03/12/2002 12:00AM

Lopez has two bullets


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - This could be a memorable week for jockey James Lopez. Not only does he have a chance to sweep two major stakes at Oaklawn Park on Saturday, but Lopez could also take back the lead in the rider standings over the sidelined Terry Thompson, who led the colony by three wins coming into Wednesday's card.

Lopez worked both of his stakes hopefuls Tuesday, and both fired bullets. Crafty Shaw, the probable favorite in the Grade 3, $100,000 Razorback Handicap, went four furlongs in 46.60 seconds, and Caressing, who will make her 4-year-old debut in the Grade 3, $200,000 Oaklawn Breeders' Cup, drilled five furlongs in 1:00.

"It was probably her best work since she's been here," said David Vance, who trains Caressing, the 2-year-old filly champion of 2000.

Lopez will be riding Caressing for the first time, but has been aboard Crafty Shaw for his past four starts, winning them all: an allowance Nov. 28, the $50,000 Prairie Bayou on Dec. 15, the $75,000 Diplomat Way on Jan. 20, and the Grade 3, $75,000 Essex on Feb. 23.

The Essex is one of four stakes wins Lopez has had at the meet, more than any other rider this meet.

Crafty Shaw is weighted at 119 pounds for the Razorback, one pound less than defending champ and highweight Mr Ross, who is to be ridden by Don Pettinger.

Borel on Remington Rock

Calvin Borel has picked up the mount on Remington Rock for the Razorback, because the horse's regular rider, Marlon St. Julien, is scheduled to travel to Fair Grounds the same day to ride Hallowed Dreams in the $125,000 Victoria Lass Handicap.

"With Calvin's riding style, I feel like he'll suit him well," said Richard Jackson, who trains Remington Rock. "He gets horses to relax. He's good on late-running horses, and that's what this horse wants to do."

Jackson and Borel have won two races together from four tries this meet. They finished second and third in the two other races in which they teamed.

Remington Rock could go off as third choice in the Razorback. In his last start, he finished third in the Essex, and before that was a powerful allowance winner. Overall, he has won 15 races and $347,135, including last year's Grade 3 Fifth Season Breeders' Cup here.

Jackson said a "one-two-three finish" in the Razorback will earn Remington Rock the chance to run in his first $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 6. The horse is also under consideration for the Grade 3, $300,000 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park on April 27.

Smith to ride Kiss of Lion

Kiss of Lion will be ridden by Mike Smith in the Razorback. An Argentine-bred, the horse has had a strong meet, winning a tough money allowance Feb. 10, then closing for second against Crafty Shaw, who led wire to wire in the Essex.

"We thought our horse made a big run late," said trainer Don Von Hemel. "He had some time off during the summer and early fall, and I think he's benefited from that."

Smith will be in town to ride Ask Me No Secrets for trainer David Hofmans in the Oaklawn BC.

Moyer barn clicking

Trainer Steve Moyer, who is in his first season here, sent out three winners from five starters last week, including the impressive first-timer Decorated Hero. Moyer has 14 horses here, and another 14 at a training center in Lexington, Ky.

Moyer, a former assistant to Nick Zito and Phil Hauswald who also spent time as a private trainer for Jim "Mattress Mac" McIngvale, came to Oaklawn this season for several reasons, including the weather and strong purse structure.

"As my stable's gotten larger, my clients want horses at the races instead of at the training center shipping out to run," said Moyer.

The trainer added that his horses have thrived in Hot Springs. "They've adjusted to this track," he said. "I've got the right spots to run a lot of them back in. We should be busy from now to the end of the meet, and we should be live."

Moyer, who will start Dear to My Heart in the seventh race Thursday, said he hopes to stretch Decorated Hero out around two turns later in the meet, and could possibly start the 3-year-old in the $75,000 Northern Spur on April 10.

Moyer might also stretch out Darling Deputy around two turns in the $75,000 Bayakoa Stakes on April 5. The filly, who won an allowance sprint impressively last Thursday, is also under consideration for the $100,000 Carousel Breeders' Cup on April 7.