Rare Fasteroid Wins Feature, Brooks Qualifies Four to Dash For Cash Derby

(Friday, October 4, 2002) - Dashing Prince Henry was the fastest qualifier to the Grade 1, $152,700 Dash For Cash Derby and Rare Fasteroid exploded in the lane to win Friday’s $25,000 B.F. Phillips Jr. Handicap on opening night of the Fall Meeting of Champions for American Quarter Horses at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.

A crowd of 6,568 attended the first of 33 nights – up 56% from the 4,209 on opening night last year – and was treated to some thrilling equine action.

Rare Fasteroid, owned and trained by Michael Zingelmann, ran 400 yards to win the B.F. Phillips Jr. Handicap, a restricted Grade 3 for older Texas-breds, by a half-length over 3-2 favorite Significant Speed. Alfonso Lujan, tacking the co-high weight of 124 pounds, guided the 4-year-old Rare Form gelding to victory in :19.80 – just five hundredths of a second off the stakes record. Rare Fasteroid paid $10.80 to win as the 4-1 second choice.

The $14,250 winner’s share of the purse boosted his career earnings to $141,913. It was Rare Fasteroid’s sixth win from 17 starts.

“I couldn’t ask for him to get away any better,” said Zingelmann, who finished third in the 2001 Lone Star Park trainer standings with 16 wins from 50 starts (a hefty 32% win clip). “I was really please with how the race unfolded. That race he ran in last time (the Grade 2 Sam Houston Classic) was a real Who’s Who of horses from Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. With the exception of Streakin Sin Tacha (ranked ninth on the AQHA Racing Poll), we beat the rest of field by a length and three-quarters. Streakin Sin Tacha beat us by a length, which is hard to believe. We were pleased with it. For sure, you’ll see him again in the (Nov. 29) Refrigerator (Handicap) and maybe a race on the MBNA America Challenge Championships Night (Nov. 2).”

Elsewhere, legendary trainer Jack Brooks and jockey Jacky Martin teamed to qualify four 3-year-olds to the lucrative Derby to be run in two weeks: Dashin Prince Henry, Friday 123, First Regards and Fit To Fly. In addition, trainer “Sleepy” Gilbreath and jockey Roy Baldillez qualified three runners (Moonshine Six, Loveable Streak and Sorority Serenade) and the tandem of Ronald Gilmer and Eddie Cox Jr. qualified two (Cant Stay Gotta Run and Shining Sky). Trainer Toby Keeton and jockey Nicky Wilson took the final spot in the starting gate for the finals with Bens Rarin.

The 10 fastest times in four trial races (Races 6-9) received a berth in the Oct. 19 Dash For Cash Derby final, a 440-yard test which features a $61,080 first prize. Brooks’ charge Dashin Prince Henry, a Holland Ease gelding owned by Jim Pitts of Burkburnett, Texas, was the fastest qualifier with a swift time of :21.650.

“He really ran a big race,” Brooks said of the second trial winner. “You know, he’s really run big races all year. He’s qualified for all the derbies (Lazy E, Ruidoso and Rainbow derbies), but he hasn’t won one. Maybe this will be it. He really had a clean trip tonight.”

Here’s the complete list of qualifiers: Dashin Prince Henry (:21.635, owned by Jim Pitts, trained by Jack Brooks and ridden by Jacky Martin); Cant Stay Gotta Run (:21.704, Polly Coleman & Tommy Hays, Ronald Gilmer, Eddie Cox Jr.); Friday 123 (:21.732, T. Bill Stables, Brooks, Martin); Shining Sky (B & B Joint Ventures, Gilmer, Cox); Bens Rarin (:21.750, Ernesto Guerra Jr., Toby Keeton, Nicky Wilson); Moonshine Six (:21.760, Jerry Whittle, “Sleepy” Gilbreath, Roy Baldillez); First Regards (:21.763, Ramich Farms, Brooks, Martin); Fit To Fly (Carol & William Smith, Brooks, Martin); Loveable Streak (Johnny T.L. Jones Jr. Interests, Gilbreath, Baldillez); and Sorority Serenade (Denny, Drennan & Denny, Gilbreath, Baldillez).

Bens Rarin, the Lazy E Derby winner, won the first trial of the night (Race 6). “He’s been training through the bridle,” said Keeton, the defending training champ who began the meeting with a three-win night. “He just had some back luck in those previous starts. I expected him to run a big race tonight and he did.”

The winner of the third trial was Moonshine Six, a winner in four of his eight starts. “I was impressed, but I think he can probably come back with a better race,” Gilbreath said. “He had a little layoff; I thought he was a little fresh tonight. It looks like the further he goes, the better he’ll like it.”

Friday 123, a Rare Form gelding with four wins from 19 starts, and Shining Sky, the AQHA’s 2001 Champion 2-Year-Old Gelding, finished in a dead-heat for the win in the fourth and final trial.

Unfortunately, the final trial of the night was marred by a spill just before the finish. First Down Dandy suffered an injury in his back end and fell, tossing jockey Juan Vazquez. Vazquez, complaining of neck and back pain, was taken to Methodist Hospital in Dallas for precautionary X-rays. First Down Dandy had to be euthanized.

Also, jockey Gilbert Ortiz rode the second race, but took off the remainder of his mounts after complaining of shortness of breath.

The handle on Lone Star Park’s opening night 11-race card eclipsed $1 million. The on-track crowd wagered $322,817 (up 38.3% from the $225,066 on opening night of 2001) and another $702,816 was bet off-track (up 27.3%) for a total of $1,025,633 (up 32%).

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