Brothers Country Chicks Man, SM Country Cowboy Headline Saturday's Grade 1 Refrigerator Handicap at Lone Star Park

(Wednesday, October 3, 2007) - The coupled entry of half-brothers Country Chicks Man and SM Country Cowboy - both bred, owned and trained by Sparky Mullins of Wagoner, Okla. - was made the 7-5 morning line favorite in a competitive field of 10 older Quarter Horses for Saturday's Grade 1, $100,000 Refrigerator Handicap at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.

The winner of the 440-yard classic will not only earn a $55,000 check, but a coveted invitation to compete in the $1 million Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos in Cypress, Calif. on Dec. 15.

"Right now, we're planning to run both of them," Mullins said of his star horses, both products of the sensational broodmare Country Zevi (nine of her 10 foals since 1994 have won races). "We'll see how they come along between now and Saturday night."

County Chicks Man, a 6-year-old son of Chicks Beduino who'll break from post No. 8, is the defending Refrigerator champ and wowed onlookers in last year's renewal with a dominant 1 ½-length triumph over This Snow Is Royal in :21.513 - one of the most visually impressive performances in Lone Star Park history. As a result, he named the 2006 Horse of the Meeting and honored as the AQHA Champion Aged Stallion.

He began his 2007 campaign with back-to-back stakes wins at Remington Park, including a 1 ¼-length score in the $153,500 Remington Park Invitational Championship. Just three weeks ago, Country Chicks Man ventured to California for the Grade 1 Go Man Go Handicap, but finished seventh of 10.

"We're hoping Country Chicks Man can bounce back from his trip to California," Mullins said. "He just didn't care for the racetrack out there; it's just too hard for his feet."

SM Country Cowboy, meanwhile, has been earmarked for the Saturday's race since June. In May, the 4-year-old Dashing Val gelding triumphed in the Grade 1, $101,700 Bank of America Oklahoma Challenge Championship by a half-length over Valdasher while clocking 440 yards in :21.492. In his next start, he finished second to his older brother in the Remington Park Invitational Championship, but was disqualified to ninth for interference.

"I really think SM Country Cowboy is a rising star and might be faster than Country Chicks Man," Mullins said. "But 'The Cowboy' has to learn to leave the [starting] gate better if he wants to be that good. I don't think there's a faster horse out of the gate in this country than Country Chicks Man."

G.R. Carter Jr., the six-time AQHA Champion Jockey is named on both horses, but Mullins said he'd pilot Country Chicks Man. "I'm still shopping for another rider for 'The Cowboy' because my back-up was Stormy Smith and he recently fractured his collarbone."

Also entered in the race is six-time graded stakes-winning mare Bullions N Garters; five-time graded stakes winner WRS Special Shoe; and Grade 1 Texas Challenge Championship winner Ride With the King.

Here's the complete Refrigerator field from the rail out (with jockeys, trainer, assigned weight and morning line odds): This Candys Red Hot (Alex Baldillez Jr., "Sleepy" Gilbreath, 123, 12-1); Fast Talkin Val (Juan Vazquez, Heath Taylor, 123, 12-1); Gray Invasion (Arturo Puga, Robert Touchet, 123, 12-1); Bullions N Garters (Roy Brooks, Jim Gubas, 124, 9-2); SM Country Cowboy (G.R. Carter Jr., Sparky Mullins, 125, 7-5); Sizzling (Arturo Carrillo, Russell Harris, 123, 12-1); Mr Chivato to You (Tad Leggett, Don Mourning, 123, 10-1); Country Chicks Man (Carter, Mullins, 126, 7-5); Ride With the King (Abdel Torres, Alex Villarreal, 124, 8-1); and WRS Special Shoe (Randy Wilson, Charley Hunt, 124, 6-1).

Toastin Dash, a winner of six in a row including the Grade 2 Sam Houston Classic was not entered.

The Refrigerator will run as Race 10 on Saturday at approximately 10:47 p.m. CT. The first of 11 live races is 6:35 p.m. CT.


