06/05/2002 11:00PM

Standouts in both futurities


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Dominant winners of their trial races last month, the colt Lonely Concorde and the filly Santa Fe Strip look like standouts in their respective divisions of the $150,000-estimated Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity at Lone Star Park on Saturday.

There will be two five-furlong TTA Sales Futurities on the card, one for colts and geldings, and the other for fillies.

Lonely Concorde is unbeaten in two career starts for owners Rene Gaston and E.W. Johnson. He won his maiden by 3 1/2 lengths on May 1, then set the fastest qualifying time for the TTA Sales Futurity on May 23, when he won the final trial race by 2 1/4 lengths in 58.72 seconds for five furlongs.

Lonely Concorde has been ridden in each of his starts by Ron Ardoin, who retains the mount Saturday.

"I was pleased with his trial," said Jim Gaston, who trains Lonely Concorde. "He ran a real fast quarter and a real fast half, and when Ronald tapped him a couple of times he went on. That's about all you can ask them to do."

Gaston is looking for his second win in the colts and geldings division of the TTA Sales Futurity. He won the race in 1999 with Picture I.D.

Regarding the talent of Lonely Concorde compared to that of Picture I.D., Gaston said, "It's hard to compare these 2-year-olds at this stage, but [Lonely Concorde] has the potential to be that good."

Santa Fe Strip was not the fastest qualifier for her division of the TTA Sales Futurity, but she was the easiest of winners, galloping home by four lengths under Gerard Melancon.

"She did it pretty impressively," said Bernie Flint, who trains Santa Fe Strip for the partnership of Ed Wright, Miles Childers and LTB Inc. "I hope she runs the same type of race, using come-from-behind style."

Flint selected Santa Fe Strip as a yearling during the Fasig-Tipton Texas sale at Lone Star.

"It was the second time I'd ever been down there buying horses," he said.

It seems as if Flint has chosen the belle of the ball.

Most rival trainers regard Santa Fe Strip as the one to beat, and she has the sort of pedigree that should allow her to turn on the speed whenever she wants.

"You can't get much better pedigree going five furlongs than being by Phone Trick out of a stakes-winning Topsider mare," said Flint.

Trainer Steve Asmussen, who has won the last three runnings of the fillies division of the TTA Sales Futurity, has three in the race: Afternoon Dreams, Bedif, and Colee Bear.

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