07/11/2008 12:00AM

Storm Mesa headed for turf at Del Mar


They're going to play the turf card with Storm Mesa. The most dominant 3-year-old filly to come out of the Lone Star Park meet, she is headed to Del Mar to make her turf debut in the Grade 2, $150,000 San Clemente Handicap at a mile on July 26.

Storm Mesa, the winner of the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks last month who also captured the $100,000 Cinemine at Lone Star in May with a Beyer Figure of 108, had been under consideration for a start in one of two Grade 1 races at Saratoga.

"I think she would fit well in the Test at seven-eighths, and I think she'd fit well in the Alabama going a mile and a quarter," said Bret Calhoun, who trains Storm Mesa. "I think she's that caliber of horse. I just prefer to keep her on a faster track right now.

"I worked her on turf before I ran her in the Iowa Oaks, and she worked very good over it, so I have some confidence. And she's got quite a bit of grass in her pedigree on the bottom. So, I think she'll turf."

Storm Mesa will be looking for her fifth straight win when she starts in the San Clemente. The race will be an important test, said Calhoun.

"There's going to be some opportunities down the road on the turf, some good grass races later on in the year, and this is a good time to find out if she'll turf or not," he said. "That will make our decisions the rest of the year a little easier."

Eddie Martin Jr., the third-leading rider at Lone Star, has the mount in the San Clemente. Calhoun said Storm Mesa will fly to Del Mar on July 21.

Golden Yank possible for Prelude

The connections of Golden Yank decided to pass on shipping the horse to the Grade 2 American Derby at Arlington this weekend and instead are considering a start in the $100,000 Prelude at Louisiana Downs on Aug. 16, said trainer Gary Thomas. The 1 1/16-mile race is the local prep for the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby.

Golden Yank is a multiple stakes winner on dirt, but he has been running on turf of late. In his most recent out, he closed well for second in the Grade 2 Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs. He is based at Lone Star along with Greeley's Conquest, who won the $50,000 Temperence Hill at Louisiana Downs last month with a career-best Beyer of 100.

Thomas said Greeley's Conquest has been nominated to four stakes, with a decision on his next start to be made soon. He has been made eligible for the $50,000 Bob Johnson Memorial at Lone Star, the $50,000 Don Bernhardt Memorial at Ellis Park, and the $60,000 Oak Hall at Evangeline, all on Saturday. He is also nominated to the $75,000 Sprint at Prairie Meadows on Aug. 2.

Zarb's Dahar, a multiple stakes winner who was seventh to Greeley's Conquest in the Temperence Hill, will make his second start of the year in the featured eighth race Sunday at Louisiana Downs. His rivals include C'mon Tiger, a half-brother to two-time Breeders' Cup Classic winner and past Super Derby hero Tiznow.

Texas tracks make 2009 requests

Lone Star has asked the Texas Racing Commission for a 65-date meet for Thoroughbreds next year, a schedule that mirrors the current meet. Officials have asked to race from April 9 through July 26.

Retama Park has asked for 32 Thoroughbred dates next year, from Aug. 28 through Nov. 7.

Sam Houston, which runs a fall-to-spring meet, has asked for a total of 65 dates for Thoroughbreds in 2009. The first part of the request is for 47 days, from Jan. 1 to April 4. The second part would open Nov. 27 and race 18 days through Dec. 31.

Fund-raiser for Don MacBeth

The Lone Star jockey colony will conduct its third annual Don MacBeth fund-raising dinner, dance, and auction at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Diamond Jim's in Arlington, Texas. This year's theme is "Lone Star's Got Talent."

The jockeys plan to dress up as a variety of celebrities and put on a talent show, said event coordinator Pat Barrett. Cliff Berry, the leading rider at Lone Star, has a band called Easy Money that will play at the event, said Barrett. Tickets are $20 and are available from any jockey, or at the gift shop at Lone Star.

$500K Quarter Horse stakes at Delta

Delta has a host of Quarter Horse stakes on tap Sunday, led by the $512,300 Lee Berwick Memorial Futurity. The 350-yard race is restricted to Louisiana-breds and drew a field of 10. The top contenders in the race appear to be a pair of colts who are each undefeated in three starts: Jack Platinum and Jet Black Patriot.