|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
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.
FIRST TO RAMBLE GOES FOR SEVEN IN A ROW IN $17,500 RED
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).
13-YEAR-OLD A GLINT OF GOLD NEEDS WIN TO KEEP RACING IN
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
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,
The same rule prevented 13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Proven
Cure from competing in July's $50,000 Lone Star Park Turf Sprint
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.