12/18/2007 1:00AM

Going Ballistic might head West

EmailGoing Ballistic, who asserted himself as the top 3-year-old in the Mid-South region this fall with wins in the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby and the $300,000 Oklahoma Derby, might be taking a trip to Santa Anita. He is being considered for the Sunshine Millions Classic, a 1 1/8-mile race that is restricted to horses bred in California or Florida.

Going Ballistic, a son of Lite the Fuse who was bred in Florida, is now based at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark.

"We've just kind of been in lighter training for the last few weeks," said Donnie Von Hemel, who trains Going Ballistic for Kindred Thoroughbreds. "We're considering the Sunshine Millions, which is at the end of January, as a possibility right now."

The $1 million Classic will be run on Jan. 26. Going Ballistic has registered his biggest career wins at the race's 1 1/8-mile distance, among them the Super Derby. He last raced on Nov. 23, and finished seventh in the Grade 2 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs.

Von Hemel said that options for Going Ballistic at the Oaklawn meet include the Grade 3, $150,000 Razorback Breeders' Cup Handicap on March 8 and the Grade 2, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on April 5.

"You hope you can participate in those kind of races," said Von Hemel.

Going Ballistic is one of 733 horses already on the grounds at Oaklawn in anticipation of the opening of the meet on Jan. 18. The first day of published workouts was Tuesday.

Locke off to fast start at Sam Houston

John Locke is closing out the best year of his training career, and the 16 races he has won over the first month of the Sam Houston Race Park meet places him atop the standings heading into Thursday night's card. He can add to his totals in the eighth race, when he sends out Hollye Lynne.

Claimed for $4,000 in September, she won the $75,000 Martanza Stakes on Texas Champions Day in her last start, Dec. 1. She will be running in a $5,000 starter allowance Thursday. Hollye Lynne will be cutting back to 5 1/2 furlongs after winning at a mile, and the turnback is a concern, said Locke.

"There'll be a lot of speed in this race, and speed's always dangerous no matter what class you're at," he said. "We hope some of the speed hooks up together and we can sit off the pace a little bit. And hopefully, they'll slow down a little bit at the end."

Hollye Lynne won two sprints prior to taking the Martanza.

Locke's stable has won 112 races from 686 starts and $1,505,039 so far in 2007. He came into the Sam Houston meet off runner-up finishes in the trainer standings at both Remington Park and Retama Park. In addition to racing this winter at Sam Houston, Locke said he is considering running some horses at Oaklawn.

Locke's run at Sam Houston has included five maiden special weight winners, among them Miss Kiran, who will start in the featured eighth race Friday night. Among the stakes winners in the barn are Alice Belle, who won the Lone Star Park Oaks and then took the $75,000 Remington Park Oaks in her last start, Oct. 20. Locke said she is in training at Sam Houston and is possible for the track's $50,000 Jersey Lilly on the Grade 3, $200,000 Connally Breeders' Cup undercard April 5.

Got Country Grip to Remington

Got Country Grip, the undefeated paint horse who won his 15th consecutive race in the $20,000 Olympia Joe Handicap last month at Lone Star Park, will have to wait a while before chasing win No. 16.

"We're probably going to just have to sit on him until Remington opens in the spring," said Jimmy Maddux, who owns Got Country Grip. "We don't have any other races to run in."

Got Country Grip's unbeaten streak is a record for a paint. He is based in Jones, Okla., with trainer Brandon Parum.

* John Morgan, a retired trainer who put future Hall of Fame rider Earlie Fires on his first winner, Carnation Kid, back in 1965, died in Hot Springs, Ark., on Sunday. He was 76. Services for Morgan will be held at the chaplain building on the Oaklawn backstretch at 10:30 a.m. Thursday. Morgan's survivors include his wife, Winnie, who works for the Arkansas Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.

* Paul Shurman, who qualified for the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship through a pick four contest at Louisiana Downs, also qualified through a tournament at his home track of Aqueduct last month and will play for the New York track in the finale, according to officials with Louisiana Downs. The decision moves Rich Nilsen of Lexington, Ky., onto the team for Louisiana Downs.

* Louisiana Downs has added 48 video poker machines to its offtrack wagering facility in Mound, La.