07/17/2007 11:00PM

Etesaal gets shot at local turf

Email

By MARY RAMPELLINI

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Trainer Chris Hartman is looking forward to running Etesaal on turf. That was the intent earlier this month at Lone Star Park, when he started in an allowance prep for the $50,000 Bob Johnson Memorial here Saturday. But the race was moved to a muddy main track because of rain. Etesaal prevailed anyway, and will start as a top choice Saturday when he moves back to his best surface for the Bob Johnson.

"It looks like he's done his best work on the turf," Hartman said.

Etesaal, who has registered 4 of his 6 wins on the grass, will be making just his second start for Hartman on Saturday. He said the horse was part of a package deal that client Frontier Stables purchased from Darley. Etesaal is a 7-year-old by Danzig. He is out of the mare Electric Society, who won the Diana Handicap at Saratoga.

"He's a good-looking horse," Hartman said of Etesaal. "He's real wide, a very powerful horse. We weren't sure about the surface switch last time. He handled it well."

Hartman has had a chance to work Etesaal over the turf course at Lone Star. He said he liked how he handled the course. Etesaal, who began his career in England, also has raced in Dubai and along the East Coast. Glen Murphy teamed with him in his Texas debut last out and will likely be aboard Saturday, Hartman said.

Murphy is a three-time winner of the Bob Johnson. He won the race last year with Nobodywantmetilnow, in 2001 with Captain Countdown, and in 2000 with T.B. Track Star.

Tempting Date may go to Woodbine

Hartman began racing at Lone Star in 2005, and is in the midst of his best season here. He has won 23 races this meet into Wednesday to rank sixth in the standings. Last year, Hartman won 18 races at Lone Star. The year before, he won 15.

Among the top horses in his barn is Tempting Date. Hartman said Wednesday he planned to nominate her to the Grade 3, $150,000 Royal North Stakes at Woodbine. The six-furlong turf race for fillies and mares will be run Aug. 6.

Following the close of the Lone Star meet, Hartman plans to race at Remington Park. He said he will have 36 horses at the Oklahoma City track. He said one of his clients, Adam Lewis, will be sending in some horses from Northern California for the season. Hartman will come into the Remington season with a lot of momentum from Lone Star.

"The meet's gone well," he said. "Hopefully, we'll get to finish up strong."

Lone Star runs through July 29.

True Man heads Friday feature

True Man, who was up for a nose win last out on the stretch-out to two turns, will move back to turf for the featured ninth race, a $50,000 optional claimer at 7 1/2 furlongs. True Man has been flattered since his June 16 win, with runner-up Cantallbechiefs returning in his next start to win a first-level allowance here with a Beyer Speed Figure of 80.

Cheryl Asmussen trains True Man and has given the mount to Tony McNeil. He is one of the most accomplished starters in the field as a three-time winner. Another top contenders is Texas Praise, who is a perfect 2 for 2 on turf. Trainer Val Ray Foster has given the mount to Cliff Berry.

* A Don MacBeth fund-raiser benefiting injured and disabled riders and exercise riders will be held July 24 at the Stagecoach Ballroom in Fort Worth. Tickets are $20.