04/30/2002 12:00AM

Lone Star Derby crowded


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - A well-matched crop of 3-year-olds this season coupled with an a new date on the calendar could help the Grade 3, $500,000, 1 1/8-mile Lone Star Derby draw the largest field in its history when it is run for the sixth time May 11.

There are 11 early probables for the Lone Star Derby, which for the first time this year will be held after the Kentucky Derby. Among those pointing for the race are Peekskill, third in the Grade 1 Florida Derby; Danthebluegrassman, winner of the Golden Gate Derby; Tracemark, winner of the California Derby; Smoked Em, winner of the Federico Tesio Stakes; and Mr. Mellon, winner of the Rushaway Stakes.

Others expected are Bunk N Ted, whose first career loss came last out when he finished fifth as the favorite in the Tampa Bay Derby; Bay Monster, who finished in a dead heat for third with Windward Passage in the Arkansas Derby; Screen Idol, winner of the Northern Spur Stakes; Holdthehelm, Dusty Spike, and White Flame.

Mountain Forum, winner of the OBS Championship, also is under consideration for the Lone Star Derby.

"It's a long way to come from my playground at Calder, but we're kicking the idea around," said Ronnie Spatz, trainer of Mountain Forum. "One of the owners lives out there in Brenham, Texas, and there's really nothing here for him for another month and a half."

The biggest field for the Lone Star Derby was in 1999, when 11 horses started; the race was won by longshot T.B. Track Star. Other past winners of the race are Anet, Smolderin Heart, Tahkodha Hills, and Percy Hope.

High times for Calhoun

Trainer Bret Calhoun is having a dream season at Lone Star, where he has won with 30 percent of his starters during the first four weeks of the meet. His hot hand has propelled him to second place in the standings with 10 wins, seven behind perennial leader Steve Asmussen.

Calhoun, a 37-year-old native of Grand Prairie, said a combination of things have led to his strong meet, notably the class of horse he has in training. "My clients have stepped up and bought better horses," he said. "We do try and point for this meet because a lot of my owners are from this area, and the ones who aren't enjoy coming here."

Among his north Texas-based clients are Bobby Beck, whose Coast to Coast Racing is the leading owner at Lone Star; Wimp Free Racing, a partnership of six led by popular sports radio host and columnist Randy Galloway; and Clarence Scharbauer, who raced Horse of the Year Alysheba.

Calhoun's strong crop of 2-year-olds this year includes the Scharbauer-owned Golden Spur, a son of Touch Gold who is out of a Grade 2-winning full sister to Alysheba, and You Glitter Girl, who is expected to make her debut during trials for the filly division of the $150,000 Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity on May 22.

Calhoun also has 2-year-olds by Indian Charlie, Unbridled's Song, Southern Halo, Deputy Commander, and Quiet American. The trainer has 28 horses at Lone Star.

* T.B. Track Star, third last out to eventual Grade 3-placed Compendium in an allowance at Lone Star, takes on the Cole Norman-trained entry of On the Tee and Desert Demon in the featured eighth race at Lone Star on Thursday. The one-mile optional claiming race has also drawn Wow, a 16-length allowance winner at Oaklawn in March, and Big E W, who in his last start romped by 13 1/4 lengths in an optional claimer at Lone Star.