09/30/2003 11:00PM

Opening night showdown at Lone Star


The 33-night Quarter Horse season at Lone Star Park starts Friday night with the equivalent of a Grade 1 derby matchup in the last of four trials to the Grade 1, $150,000 Dash for Cash Derby.

Meeting in the 400-yard trial are three-time derby winner Frostys Money Man and two-time Grade 1 winner Silvered Eyes.

Frostys Money Man, trained by Rodney Reed, has been the dominant derby horse in Oklahoma this year with wins in the Grade 1 Heritage Place, Grade 3 Blue Ribbon, and Grade 3 Oklahoma derbies. He was second in the Grade 1 Remington Park Derby in his most recent start on Aug. 17.

Silvered Eyes won last year's Grade 1 Dash for Cash Futurity at Lone Star and won this summer's Grade 1 Rainbow Derby at Ruidoso Downs.

Also on the opening night card is 125-pound highweight One Rare Bug, the 2002 champion 3-year-old colt. He will run in the $25,000 B.F. Phillips Jr. Handicap for Texas-breds over 400 yards.

Last year, One Rare Bug won five stakes. He comes into the Phillips Handicap off a third-place finish in the Grade 2 MBNA America Central Challenge.

The Phillips Handicap and the Dash for Cash Derby on Oct. 27 are two of 24 stakes, including 11 graded, during the nine-week meet. Over closing weekend, Thanksgiving weekend, Lone Star will offer the Grade 1, $1 million Texas Classic Futurity, the $400,000 Texas Classic Derby, and the Grade 1, $50,000 Refrigerator Handicap.

Valiantly goes for six in row

Valiantly, winner of last year's Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association Futurity for her sole Grade 1 win, shoots for her sixth consecutive victory in the Grade 2, $107,000 PCQHRA Derby on Friday night at Los Alamitos.

Valiantly's career has been carefully managed by trainer Felix Gonzalez, and his filly has not been defeated since Aug. 22, 2002. During her winning streak she was a half-length winner of the $345,500 PCQHRA Futurity, was rested for nine months, and has returned to win each of her three starts this year.

A daughter of leading sire Corona Cartel, Valiantly won the Mission Beach Handicap and an allowance race before running to the fastest-qualifying time in the second of two PCQHRA Derby trials on Sept. 20, running the 400 yards in 19.805 seconds. She finished a half-length ahead of second-fastest qualifier Special Queen SA, runner-up in the Grade 1 Ed Burke Futurity and the Grade 1 Golden State Derby.

Special Queen SA, an earner of $202,000, is one of three finalists from the Carlos Lopez stable. She defeated Grade 1 Kindergarten winner Morning Snow in their Golden State Derby trial.

Lopez also qualified Azyoucansee, second in the Grade 1 Governor's Cup Futurity, and Suzy Cartel, third behind Valiantly and Special Queen SA in their trial.

Hawkish tops PCQHRA Futurity

Hawkish may not be at 100 percent, but is still the horse to beat in the Grade 1, $336,000 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity on Saturday night at Los Alamitos.

Owned by Enrique Gonzalez's High Desert Ranch, Hawkish won the Grade 1 Kindergarten and the Grade 1 Ed Burke futurities, and will earn a $1 million bonus in he can win the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Million on Dec. 12. The PCQHRA Futurity is not part of the three-race, $1,000,000 Los Alamitos Bonanza.

Hawkish was the standout of the seven PCQHRA Futurity trials on Sept. 19 when his time of 17.470 seconds for 350 yards was the fastest qualifying time. After the race, Gonzalez said his colt was at "about 85 percent. He lost a shoe in the Ed Burke [July 26] and got an abscess in that foot."

Hawkish set the 300-yard Los Alamitos track record (15.180 seconds) in the Kindergarten and won the Ed Burke Futurity by 1 3/4 lengths.

Second-fastest qualifier Summertime Fly, trained by Paul Jones, made a strong late run at Hawkish in their PCQHRA Futurity trial and came up a neck short. He was timed in 17.505 seconds.

"Summertime Fly would have won if this was a 400-yard race," Jones said. "Hawkish will be hard to beat at 350 yards, but if he is a step slower, I think we have a shot."

Ocean Cartel, third-place finisher in the Ed Burke Futurity, accelerated strongly in the last half of his winning PCQHRA Futurity trial effort and has the fourth-fastest qualifying time, 17.615 seconds.

Challenge races at Blue Ribbon

Full Frontal Assault and Redman Running top the qualifiers to the two Challenge-program races at Blue Ribbon Downs on Sunday.

Full Frontal Assault is the top qualifier to the Grade 3, $51,210 Bayer Legend Oklahoma Challenge for 3-year-olds with a time of 19.91 seconds for 400 yards in the second of three trials on Sept. 20.

Redman Running topped the qualifiers to the Grade 3, $66,870 American Airlines Oklahoma Challenge for 2-year-olds with a two-length trial victory in 17.60 seconds for 350 yards.

The winners of the two Challenge stakes will qualify for their respective Grade 1 stakes during the Challenge Championships at Los Alamitos on Nov. 1.