05/15/2003 11:00PM

Two frequent winners collide at Lone Star

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GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Guiness on Tap, who has won 20 races, and Goodtime Rocket, who has won 10, will meet Sunday at Lone Star Park in one of two races designed as preps for the upcoming Claiming Crown.

The Claiming Crown, to be held at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn., on July 19, is a program of six restricted stakes worth $550,000.

Guiness on Tap and Goodtime Rocket will meet in the second race, the Iron Horse Preview, which is a 1 1/16-mile starter race for 3-year-olds and upward who have started for a claiming price of $5,000 or less since July 15, 2002. The Iron Horse is the name of one of the Claiming Crown races.

Guiness on Tap will be making his first start since March 29, when he wired $5,000 claimers at Sam Houston Race Park by 10 1/4 lengths. Edwin Alicea has the mount for trainer Jim Bausch.

Kirk Leblanc will ride Goodtime Rocket, who finished third in a $10,000 claimer on turf at Lone Star on May 4. He is trained by Jerry Cart.

Also in the race is Regal Tour, who was second in the Iron Horse in last year's Claiming Crown. He could control the pace under jockey Terry Stanton.

In the Express Preview, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and upward who have not started for a claiming price of $7,500 since July 15, 2002, the leading contenders appear to be Irish Mulligan, Exclusive Bud, and Findaway.

Turf next for That Tat?

That Tat, who set a track record for 5 1/2 furlongs earlier in the meet, will work on turf Monday for a possible start in the $100,000 Beck Auto Group Turf Sprint on May 26.

"If he handles it, then we'll go with him," said Cole Norman, who trains That Tat.

That Tat has won all three of his starts this year, with his last two coming at Lone Star. He set a track record in April when he ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:01.80, then one start later he won the $75,000 Ford Express.

On turf, That Tat is unplaced from one start, but that race came around two turns and he has since proven best around one. He races for Ken Murphy, the leading owner at Lone Star.

Norman said Joyful Tune, who finished second in the Beck last year, is a definite this year, while Electrode is a possible for the race. Electrode, who won a stakes at Louisiana Downs last year, is also scheduled to work on turf Monday.

The Beck is one of seven stakes to be run May 26 on a program billed as Lone Star Million Day. Norman has nominated a total of 26 horses to the card, more than any other trainer.

The horses he plans to start include Pie N Burger in the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap; Eagle Lake in the Grade 3, $200,000 WinStar Distaff; and Southern Tour in the $100,000 Valid Expectations.

Commander's Affair has options

The connections of Commander's Affair, who finished third at 42-1 in the Grade 3, $500,000 Lone Star Derby May 10, are considering all their options for the colt. They could put him back on turf for the $200,000 USA Stakes at Lone Star on May 26, or he could remain on dirt for a race like the Grade 2, $300,000 Ohio Derby at Thistledown on June 21.

No firm decisions have been made, said Bret Calhoun, who trains Commander's Affair for Martin Racing Stable and Betty Massey.

Commander's Affair dueled throughout the Lone Star Derby before being overtaken by winner Dynever and runner-up Most Feared.

Fast maiden winner

Calhoun saddled a lightning fast maiden winner Wednesday night. Bay Marvel ($4.60) ran the fastest six-furlong time in two years at Lone Star when he won the fourth race wire to wire in 1:08.61.

It was the first start in 15 months for Bay Marvel, who had finished third in his debut on Nov. 9, 2001. Coast To Coast Racing Fund owns the 4-year-old, who was ridden by Eddie Martin Jr.