06/06/2004 11:00PM

Objectives limitless for No Place Like It


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Owner Tom Durant has come up with some quality young dirt horses in recent years in Touch Tone, Most Feared, and Kool Humor. This year, one of the best in his stable is a turf specialist, No Place Like It.

No Place Like It won his third straight turf start at the Lone Star Park meet on May 31, when he rallied for a 1 1/2-length win in the $200,000 Pin Oak Stud USA Stakes. Before that race, No Place Like It won an entry-level allowance and a $30,000 maiden claimer at Lone Star.

"He keeps stepping up to every challenge we've given him," said Jack Bruner, who trains No Place Like It. "He keeps getting better and better."

Bruner is weighing all his options for No Place Like It, with one of the foremost being the Grade 3, $150,000 Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 26. Other possibilities include Grade 2, $200,000 Arlington Classic on July 3, or the Grade 3, $500,000 Virginia Derby on July 10.

Durant said he would like to see No Place Like It develop into a candidate for the Breeders' Cup.

Durant won the Grade 3 Arlington Washington Futurity a few years ago with Most Feared, who ran in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

No Place Like It is by Real Quiet and out of the Red Ransom mare Caribbean Affair.

Ruby's Finest meets easier

Ruby's Finest should benefit from a return to the entry-level allowance ranks in the $26,000 eighth race Wednesday night at Lone Star. The six-furlong race drew seven starters.

In his last start, Ruby's Finest was second to the multiple winner The Niner Account in an optional claimer at Lone Star. That six furlong race went in a quick 1:09.20. Ruby's Finest finished 2 3/4 lengths behind the winner, earning an 87 Beyer Speed Figure.

That number is the highest last- race Beyer among the starters in Wednesday's race. Cliff Berry has the mount on Ruby's Finest for trainer C.W. Cascio.

Boots Are Walking appears to be the chief threat. In his last start, he ran third in a conditioned allowance at Lone Star April 29. Before that race, Boots Are Walking was a 10 3/4-length allowance winner at Hawthorne Race Course.

Eddie Martin Jr. has the mount for trainer Bret Calhoun.

Futurity finales set for Saturday

Leading trainer Steve Asmussen qualified a total of 10 juveniles for both divisions of the $150,000 estimated Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity, to be run Saturday.

Asmussen qualified seven horses for the colts and geldings division of the TTA Sales Futurity, and three for the fillies division. Asmussen has won four of the last five runnings of the fillies division.

The races are the richest offerings for 2-year-olds this meet.

* Lone Star's qualifying tournament for the Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Association Handicapper of the Year tournament will be held Saturday and Sunday. It will be held on the second floor, in the new 10,000-square-foot room called Champions.

* Smarty Jones was good for business Saturday. Lone Star drew a crowd of 18,278, and handle on the 11-race program was $3.4 million.