05/23/2005 11:00PM

Lion Tamer tackles Lone Star 'Cap

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Lion Tamer will make a rare start around two turns on Monday.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Lion Tamer has a date with two turns in Texas.

The winner of last fall's Grade 1 Cigar Mile, Lion Tamer will run Monday in the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap, trainer Todd Pletcher said Tuesday.

Jerry Bailey has the mount on Lion Tamer, who will be the 120-pound starting highweight in the 1 1/16-mile race, which anchors the annual Lone Star Million Day program of stakes.

Pletcher said he also plans to ship in Dubleo for the $200,000 Pin Oak Stud USA for 3-year-olds on turf. Bailey will also ride Dubleo.

Lion Tamer will be making a rare start around two turns in the Lone Star. In his last out, he was a troubled fifth while attempting to defend his title in the Grade 2 Commonwealth Breeders' Cup over seven furlongs at Churchill Downs.

Lion Tamer registered his biggest win in November, when he rolled to a 1 1/2-length win over Badge of Silver and Pico Central in the Cigar Mile, a one-turn race at Aqueduct, in which he covered the distance in 1:33.46.

The Lone Star Park Handicap is appealing for a couple of reasons, said Pletcher, who trains the 5-year-old Lion Tamer for Michael Tabor.

"The timing of it is good for him, and we just felt like it was an opportunity to get him stretched out around two turns, at a mile and a sixteenth, and see how he handles that," said Pletcher. "It might give him some more options for the rest of the year."

Lion Tamer is scheduled to arrive at Lone Star on Friday aboard a flight that originates in New York, where the horse is based, and also picks up horses from Kentucky. A flight with California-based horses will arrive in Texas on Saturday.

Officials have 10 probables for the Lone Star. The others are High Strike Zone and Supah Blitz, who are both weighted at 118 pounds; Cryptograph, Roar on Tour, Snorter, and Yessirgeneralsir, all at 116; and Absent Friend, Skip and Go, and Wishingitwas, all at 115.

Six stakes worth a cumulative $1 million will be contested on Memorial Day.

Trials top Thursday's card

Thursday night's program is highlighted by three trial races for the $150,000 colts and geldings division of the Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity. The finals are set for June 11.

The first trial race will go as the fourth, and Sweet Will could start as the favorite for trainer Steve Asmussen. Sweet Will used stalk-and-pounce tactics to win his debut by two lengths, covering 4 1/2 furlongs in 51.40 seconds.

"I liked his race a lot," said Asmussen.

Meet Dr Mike was second to Sweet Will and starts in the second trial, which will go as race 6. John Byrne has the mount for trainer Alan Love. In the final trial, race 8, trainer Jack Bruner will start wire-to-wire debut winner Wild Talk.