by Rickey Harris, is entered off a half-length victory in the Dec. 22 Woodchopper Handicap. He will break from post 11 and be ridden again by Craig Perret.

Other serious contenders include Candid Glen, Conserve, Mystery Giver, and Gold Nugget.

The purse for the Fair Grounds BC actually is $100,000, with another $50,000 available in Breeders' Cup bonuses. All but Just Like Jimmy and Gold Nugget are BC-eligible.

An 11-race card also include three allowance races. The Fair Grounds BC is carded as the eighth.

* First post for the nine-race Sunday card is 11:30 a.m. The last race will be run at about 3:40, about an hour and a half before Super Bowl XXXVI kickoff at the nearby Superdome.

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