06/03/2002 11:00PM

Filly latest live one for Melancon


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Gerard Melancon is making a three-horse race of the jockey standings at Lone Star Park.

Last year, Melancon finished sixth in the standings with 34 wins, but this season he has already equaled his win total from last meet to rank third in the standings, three wins behind leader Corey Lanerie and one behind runner-up Anthony Lovato.

"I've had a lot of live horses in the right races," said Melancon, who is in his second season at Lone Star.

Melancon, who has won two stakes at the meet, will be in a good position to add to that total Saturday when he rides probable favorite Santa Fe Strip in the fillies division of the $150,000-estimated Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity.

Santa Fe Strip won her trial race for the five-furlong finale in a gallop for trainer Bernie Flint. She waited behind horses in the stretch, and when clear jetted to an easy four-length win in her career debut.

"I thought she was spectacular," said Melancon. "I think she's really going to be a good horse. In the trial, a lot of dirt hit her, and it didn't seem to bother her. She rated kind and did everything we wanted her to do. She was a professional."

Melancon has an outside chance to win the colts and geldings division of the TTA Sales Futurity, also on Saturday, with the Flint-trained Sea Scout. The rider's other stakes commitments the next few weeks include Bonapaw, who is pointing to the $150,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap on July 4, and Miss Ritz, probable favorite for the $50,000 Valor Farm Stakes on June 29.

An excuse for Hallowed Dreams

Hallowed Dreams, who finished third as the favorite in the $100,000 Valid Expectations last month at Lone Star, came out of the race with a minor heel irritation. She had the lead in the stretch of the six-furlong race for fillies and mares, but was overtaken by winner Prized Amberpro and Hattiesburg.

"I thought we were home free," said Lloyd Romero, who co-owns and trains Hallowed Dreams. Romero said she burned a heel during the race, the first time she had done that.

Romero said Hallowed Dreams has since been training well at her Evangeline Downs base. He plans to bring her back to Lone Star to defend her title in the $75,000 Miller Lite Stakes on June 22. The race is run over five furlongs on turf, a surface over which Hallowed Dreams is a perfect 3 for 3.

Pesky Rascal turns back again

The last time Pesky Rascal turned back from 1 1/16 miles on turf to a sprint he won, a pattern his connections hope he will duplicate in the eighth race Thursday night. Pesky Rascal cuts back to five furlongs on turf for the optional claimer after having run fourth over 1 1/16 miles on turf in his last start May 16.

Kirk LeBlanc rides Pesky Rascal for trainer Donnie Von Hemel.

The chief threats to Pesky Rascal appear to be the comebacking Final Row, who finished second to stakes winner Testify two starts back at Fair Grounds, and Big Bay Brite, who hails from the high percentage barn of Joe Offolter.