10/06/2004 12:00AM

Taylor and Gold Storm go for the big one

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Jockey Larry Taylor already won one sprint stakes race over the weekend at Lone Star Park, and he will be hunting bigger game Friday when he travels to Keeneland to ride Gold Storm in the Grade 3, $250,000 Phoenix Breeders' Cup. The race is one of the most important in Taylor's career, because with a good effort, Gold Storm will be pointed for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Sprint at the horse's home track of Lone Star Park.

Taylor is perfect on Gold Storm. He traveled to Arling-ton Park last month and guided the horse to a powerful win in the $150,000 Arlington Breeders' Cup Sprint. Taylor was also aboard when Gold Storm won the $40,000 J.R. Straus Memorial by a neck at Retama in July.

"He didn't beat them bad, but he fell leaving the gate," said Taylor, 38, referring to the Straus. "I like him. If he runs the same race he did last time, he'll be tough."

Taylor has gotten off to a fast start at Lone Star, where he finished fifth in the standings during the spring. He will be based at the track through October, then head to Sam Houston Race Park in Houston.

Taylor had a double at Lone Star on Saturday, winning the $100,000 Alysheba Breeders' Cup aboard $47 winner Charming Socialite, as well as a maiden race for trainer Bubba Cascio, who also conditions Gold Storm. Taylor returned a day later to win a turf race for Cascio on Calverstown.

Taylor returned to Texas last year after riding in several countries. He spent time in South America, riding first call for a 200-horse stable in seven different countries there, including Argentina and Brazil. Back in North America, Taylor won the Turf Club riding title at River Downs in 2002. He later decided to come back to Texas, which is close to his native Oklahoma.

He and his wife make their home in Houston.

Aud eyes Cardinal

Aud was flown from Dallas to her Kentucky base on Wednesday morning, and she will be nominated for the Grade 3, $150,000 Cardinal Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 20, said her trainer, Tony Reinstedler.

Aud was placed first in the $100,000 Yellow Rose Breeders' Cup at Lone Star on Sunday following the disqualification of My Misty Princess.

"She came out of the race great," said Reinstedler. "She ran her race. I'm happy with her."

Reinstedler said he would not rule out bringing Aud back to Lone Star for the $100,000 Bluebonnet Stakes the day after the Breeders' Cup on Oct. 31. Another option is to start her at Keeneland before the Cardinal.

Ninety wins in about 90 days?

Steve Asmussen, who leads all North American trainers in wins, has passed the 400-win mark this year. He headed into Monday's races with 407 wins, which places him 90 wins from breaking Jack Van Berg's record of 496 wins in a year by a trainer. Asmussen has just under three months to win the 90 races needed to set a record in North America.

Van Berg set the record in 1976, when he started 2,362 horses. They earned $2.9 million in purses. Asmussen, who was the nation's leading trainer in wins last year with 407, has started 1,647 horses through Sunday, and has stable earnings of $10,253,891.

Roman Ruler nominated

Roman Ruler, Afleet Alex, and Declan's Moon are the top 2-year-olds nominated to the $1 million Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs on Dec. 4. Early nominations for the 1 1/16-mile race closed last month, and a total of 78 horses were nominated to the race, which highlights the meet at the Vinton, La, track. Also nominated to the race is Bellamy Road, winner of the Cradle Stakes at River Downs.

Mr. Jester drops in class

Mr. Jester, who won last year $1 million Delta Jackpot, will take on a competitive field in the featured ninth race at Louisiana Downs on Friday. The one mile and 70-yard allowance carries an optional claiming price of $50,000.

Mr. Jester last raced in the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby and finished eighth on the muddy track. Gerard Melancon, who rode Fantasticat to victory in the Super Derby, will be aboard Mr. Jester for the first time Friday. Steve Wren trains the horse for Kaaren Biggs.

Others in the race include There Goes Rocket, who makes the move to two turns for his second start back from the layoff; Crowned King, who returns to dirt after finishing fifth last out in the $150,000 Louisiana Downs Handicap; Witt Ante, who gets the services of leading rider Lonnie Meche; and King Zonic, who has a 5-for-10 record at Louisiana Downs.