06/04/2001 12:00AM

Showdown in Futurity trial


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Star Stormy and Wild Gear, the top two fillies entered in Wednesday's three trial races for the fillies division of the $150,000-estimated Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity, may provide a preview of the Futurity finals, as they will face each other in the evening's second trial race.

The TTA Sales Futurity finale is to be run over five furlongs on June 30.

Star Stormy was one of five debut winners sent out by the owner-trainer team of Tom Durant and Ronny Werner during the spring meet at Keeneland. She romped by 9 3/4 lengths in her April 26 bow.

Wild Gear also won her maiden by more than nine lengths, her victory coming at Lone Star on April 18. She has since won a trial race and the $55,000 Manor Downs Futurity over male rivals for trainer Steve Asmussen.

The two meet for the first time in the fifth race, a five-furlong trial worth $18,000. "This is not an easy race by any means," said Werner. "That one of Steve's is no slouch."

Wild Gear has improved with each start. Glen Murphy has the mount for Asmussen, who has won the past two runnings of the fillies division of the TTA Sales Futurity - in 1999 with Maddie's Promise and last year with Louetta. Casey Lambert rides Star Stormy for Werner, who won last year's colts and geldings division of the TTA Sales Futurity with Wild Hits.

In other trials, French Riviera, a daughter of French Deputy who has flashed speed in her morning works, including a five-furlong drill in 59.20 seconds May 25, makes her debut in the fourth race for trainer Larry Robideaux. In the sixth race and final trial, Donnie Meche comes in from Kentucky to ride Friona, winner of a maiden race at Churchill Downs on May 3, for Asmussen.

Sprinters in the spotlight

A pair of 6 1/2 furlong sprints - one open and one restricted to fillies and mares - round out the card. In the featured eighth race, Dixie Doodle, an easy winner when claimed for $35,000 last out, is the one to beat in the optional claiming sprint worth $33,000. Earlier on the card, Taffy meets Brittsker in the third race, an allowance for fillies and mares worth $38,000.

Dixie Doodle has won two of three starts this meet, his first over Vinnie's Boy, who returned to win the $100,000 Lone Star Park Turf Sprint on May 28. David Nuesch rides for Asmussen.

* Asmussen will make his presence felt in the $100,000 Mesquite Breeders' Cup Mile for 3-year-old fillies Saturday. The horseman trains 10 of the 25 fillies nominated to the race, which he won last year with Fiesty Countess.