Country Chicks Man Powers Home in Grade 1 Refrigerator Handicap at LSP

(October 7, 2006) - In one of the most visually impressive performances in Lone Star Park history, 5-year-old Country Chicks Man annihilated his competition in Saturday’s Grade 1, $100,000 Refrigerator Handicap to win by 1 ½ lengths over 8-5 favorite This Snow Is Royal. The victory came before a crowd of 4,659 on opening weekend of Lone Star’s 32-date Fall Meeting of Champions.

Country Chicks Man, ridden by five-time AQHA Champion Jockey G.R. Carter Jr. and carrying 126 pounds, zipped 440 yards in :21.513 (a 104 Speed Index). He paid $6.20, $3.80 and $2.80 as the 2-1 second wagering choice in a talented field of 10 three-year-olds and up. This Snow Is Cold returned $5.80 and $4.00. Conner Can was another nose back in third and paid $3.80.

“He was here tonight to make a statement and he did just that,” said Country Chicks Man’s owner, breeder and trainer Sparky Mullins of Wagoner, Okla. “That was a championship-type performance.”

The win was the 10th in 29 lifetime starts for Country Chicks Man and was worth $55,000, jumping his career earnings to $410,034.

“Sparky has done just a phenomenal job with this horse,” Carter said. “He had some really hard races at Remington Park this spring (three stakes wins and a runner-up effort in the Remington Park Invitational Championship) and he gave him some time off. After some rest at Brandon Parum’s Diamond P Farm, he got him on the aqua-tread and put a work into him. Look how good he is now. That was some kind of performance.”

With the victory, Country Chicks Man earned a coveted spot in the starting gate for the prestigious Grade 1, $600,000 Champion of Champions, scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 9 at Los Alamitos in Cypress, Calif.

Carter will face an agonizing decision for the Champion of Champions – Quarter Horse racing’s premier race for older horses. In addition to Country Chicks Man, he’s the regular pilot of millionaire Be a Bono –- a winner in 13 of 19 career starts including the three consecutive Grade 1s this year.

Earlier on the card, Cashin Sam, under Jeff Williams, rallied along the inside to beat My Prince of Strides by 1 ¼ lengths in the $17,500 Red River Handicap. The 5-year-old gelding trained by Bill Hoburg ran 870 yards in :45.377 and paid $10.40 to win. It was his third win in seven tries at the marathon distance since being claimed for $5,000 in April 2005 by owners Tommy Johnson and ABC Racing LLC. The $9,975 winner’s purse pushed his bankroll to $29,563.

Racing at Lone Star Park resumes Wednesday at 6:35 p.m. CT. The highlight of the racing week will be trials for the Dash For Cash series. Derby trials for 3-year-olds at 440 yards will take place Friday. Futurity trials for the 2-year-olds at 400 yards are Saturday. Horses that run the 10 fastest times each night will earn a spot in the starting gate for the lucrative finals on Oct. 28. The Derby has an estimated purse of $150,000, while the Futurity is expected to be valued at $400,000.

Friday’s program also includes $20,000 Rheudasil Handicap, a 350-yard dash for fillies and mares, and another “Party at the Park” in the Courtyard of Champions from 7-11 p.m. with live music by the Bart Crow Band and drinks specials.

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