06/23/2004 11:00PM

Lincoln: Sunday Trigger rival absent

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LINCOLN, Neb. - The $12,500 State Fair Derby turned into an evenly matched field of six going one mile, missing the horse who would likely have made it a scramble for second. That horse, Thundering Verzy, was shipped up to Canterbury Park a few days ago and will instead be testing the turf course in the Come Summer Stakes.

That news may come as welcome relief to the connections of Sunday Trigger, who has met Thundering Verzy in his last three starts and settled for third each time. On Saturday, Sunday Trigger may rate a slight edge in the State Fair Derby for trainer Larry Staroscik. With Don Frazier aboard, Sunday Trigger should play the role of pacesetter as he tries a mile for the second time in his career. He drew post 3.

Cassanova Kid will likely inherit the role of favorite. Trained by Herb Riecken, he comes into the race off a distant second to Thundering Verzy in the State Fair Breeders' Special, a race in which he outfinished Sunday Trigger by a half-length. Cassanova Kid breaks from post 6 and will be ridden by Dennis Collins.

Robert Roe will ship in Speedy Halo off a $4,000 claim at Prairie Meadows on May 21. A son of Southern Halo, Speedy Halo had claiming victories at Oaklawn Park and Prairie Meadows this spring. His drop to the $4,000 level against open company may be considered a knock, but his conditioning over the one-mile ovals of Hot Springs and Altoona should make him a closing force to be reckoned with in the stretch. Mike Kenny will come in to ride from post 2.