The eighth race on the program will be the $17,500 Red River Handicap at 870 yards. The marathon will showcase the Charley Hunt-trained First to Ramble, who'll shoot for his seventh win in a row. The 6-year-old gelding will break from post 2 and is the 7-5 early favorite against seven rivals.

The Red River field: Party Time Tommy (Kenneth Goad Jr., Kevin Toy, 123, 8-1); First To Ramble (Randy Wilson, Charley Hunt, 127, 7-5); Natural Task (G.R. Carter Jr., Janet Van Bebber, 126, 5-2); CKH Valiant Ruler (Santos Carrizales, Alex Villarreal, 123, 12-1); Blue Ribbon Dash (Jeff Jerman, Kie Mushinksi, 124, 6-1); Bens Decked Out (Russel Hadley, Michael Zingelmann, 121, 20-1); Toast Freedom Flyer (Tad Leggett, Ed Hardy, 123, 12-1); and Just Blink (Roy Baldillez, John Buchanan, 124, 10-1).


Also, Saturday's fifth race will feature 13-year-old gelding A Glint of Gold, who desperately needs a victory in his 100th career start to remain eligible for competition in Texas for Sharon and Jesse Yoakum.

Section 313.111 of The Texas Racing Act states that "a horse that is more than 12 years of age may not start in a pari-mutuel races in this state, unless the horse has won a race during the 12-month period preceding the race in which the horse is to start."

A Glint of Gold, a winner of 20 races and $317,795 including three of eight starts in 2006, last won on Oct. 18, 2006. The venerable gelding has raced just twice this year and finished second and sixth, respectively.

The same rule prevented 13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Proven Cure from competing in July's $50,000 Lone Star Park Turf Sprint Stakes.

MYSTERY MUTUEL VOUCHERS ON FRIDAY NIGHT - Mystery mutuel vouchers valid only for Friday's opening night program at Lone Star Park were mailed to a select group of 50,000 Dallas-Fort Worth area residents. The vouchers are worth anywhere between $2 and $10,000. Also, customers with a paid $3 general admission will receive their choice of a free Lone Star Park premium item: a Lone Star Park sports bag, a Lone Star Park 12-pack cooler, a Lone Star Derby glassware set or Stars of Texas tumbler. Entertainment between the races includes a "Party at the Park" in the Courtyard of Champions from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. with drink specials and live Latin music by Los Retenes Del Norte. Dallas-Fort Worth radio station La Que Buena 107.9 FM also will be on hand for a special promotional appearance between 6-9 p.m. Grandstand gates open at 5:30 p.m. and the first of 11 live races is 6:35 p.m. CT.

HALE TO SING NATIONAL ANTHEM OPENING NIGHT - Nikki Hale will sing "God Bless America" and the National Anthem just after 6 p.m. CT, in conjunction with opening night ceremonies that includes a color guard presentation by members of the Fort Worth Naval Air Station.

WAGERING MENU INCLUDES 10-CENT SUPERFECTAS AND 50-CENT PICK 4s- The Fall Meeting of Champions wagering menu will once again feature 10-cent Superfectas on all races with six or more betting interests and a pair of 50-cent Pick 4s (Races 2-5 and the final four races each evening). There's also $2 Win, Place, Show, Exacta, Quinella and Trifecta (five or more betting interests) wagering, as well as $2 Doubles on the first two and last two races and rolling $2 Pick 3s. Boxes and part wheels for Exactas, Quinellas, Trifectas and Pick 3s are available for $1.

FRIED CHICKEN IS CHEF'S BEST BET - Executive Chef Jake Duplantis' "best bet" of the Fall Meeting of Champions is his homemade Fried Chicken, which will be sold at The Finish Line Fowl on the east side of the Grandstand's first floor. Other concession stands open on the first floor will be Basils (Italian), Cilantros (Tex-Mex), Peppers (All-American) and The Sugar Cube (Ice Cream & Chef Jake's Pies). The Silks Dining Terrace on the Grandstand's fourth floor will be open to all Clubhouse patrons and there's no food and beverage minimum this fall (dress code enforced). New items on the nightly dinner menu include the Memphis Pork Sandwich, Lone Star Lasagna and Silks Burrito. The Silks Buffet will be available only on Friday and Saturday evenings.

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