05/09/2006 12:00AM

Red Raymond seeks different derby

Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
Red Raymond would be a top choice if he runs in the Lone Star Derby.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Trainer Bob Holthus is in the market for a derby for Red Raymond. He said an appealing option is the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Derby at Lone Star Park on Saturday.

"It's a pretty nice purse, and we might take a chance and try to win a derby," said Holthus, who was to make a final decision on the race Wednesday.

Red Raymond had been pointing for last week's Kentucky Derby, but he did not have enough graded earnings to secure a spot in the oversubscribed field, which went with the maximum 20 starters last Saturday.

"He wound up 23rd," Holthus said, referring to Red Raymond's spot on the earnings list for intended Derby starters.

Red Raymond will be one of the top choices if he goes in the Lone Star Derby, a 1 1/16-mile race that is expected to draw seven or eight horses when entries are taken Thursday.

In his last start, the late-running Red Raymond was caught in traffic on both turns when 10th in the Grade 2, $1 million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn. Before that race, Red Raymond ran second in the Grade 3, $300,000 Rebel there on March 18. That day he finished three lengths behind eventual Arkansas Derby winner Lawyer Ron, and a neck in front of Steppenwolfer, who was third last week in the Kentucky Derby.

Red Raymond has been training at Churchill Downs since the Arkansas Derby, and last Saturday breezed five furlongs in 1:00.60, the second-fastest of seven moves at the distance. Before that drill, he went five furlongs in 59.80 seconds on April 29.

"He's come up here and put in two good workouts, and he seems to be doing well," said Holthus.

At 2, Red Raymond won the $75,000 James C. Ellis Juvenile at seven furlongs at Ellis Park in August. Later in the year, he ran third in the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity and fourth in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.

This year, Red Raymond ran third to Lawyer Ron in the Southwest before facing him again in the Rebel and the Arkansas Derby. Red Raymond is a son of Deputy Commander, and has won 2 of 9 starts and $194,735. He races for Thomas W. Franks. Luis Quinonez is the regular rider on Red Raymond.

Others considered probable for the Lone Star Derby are Wanna Runner, Admiral's Arch, Sweetening, Mr. Pursuit, and Rain on Monday. Among those considered possible by Lone Star officials is Ultimate Goal, a winner of his maiden and an allowance in his last two starts. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Ultimate Goal is a son of Storm Cat and the Grade 1-winning mare Sister Act.

Jeanette Hughes, assistant racing secretary at Lone Star, said flights carrying horses to Texas for the race have been delayed a day. Wanna Runner was to have flown in from California on Tuesday, but the trip was rescheduled for Wednesday. The flight from Kentucky that was scheduled for Wednesday has been moved to Thursday.

Two got big results with blinkers

Wanna Runner and Admiral's Arch will be among the top betting interests in the Lone Star Derby as they come off a stakes wins in their last start. And the two horses have another thing in common - both added blinkers for their most recent start. Wanna Runner put the equipment back on for the $600,000 WinStar Derby on April 1 and showed more speed than he had in his prior start en route to a 4 3/4-length win at Sunland Park.

Admiral's Arch donned blinkers for the first time in the $100,000 Northern Spur Breeders' Cup at Oaklawn on April 15, and was up for a head win over Sweetening. One start prior, he had finished second to Mr. Pursuit in an optional claimer at Oaklawn.

* Grandstanding and Lucky Bid, a respective second and third behind stakes winner Akanti last out in an optional claimer at Oaklawn, meet again in the featured eighth race Thursday night. The entry-level allowance race will be run at one mile. Another contender is Crook's Lad.