08/08/2001 11:00PM

Saturday Stakes roundup


'Triple' seeks quadruple

BOOSIER CITY, La. - Triple Card, currently riding a three-race win streak, including the Airline Stakes here at Louisiana Downs in his most recent start, heads the field for Saturday's Bossier City Handicap. The 1 1/16-mile turf test for 3-year-olds carries a $40,000 purse.

Triple Play has been unbeatable since being freshened in the spring. The Eddie Milligan charge began his comeback on the main track at Lone Star on May 28 in the McGregor Stakes for Texas-breds. He promptly set a track record for six furlongs, covering the distance in a blistering 1:08.06, and paying $62.80. After defeating state-bred stakes company in his next start, Triple Card made his first local appearance in the Airline. Despite being carried five wide out of the turn that afternoon by heavily favored Joyful Tune, he prevailed by a length, stopping the timer in 1:09.13, a stakes record.

Saturday marks the first time that Triple Card will try turf. While he is unbeaten sprinting, his two-turn record is another matter. Since winning his second career start going a mile at Sam Houston in January facing allowance foes, he has not hit the board in three attempts at a distance of ground, including the Southwest and Northern Spur stakes at Oaklawn. Don Simington, aboard for every one of Triple Card's starts, will again handle the riding chores at 118 pounds.

Seattle Knight, who had won two straight races on the grass, will be seeking to make amends for his disappointing effort as the 3-5 favorite in a nonwinners-of-three allowance test July 21. Trained by Cole Norman, who swept last weekend's stakes here, Seattle Knight will be ridden by Anthony Lovato at 114 pounds.

- Jeff Taylor

Retama Park

Nat's Big Party and Gold Nugget, two former claiming horses who have become regional stakes winners, meet in the $50,000 Retama Turf Cup at Retama Park near San Antonio.

The field for the 1 1/16-mile turf race is completed by Kris Havingfunnow, winner of last year's $100,000 El Joven over the Retama Park turf; Dynaboy, who will be coupled with Gold Nugget; Colonial Power, an allowance winner at this distance two starts ago at Lone Star Park near Dallas; and allowance performers Frankly Classic and Quiet Man.

Beaten for a claiming price of $50,000 last winter at Fair Grounds, Nat's Big Party has had a productive summer, finishing third in the $300,000 Dallas Turf Cup in June, and winning the $100,000 Independence Breeders' Cup Handicap at Louisiana Downs in July.

Steve Asmussen trains Nat's Big Party, the 120-pound highweight, for Richard Englander, and has given the mount to Corey Lanerie.

Roman Chapa will ride Gold Nugget, who once raced for a claiming price of $15,000. The horse has since found his calling on turf, and has won several regional stakes, his biggest score coming in the 2000 running of the Dallas Turf Cup, which was worth $250,000. In his last start Gold Nugget was an allowance winner at Lone Star. Randy Mayfield trains for Leland Cook.

- Mary Rampellini


NORTH RANDALL, Ohio - Turkowar will attempt to stretch his winning streak to four races while facing 10 Ohio-bred 3-year-old peers in the $40,000, six-furlong, North Randall Stakes at Thistledown.

In his last race, July 22, he drew off to a 4 3/4-length tally in River Downs's 1 1/16-mile Horizon Stakes. Before that he reeled off wins in two allowance sprints at Thistledown. Under the allowance conditions of the race, Turkowar is co-highweighted at 119 pounds and Tony Caminita will ride for trainer Joe Shuman.

The main opposition for Turkowar should come from two-time stakes winner Blame It on Ruby, who has been stakes-placed in three of his six starts this season, all over middle distances. He has the tactical speed to be well-placed under Jeffrey Skerrett. He is trained by Austin Smith and will carry 116 pounds.

Of the others, Taylortwofeathers has the best chance of winning. He has a stakes win to his credit this year and has been stakes-placed twice. Trainer Tim Hamm has engaged the riding services of Julio Felix for his horse, who will also carry 119.

- Chuck Scaravilli

Sam Houston

Hotdoggin, a 2-year-old Quarter Horse who established a track record for 350 yards while winning his trial for the $263,438 TQHA Sales Futurity last month at Sam Houston Race Park, is clearly the one to beat in the finale. The 350-yard race drew eight others, including the Heath Taylor-trained entry of Secluded and Allkindacats.

Taylor also trains Hotdoggin, who set the fastest qualifying time for the Sales Futurity when he won his trial by 2 3/4 lengths in a time of 17.36 seconds. The old track record for 350 yards was 17.54 seconds, set by Streakin O Toole in 1997.

Hotdoggin has won two of his four career starts. "His mamma was unbelievably fast," said Taylor, who trains Hotdoggin for Shultz Ranch. "She won the Kansas and Rainbow futurities and probably would have won the All American if she had not been injured."

Jockey Gilbert Ortiz, who qualified all of Taylor's horses, rides Hotdoggin in the finale. Jacky Martin has been named on both Secluded, a 1 1/2-length winner of his trial, and Allkindacats, a 1 3/4-length winner of his trial.

- Mary Rampellini