05/27/2005 11:00PM

Lion Tamer stretches to two turns

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Lion Tamer, winning the Cigar Mile , makes his fifth start around two turns in Monday's Lone Star Handicap.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Class can trump experience at Lone Star Park on Monday, when Grade 1 winner Lion Tamer makes a rare appearance around two turns in the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap.

The race will be run over 1 1/16 miles and is the richest of six stakes worth a cumulative $1 million on the annual Lone Star Million Day program. The card is the most lucrative of the meet and accounts for the richest day of racing in Texas.

has invaded from Belmont to start as the 120-pound highweight in a 10-horse field that includes Yessirgeneralsir, the defending champ; High Strike Zone and Supah Blitz, the one-two finishers in the Grade 3 Texas Mile; and Absent Friend and Snorter, a pair of Grade 3 winners who start as separate betting interests for trainer Cole Norman.

Lion Tamer's biggest career win came three starts ago, when he closed with a rush to capture the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct in November.

"I think he's really at his best in a one-turn mile situation, but he has won around two turns, and I think a mile and a sixteenth is within his scope," said Todd Pletcher, who trains Lion Tamer.

Lion Tamer has made four starts around two turns in his career, his best efforts a close fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Lane's End at 1 1/8 miles at Turfway in March 2003 and a two-length win in the $65,000 Formal Gold at Monmouth last September.

The Lone Star will be his third start of the year. In his most recent start, he finished fifth in the Grade 2 Commonwealth on April 16, a quick seven-furlong race at Keeneland in which he found himself much farther back than usual after he did not break well, said Pletcher.

On the stretchout to two turns, Pletcher said he looks for Lion Tamer to sit midpack. "Hopefully he gets away well and finds himself in a good stalking position early on," said Pletcher, who has given the mount to Jerry Bailey.

and Supah Blitz figure to be prominent, and trainer Amos Laborde is hoping for a stalking trip with High Strike Zone.

The millionaire worked five furlongs in 57.80 seconds May 23. He drew the rail.

* The Lone Star is the second half of a special daily double with the Grade 3, $200,000 WinStar Distaff.

* There is a chance of thundershowers Monday, with a high temperature of 75.