04/23/2002 11:00PM

Two drop out of Texas Mile


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - The Grade 3, $300,000 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park on Saturday lost two major players Wednesday with the defections of Keats and Irisheyesareflying. Hal's Hope, winner of the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Handicap in his last start, is the probable favorite for the race.

Reba's Gold, who earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 115 for a money allowance victory at Santa Anita in February, is scheduled to arrive for the Texas Mile by plane from California on Friday.

Irisheyesareflying, winner of the Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gates in his last start, will pass the race because his training has not been satisfactory.

"I had to back off him after his last work," said trainer John Dolan. "Everything wasn't right."

Keats last raced March 3, finishing third in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap.

Screen Idol points for Lone Star Derby

Screen Idol, convincing winner of the $75,000 Northern Spur at Oaklawn in his last start, is being pointed for the Grade 3, $500,000 Lone Star Derby on May 11. Earlier this season, the colt won the $75,000 Crescent City Derby at Fair Grounds.

"After his race at Oaklawn Park, I feel like he deserves a shot in the Lone Star Derby," said Screen Idol's trainer, Bret Thomas. "He's shown a lot of class and a lot of ability."

Screen Idol is one of 40 horses Thomas has based at Louisiana Downs. His other stakes winners in training are Knight of the Mt., winner of the $101,430 Jean Lafitte Futurity at Delta Downs earlier this month, and Truly Sunlit, third last out in the $75,000 Wafare Farm Stakes at Lone Star.

Thomas has yet to make a decision on Knight of the Mt.'s next start.

"He came out of his last race with a little shin soreness," Thomas said, "so we're going to give him his time."

One possible race for the colt is the $100,000 Middleground at Lone Star on July 13.

Truly Sunlit is a candidate for the $150,000 Stonerside Stakes over seven furlongs on May 25 at Lone Star.

"I thought she ran a very, very strong third in my opinion," Thomas said of the filly's effort in the Wafare. "She went out really strong after the wire, and I definitely think seven furlongs would be a good distance for her."

Lights on Broadway to prep sprinting

Lights on Broadway, a Texas Mile nominee who won the $50,000 Premiere Stakes at Lone Star opening night under Jerry Bailey, could make his next start in the $50,000 Carter McGregor, a six-furlong race for statebreds May 27.

"I might try to sharpen him up and run short, then from there go into the Assault," said trainer Bubba Cascio.

Last year, Lights on Broadway won the Assault Stakes, a $125,000 race over 1 1/16 miles for statebreds on June 29. The $75,000 Bob Johnson Memorial, on July 14, is another possibility this meet for Lights on Broadway.

Beefed up Summer Showdown

Purses for the five stakes that will make up the annual Texas Summer Showdown for Quarter Horses at Sam Houston Race Park on July 27 have been increased 25 percent, bringing the total stakes distribution that night to $175,000. Last year, the five-stakes series was worth $140,000.

The Texas Summer Showdown is among the highlights of a 30-race stakes program for Quarter Horses this meet at Sam Houston. The track's 44-night meet opens June 28 and runs through Sept. 8.

The richest stakes on the calendar are the Grade 1, $100,000-added Sam Houston Futurity on Sept. 7; the 100,000-added Texas Quarter Horse Association Sales Futurity and Grade 1, $80,000-added MBNA Texas Challenge Championship, both July 13; and the Grade 2, $50,000-added Sam Houston Classic on Aug. 30.

* Trainer Eddie Willis and jockey Larry Payne swept two of the biggest Quarter Horse stakes, both Grade 1's, at Remington Park last weekend. The trainer-jockey combo won Saturday's $345,275 Remington Park Futurity with Outdashing ($7.40) and the $137,420 Remington Park Derby with A Real Man ($4.40) on Sunday.

* Mike's Sister, who has played runner-up to stakes winners Little Angel, Serena's Tune, and Midge Too in three of her last five starts, makes her turf debut Friday night in the featured ninth race at Lone Star, a five-furlong turf allowance for fillies and mares worth $36,000.