04/14/2003 11:00PM

Norman has strong entry


Write it and they will come.

That slightly altered movie quote aptly describes the response from Lone Star Park horsemen to a $33,000 three-other-than allowance race, with a $50,000 claiming option, written in the condition book for Thursday's program. The six-furlong race drew a full field of 14, half of whom have won or placed in a stakes race during the last 16 months.

Ruling Star and Explosive Truth, an entry from trainer Cole Norman, each bring strength to the race.

Ruling Star's consistency and gameness can not be matched by any of the other entrants. First or second in his last eight starts, Ruling Star has managed to look good even in defeats, such as his half-length loss in the Excalibur Stakes at Louisiana Downs last November where he earned a 98 Beyer Speed Figure. In his most recent start at Oaklawn, Ruling Star held second by a nose despite stumbling at the start.

Explosive Truth's strength is his fondness for Lone Star's track, the site for two of his three career wins. Under the care of Norman in 2001, Explosive Truth won his maiden by over 10 lengths, and then captured the Middleground Stakes, Lone Star's premiere event for 2-year-olds. Explosive Truth spent much of last year with trainer Tom Amoss at Arlington Park, where he won or placed in three of five allowance starts.

There is no shortage of other options in Thursday's feature. Proven Cure, a former mainstay on the Kentucky circuit, is spending the twilight of his career in the barn of trainer John Locke at Lone Star. He's the senior citizen of the group at age 9, but he hasn't lost his competitiveness.

The winner of an open allowance race on grass two back, he followed up with a close fourth-place finish in the Sam Houston Turf Sprint. He's recorded two fast workouts in recent weeks.

Ski Bum, third in the Sam Houston Turf Sprint, has won his last two starts on dirt and is 4 for 6 lifetime over Lone Star's main track. His career best Beyer, a 104, was earned in a second-place finish in the six-furlong J.R. Straus Memorial Stakes at Retama last summer.

Where's the Ring, a lightly raced homebred from Pin Oak Stud of Kentucky, easily won his first two allowance conditions at Oaklawn, but faces a stern test coming back on only 15 days' rest.

Explosive Count was the beaten favorite in a 6 1/2-furlong stakes at Sunland Park that was run in 1:14.80. A return to his previous form would make him a serious threat.