05/23/2006 11:00PM

Magnum need not be second-best

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GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Magnum appears to be sitting on a graded stakes win after runner-up finishes in major races in his last two starts. His opportunity to shine comes Monday in the Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap.

Magnum ranks as a leading contender among 12 possible starters in the 1 1/16-mile race, which is the richest race on the annual Lone Star Million Day program. In all, six stakes worth $1 million will be run here Monday, including the Grade 3, $200,000 WinStar Distaff that is expected to draw Sweet Talker, winner of the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup last year at Keeneland.

Magnum, an Argentine-bred horse based in Southern California, enters the Lone Star Handicap off consecutive graded stakes appearances. He was second by three-quarters of a length to Lava Man in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap on March 4, then second to Buzzards Bay in the Grade 2, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap in his last start on April 8.

"We were thinking about the Pimlico Special, but this gave us a little more time," said Darrell Vienna, who trains Magnum. "And it's a little closer, an easier trip. It sets him up pretty good, should he run well, for the Hollywood Gold Cup."

The Grade 1, $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup will be run at Hollywood Park on July 8.

Vienna said Patrick Valenzuela will ride Magnum, who flies into town on Saturday. The horse was to have his final work for the Lone Star Handicap on Thursday, said Vienna.

Magnum is owned by Herrick Racing. That ownership group and Vienna have had success on Million Day in the past. They won the $100,000 Beck Auto Group Turf Sprint with Nuclear Debate in 2002. Herrick and Vienna are considering sending in Group 2 winner Crystal Castle for this year's Turf Sprint.

As for the Lone Star Handicap, officials said others expected for the race are Preachinatthebar, Cosmonaut, Nakayama Kun, Real Dandy, Stockholder, Texcess, Shamoan, Dominguin, Gold and Roses, Watchem Smokey, and Wishingitwas.

The WinStar, at one mile on turf for fillies and mares, also had 12 possible starters listed by officials: Shining Energy, Sweet Talker, Katdogawn, Paz Ciudadana, Lock and Key, My Misty Princess, Caviar Emptor, Dancing Edie, Joint Aspiration, Peaceful Love, Stela, and Stretching.

Datrick in trials for Asmussen

Datrick, the undefeated winner of the Grade 3 Kentucky Breeders' Cup Stakes at Churchill Downs, will run Friday night at Lone Star in a trial race for the $100,000-estimated Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity. The finale is scheduled for June 10.

Datrick will start as a strong favorite in the eighth race, a five-furlong trial. The other trial races will go as the fourth and sixth on Friday.

Datrick won his debut by 7 1/2 lengths at Keeneland in April, then came back for a 1 1/4-length score in the Kentucky BC.

"He's very impressive," said Asmussen. "He's a Grade 3 stakes winner of more than $130,000 - in two starts. Nice horse."

Datrick raced over five furlongs in the Kentucky BC, and earned a Beyer Figure of 71, the best number in the trials Friday. He is a versatile colt, and will break from post 2 under Jamie Theriot.

"He'll do whatever you want," Asmussen said of Datrick. "He went gate to wire at Keeneland and laid right off of them at Churchill."

Datrick, a son of Favorite Trick, races for his breeder, Heiligbrodt Racing Stable.