06/14/2001 12:00AM

East meets West in Turf Cup


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Del Mar Show, who has won his last four starts in the East, and Kerrygold, who has been facing tough rivals in the West, meet on neutral ground Saturday in the $300,000 Dallas Turf Cup at Lone Star Park.

The 1 1/8-mile handicap has drawn a field of nine, including last year's winner, Gold Nugget; Candid Glen, who won back-to-back stakes at this distance in February; and El Gran Papa, a recent allowance winner for trainer Bobby Frankel. The Dallas Turf Cup will air live on CBS as part of the new NTRA Champions series. It will be the first race from Texas ever shown on network television.

Del Mar Show, the starting highweight at 120 pounds, is the one to beat Saturday. He has not lost in four starts this year for trainer Bill Mott, winning an allowance race at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 10; the $100,000 Royal Palm Handicap at Hialeah on March 17; the Grade 2 Hialeah Turf Cup over millionaire Honor Glide on April 21; and the Grade 3 Connaught Cup at Woodbine on May 26.

Mott said a four-month break from racing helped Del Mar Show put together his impressive string of wins. "We gave him the winter off, he matured a little bit, and came out feeling pretty good," said Mott, who has given the mount to Robbie Davis.

Del Mar Show can get a perfect stalking trip in the Dallas Turf Cup behind several speed types, including Vergennes, Dignitas Dancer, and the French-bred Kerrygold. But, trainer Darrell Vienna said Kerrygold, the second high weight at 116, does not need the lead Saturday. "I prefer that he not be on the front end," said Vienna. "He's been on the lead [as of late], but he doesn't need to be."

Kerrygold's last win came in front-running fashion in the restricted San Marino Handicap at Santa Anita in February, but before that race he closed from off the pace to finish second to Bienamado in the Grade 2 San Marcos. He also rallied late to win a Group 3 last July over eventual Grade 2 Explosive Bid winner Tijiyr. In his last two starts Kerrygold has been third, in both the Grade 2 San Luis Rey on March 11, and the Grade 2 San Francisco Handicap on April 28.

"This is probably a little easier spot than where he's been running," said Vienna, who has given the mount to David Flores, a Southern California-based rider who has won 10 stakes at Lone Star since the track opened in 1997.

* A fire at Squaw Creek Downs early Thursday morning destroyed the paddock, jockey quarters, and test barn, all located a good distance from the stable area. Officials said they know of no injuries. Fire marshalls are investigating the blaze.

Squaw Creek, near Fort Worth, is the former Trinity Meadows Raceway that now operates as a training center and houses overflow stables from Lone Star.

* Lone Star will host a qualifying tournament for the Daily Racing Form/NTRA tournament on Saturday and Sunday. The top four finishers will advance to the finals in Las Vegas.