Texas Classic Derby, Futurity Trials Highlight Weekend at LSP

(November 16, 2006) - Trials for the lucrative Texas Classic series highlight this weekend’s American Quarter Horse action at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. A trio of 440-yard trials for the Grade 1, $400,000-estimated Texas Classic Derby will be held Friday for 3-year-olds. Saturday’s program features six heats at 400 yards for 2-year-olds eyeing a berth in the $1 million-estimated Texas Classic.

Both finals – set for closing night of the Fall Meeting of Champions on Saturday, Dec. 2 – will be comprised of the 10 fastest times recorded in this weekend’s trial races.

The stars of the 14th Texas Classic Futurity trials on Saturday (Races 7-12) are Dash For Cash Futurity champ Dont Let Down and Okey Dokey Fantasy, winner of the Grade 1 Ruidoso and Manor Downs futurities earlier this year.

Dont Let Down, owned by Schlotsky’s chairman Bobby Cox and trained by John Buchanan, showed that his All American Futurity third was no fluke with a half-length victory in the Grade 1, $426,375 Dash For Cash Futurity at Lone Star on Oct. 28.

For a second time this season, Dont Let Down will attempt to buck a trend. Three weeks ago, he became the first favorite to win in nine runnings of the Dash For Cash Futurity. And with his attempt to qualify Saturday, he’s shooting to become the first horse to complete a Dash For Cash-Texas Classic Futurity double. The Buchanan-trained Pivotal Decision came closest to the feat in 2000 when he finished a neck back of champion Eyesa Special in the Texas Classic.

Like Dont Let Down, Okey Dokey Fantasy made it to the All American Futurity final, but the Ariel Campos trainee finished last at odds of 9-2 when the racetrack came up a sloppy bog. Prior to winning the Ruidoso Futurity in June, the 2-year-old son of Okey Dokey Dale won the Longhorn and Manor Downs futurities at Manor Downs in Austin, Texas.

Also entered to compete: Heritage Place Futurity one-two, First Carolina and Ivory James; Retama Park Futurity champ Zoomin for Bux; and Blue Ribbon Futurity winner Cartel Success.

Last year’s Texas Classic Futurity winner and Horse of the Meeting, PYC Paint Your Wagon, is back for a try at the Texas Classic Derby in Friday’s trials (Races 6-8). He’s hoping to join Mr Jess Perry as the only horse to win both the Texas Classic Futurity and Derby (he did it in 1994-95). In June, PYC Paint Your Wagon, owned by Michael Pohl and trained by Hall of Famer Jack Brooks, rolled to a 1 ½-length score in the Grade 1 Heritage Place Derby.

Other sophomores to run: Retama Derby hero Jesstified; Lazy E Derby winner Going to the Hague; last year’s Dash For Cash Futurity victor All American Winner; Automatically, runner-up to PYC Paint Your Wagon in the Futurity a year ago; and Dash For Cash Derby third and fifth place finishers La Bron and This Candys Red Hot.

Twins? Not Really

A racing oddity also will occur in the Texas Classic Derby trials: full brother Jess Sin Tacha (9-2-2-1—$15,423) and sister Sin Tacha Perry (11-3-3-1—$43,891) are entered in the first and second trials. Both are sons of sire Mr Jess Perry and dam Sin Tacha, who also produced 2002 AQHA World Champion Streakin Sin Tacha. One of the 3-year-olds was a result of an embryo transfer. A fertilized egg from Sin Tacha was removed and placed in the womb of a donor mare that carried the foal to term. The donor mare is the actual dam of the resulting foal and the recipient mare acts as a surrogate. Both Jess Sin Tacha and Sin Tacha Perry are owned by Jerry Gaston and partners along with trainer Janet Van Bebber.

The first live race at Lone Star on Friday and Saturday is 6:35 p.m. CT. Grandstand gates open both days at 5:30 p.m. