06/01/2003 11:00PM

Sea Bloom has the goods to handle elders


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - It's a good 3-year-old who can beat older horses, and since Sea Bloom has already done so once at the meet, she appears to be a leading contender in the featured eighth race Wednesday night.

A 1 1/16-mile optional claimer on turf, the race drew six horses, including Titia and Marfa's Taxes, who are both in good form.

Although Sea Bloom will be facing more seasoned rivals, she may be the most talented horse in the race. Never beaten around two turns on turf, she won the $100,000 La Senorita on turf as a 2-year-old, and she is one of the top locals pointing for the $100,000 Walmac Lone Star Oaks at a mile on turf July 4.

In her last start April 30, Sea Bloom faced older rivals. She pushed the pace early over yielding turf before prevailing by 3 3/4 lengths. She might benefit if the footing is firm on Wednesday, since her biggest career win came under those circumstances in the La Senorita.

E.J. Perrodin has the mount for trainer Sam David Jr.

Titia led from the start of an optional claimer in her last start May 16, winning by three lengths. That was her first start back from a brief freshening, and the 5-year-old is a threat right back for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Marfa's Taxes, who was beaten for a claiming price of $10,000 last June, has made a successful climb up the class ladder, and in her last start was second, beaten two lengths, in a tough optional claimer May 11.

Leading rider Eddie Martin Jr. has the mount on Marfa's Taxes for trainer Paul Duhon.

Next spot uncertain for Bien Nicole

Trainer Donnie Von Hemel said next-race plans for Bien Nicole, sixth as the favorite in the Grade 3, $200,000 WinStar Distaff here May 26, have yet to be determined. A five-time stakes winner on turf, she did not seem to handle the ground in the one-mile race for fillies and mares, run over soft turf.

"She came back good," said Von Hemel. "All I can say is the turf was too yielding, too soft for our liking."

Bien Nicole is one of the top turf mares in the Midwest, and earlier this year won the Grade 3, $200,000 Oaklawn Breeders' Cup on dirt.

The lost shoe files

Lone Star Deputy, who was 10th as the favorite in the $200,000 USA Stakes, and Where's the Ring, sixth in the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap, both lost shoes in their respective stakes starts May 26.

Lone Star Deputy lost his right out of the gate, said Bret Calhoun, who trains the colt for Coast to Coast Racing. He also struggled some with the soft turf, and is now being pointed for the Grade 2, $175,000 Arlington Classic for 3-year-olds at Arlington on June 28.

Earlier this meet, Lone Star Deputy won the $100,000 Grand Prairie Turf Challenge.

Where's the Ring, who was with the pace for much of the Lone Star Park Handicap, finished just five lengths behind the winner, Pie N Burger, despite losing his shoe. Later in the meet, he could start in the $60,000 Bob Johnson Memorial at a mile July 13, said his trainer, Von Hemel.

Pedigree payoffs

Those who paid attention to pedigrees over the weekend at Lone Star were rewarded. The first foal of Icy Morn, a 13-time stakes winner who owns a course record at Lone Star, won her debut in a maiden special weight race Sunday. Excessively Icy paid $8.40.

Both mother and daughter are gray.

Friday night, Royal Sailor ($35.60), a half-brother to Dallas Turf Cup winner Gold Nugget, won his turf debut. Both horses are out of the mare Silently Sunday.

Meanwhile, Clear in the West, a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Bedanken, remained undefeated in two starts with an impressive allowance win May 26, and she is now under consideration for the Lone Star Oaks, said her trainer, Von Hemel.

LeBlanc, Nichols engaged

With the winner's circle as the setting, jockeys Kirk LeBlanc and Jerri Nichols recently became engaged. They plan to be married later this year, said LeBlanc.

LeBlanc is a regular at Lone Star, while Nichols, on the comeback from a minor physical setback, finished fourth in the standings at the recent Thoroughbred meet at Delta Downs. LeBlanc was the 2001 riding champ at Louisiana Downs.