05/04/2007 12:00AM

Lone Star Derby cast coming into focus


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - The field for the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Derby next Saturday was just beginning to take shape on Friday, with trainer Tony Reinstedler committing both Harrow Land and Moyer's Pond, trainer Eoin Harty giving serious consideration to starting Sahara Heat, and Lone Star Park leading trainer Bret Calhoun putting his representative, Mr. Nightlinger, through his final major work for the race.

Others expected to run include Reporting for Duty, the possible favorite off a runner-up finish in the Grade 2 Illinois Derby, and Reata's Rocket, third last out in the $100,000 Rushaway. Nominations to the Lone Star Derby, a 1 1/16-mile race, closed Thursday night and were due to be out on Friday. The race shares a card with a pair of $125,000 divisions of the Texas Stallion Stakes.

Reinstedler said on Friday that Harrow Land, a troubled second in the $100,000 Northern Spur at Oaklawn in his last start April 14, and Moyer's Pond, a winner of 2 of 3 career starts, are to fly from Kentucky to Dallas on Wednesday. He said Eddie Razo Jr. has the mount on Harrow Land.

Mr. Nightlinger, an impressive maiden winner at Fair Grounds in February, breezed five furlongs in a bullet 1:02 here Friday.

"He was very relaxed the whole way," said Calhoun. "It went perfect. It was a nice, easy breeze."

Lone Star leading jockey Ramsey Zimmerman was aboard for the drill and has the mount in the Lone Star Derby. Zimmerman rode Mr. Nightlinger when he won his maiden by five lengths in a 5 1/2-furlong race, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 94. He also was aboard when Mr. Nightlinger won a first-level allowance at Lone Star on April 14.

"The horse is developing," said Calhoun. "He developed late. We had broken him as a 2-year-old and turned him back out and gave him quite a bit of time. He's one of those horses - he showed enough in the mornings, but he really turned it up a notch in a race. He's very competitive."

Sahara Heat, a son of A.P. Indy and Grade 2 winner Sahara Gold, won his maiden and a first-level allowance in his last two starts and is under strong consideration for the Lone Star Derby, Harty said on Friday. Sahara Heat's most recent score came at a 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland on April 14.

Slew By Slew, a stakes winner who finished eighth to Curlin last out in the Grade 2, $1 million Arkansas Derby, is a probable for the Lone Star Derby, his trainer, Donnie Von Hemel, said Friday. He will be ridden by Don Pettinger.

Trainer Steve Asmussen said last week that if Reporting for Duty was excluded from the Kentucky Derby, he would most likely go to the Lone Star Derby. The Illinois Derby was the horse's stakes debut and he put in a strong bid to finish second. Asmussen has targeted Takedown for the Lone Star Derby since his win in the Northern Spur.

Slew's Tizzy, the winner of the Grade 2 Lexington, has been nominated to the Lone Star Derby, his trainer, Greg Fox, said on Friday, but the plan for the horse as of now is the Preakness.

Bullfight targets Middleground

Bullfight, a 2-year-old by Glitterman who handily won his debut Thursday night, is being pointed for the $70,000 Middleground Breeders' Cup here July 29, said Calhoun.

"We've been real high on him all winter," he said. "He's a gorgeous animal. He's got some pedigree, he's a very intelligent horse, and he's got quite a bit of ability. He looks like he's got the whole package."

* Flamefinder seeks his third straight win Sunday, in the eighth race, a first-level allowance over 7 1/2 furlongs on turf. Trainer John Locke has given the mount to Richard Eramia.

* Zimmerman was five wins shy of career victory 1,000 heading into the races Friday.