by Bernard T. Moore
(Editor's Note: Content for this handicapping notebook is provided by Brisnet)The second week of the Lone Star Park Fall brought about a slight change to the racing schedule. Live racing will now be conducted four days a week, on a Thursday through Sunday basis. With the Breeders' Cup the obvious focal point of the first ever Fall Thoroughbred meet at Lone Star Park, no stakes races were carded over the past weekend. Lone Star management, with an intent on strengthening their product as the Breeders' Cup draws nearer, have elected to delay such signature events as the Stars of Texas Day for state-breds, and the $250,000 Lone Star Derby (G3) for later in the meet. Speaking of the Breeders' Cup, many connections are still on the fence as to the status concerning their Breeders' Cup hopefuls. However, trainer Steve Asmussen recently stated that Cuvee (Carson City) is a definite starter for the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1), and his top filly, Lady Tak (Mukaddamah), is under serious consideration for the race as well. In other Breeders' Cup news, Lone Star Park officials have become aware that many of the European runners looking to compete in the Thoroughbred World Championships will be on board a chartered flight that is scheduled to touch down at Dallas airport on October 25. A separate plane carrying trainer Aidan O'Brien's contingent has been booked, and those runners should be settling in on the Lone Star Park backstretch the weekend prior to the Breeders' Cup. Let's recap last week's action at the Grand Prairie oval. The main track, when it was dry, played favorably to runners sitting just off the early pace in sprints. Front-running speed was more dominant around two turns, and on Sunday, when the course was labeled sloppy, nearly all the winners raced on or near the lead, which one usually expects over a wet track. There did not appear to be any path biases for the entire week. Closers prevailed more frequently on grass, mirroring the results from opening week. The two contradictory results on the turf was a winner who stalked the early pace in a five-furlong turf sprint, and a wire-to-wire victor over an extremely soft turf course on Sunday after the rains came. A slew of riders are fighting for the top spot in the jockey standings, including Roman Chapa, Donnie Meche, C. Lambert, Monte Berry and Jeremy Beasley. Chapa has registered victories for five different trainers, including Danny Pish and Asmussen. D. Meche's main source of winners is Asmussen, while Berry has ridden winners for Cody Autrey, Bret Calhoun and Martin Lozano. Five pound apprentice Amanda Crandall came alive over the past weekend, and as a result, finds her name on the leader board as well. Asmussen tops the trainer standings, with Calhoun, Pish and Autrey giving chase. Other trainers worthy of mention are William Pettit and Jack Bruner, who are doing extremely well from a limited number of starters. Bruner's winners have come off layoffs and with a first timer, and he's captured two grass races. Pettit's stock have all raced recently at Retama, and he primarily uses jockey Larry Taylor to find the winner's circle.HORSES TO WATCH Thursday (10/7) 3rd -- SUPERIOR DEPUTY, a good third in well bet/well meant debut, finished with interest in an abbreviated sprint to a pair of properly spotted class droppers. Fits at this $25,000 claiming level and might appreciate a bit more distance in her next start. 7th -- SON OF A LUE showed no ill effects off a layoff, returning to wire $20,000 claimers off the Autrey claim in an extremely fast time. May be able to step up in class off this win if properly spotted in his next start. Friday (10/8) 2nd -- TOUGHONETOBEAT displayed a dramatic form reversal in turf debut. Set a pressured pace and held determinedly to finish third in a blanket photo finish. 9th -- ALLI'S DREAM ran a sharp second at long odds switching back to Lone Star's grass. Held well dictating the pace over a course that has not been favorable to early speed, and she's run well from off the Lone Star grass course in the past. Saturday (10/9) 3rd -- TEN FORTY EASY finished a good second for Asmussen off more than a year layoff. Forced to chase a superior speed rival, he disposed of the early pacesetter but could not contain a winner who benefited from a good trip. Needs only time to recoup from this taxing effort and proper placing to find the winner's circle. 6th -- MS DEEP COVER was well backed at the mutuel windows for trainer Bob Young. Broke a tad lethargically from the gate and was then forced to race wide on the far turn and into the stretch, finishing third in a creditable showing. Her sire is not known for getting many debut winners. Both siblings are winners, one at two. Ms Deep Cover should have derived beneficial conditioning and experience from this effort. Sunday (10/10) 6TH -- PLATINUM BALLET - Extremely impressive in Lone Star Park debut. Overcame a sloppy speed biased course to rally from off the pace and won drawing clear. Can handle the jump to the next level, especially if the course contains even the slightest hint of moisture.