05/20/2005 12:00AM

Rodeo's Castle may aim high

Lone Star Park
Rodeo's Castle (right) is shaken up en route to victory in the Ford Express at Lone Star Park last weekend.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Rodeo's Castle, who ran the biggest race of his career last weekend in the $75,000 Ford Express at Lone Star Park, could move to one of racing's biggest stages next month. His owner, Byron House 3rd, is contemplating a start at Belmont Park in the Grade 2, $200,000 True North Breeders' Cup on the Belmont Stakes undercard June 11.

"Belmont might be something fun to shoot at," he said.

Rodeo's Castle earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 105 for his front-running win in the Ford Express, a six-furlong race he captured over a track rated good in a stakes-record time of 1:07.85. The track record for six furlongs is 1:07.82, set by Savorthetime in 2004.

"I've only seen a horse run 1:07 and change twice in my life, live, and I can't believe I've got one of them," said House.

The other horse, he said, was Rapid Gray close to 20 years ago at Oaklawn. House lives near that track in Little Rock, Ark., and had a blast watching the 4-year-old Rodeo's Castle, whom he claimed out of his second career start for $12,500, develop over the course of the recent meet. Trained by Beverly Fowler, the colt won three straight allowance races during Oaklawn.

"It was a lot of fun," said House. "It was unbelievable. He kept on getting better. It's a wonderful dream."

House said Rodeo's Castle has been nominated to the $100,000 Beck Auto Group Turf Sprint at five furlongs at Lone Star Park on May 30, as well as the $50,000 Kings Court at six furlongs at his base track of Louisiana Downs on May 29.

But those races would be too soon for Rodeo's Castle, House said, which is added reason the True North is appealing.

Pools rise with dime superfectas

The institution of dime superfectas at Lone Star this meet has pushed the average pool size for the wager up 72 percent over the 2004 spring meet superfecta pools, according to Lone Star spokesman Darren Rogers.

The average superfecta pool was $16,505 last spring, but this meet the average has swelled to $28,383. The average superfecta payoff for a dime has been $513.46, or $5,134.65 for $1. Last spring, the average $1 superfecta payoff was $2,282.

The highest dime superfecta payoff this meet came on April 30, when there was one ticket worth $22,861.

Lone Star also began a 50-cent pick four this meet, and the average pool on that bet has grown from $5,804 during the spring meet of 2004, to $11,580. The largest 50-cent pick four payoff this meet was $10,385.60.

Prep for Miller Lite

Runs Naked, a front-runner who has stepped up her game of late, and Stirrin Up a Storm, who has a nice stretch kick, meet in the featured fifth race Sunday. The five-furlong turf allowance for fillies and mares has a purse of $38,000. It is a prep for the $50,000 Miller Lite Stakes at five furlongs on turf June 25.

Runs Naked won an optional claiming race on turf in her last start, covering the distance in 56.80 seconds. She earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 92, the highest last-race Beyer in her field on Sunday.

Breeders' Cup economic windfall

Lone Star hosted the Breeders' Cup last fall, and the championship series generated $47.4 million in economic activity for Texas, according to a study released by Drs. Terry Clower and Bernard Weinstein of the University of North Texas.

According to the study, 46 percent of the 53,717 in attendance for the Breeders' Cup came from out of state, accounting for $20.45 million in lodging, food, and other entertainment expenses.

* Charming Socialite, the champion Texas-bred 3-year-old of 2004, came out of a sharp five furlong work in 1:00.40 on Thursday in good order and will make his next start in the $50,000 Carter McGregor Jr. Memorial for Texas-breds May 28, said his trainer, Bill Pettit.