06/27/2004 11:00PM

Top trainers make Martin even better


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Jockey Eddie Martin Jr. says he has the best of three worlds at Lone Star Park, where he has dominated the standings for much of the meet, which will come to a close July 11.

"I'm fortunate to ride for the big three," said Martin, referring to trainers Steve Asmussen, Cole Norman, and Bret Calhoun, the top three trainers at Lone Star. "To ride for the three powerhouse stables, you pretty much have to have a good meet. Those are three people who know how to win races."

Martin, 41, knows how to win races, himself. A winner of 2,722 races and $45 million in purses, he leads the local standings with 71 wins and appears poised to win his first Lone Star title. Martin established himself as the front-runner in that race the first week of the meet, when he went 10 for 29.

Martin is also the leading money winner at the meet, with mount earnings of $1,358,225.

His strengths have included stakes victories - he leads all riders at the meet with five - and wins with favorites. Martin's biggest victories of the meet include the $200,000 Pin Oak Stud USA Stakes with No Place Like It and the $75,000 Irving Distaff with Janeian.

Janeian is trained by Calhoun, for whom Martin has ridden first call since 2001. Following the Lone Star meet, Martin will head to Arlington Park, where Calhoun has a division. Martin said he will take some time off in early November before returning to action at Fair Grounds.

Martin is a past title winner at Fair Grounds, which is located in his native New Orleans. One of his biggest career wins came at that track when he won the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap with Real Cozzy.

Martin and his agent, Bobby Kelly, came into this year's Lone Star meet with a simple plan. "We set a goal to try and win one a day," Martin said. "It was the most realistic thing we could possibly do."

That goal has been accomplished and then some, as Wednesday is just day 54 of racing at Lone Star.

Racing week to be extended

Lone Star will race six consecutive days this week, from Wednesday night through Monday. There are two stakes for the July 4 weekend, with the $75,000 Bob Johnson Memorial to be run Saturday and the $100,000 Lone Star Oaks to be run Sunday.

There is a special 5 p.m. post set for Saturday and Sunday, with fireworks to follow the races both nights. Post for the first on Monday is 1:35.

Pie N Burger, who won the Bob Johnson last year, is expected to defend his title in the one-mile race this year. Other horses whom officials consider probable are Dusty Spike, Kool Humor, Meteor Impact, Rare Cure, Record Assembly, Suave Lad, and Won CC. Possibles include Agrivating General, Formidable Gold, and Guaranteed Sweep.

Topango, who has never been beaten on turf, will head the Oaks. Others whom officials expect for the 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies are Blondz Away, City Zoom, Dancinasfastasican, Dancing Meg, High Pioneer, Howl at the Moon, Merry Me In Spring, Sapphires N Halos, True Blonde Beauty, and Truth By Ruth. Possibles include America America, Kurlicue, and Native Annie.

* Queena Corrina will go for her fourth straight win Wednesday night in the featured eighth race, an optional claimer for fillies and mares. Queena Corrina's streak started in April 2003, when she won two races over the Lone Star turf. She then returned June 6 and won on the turf here.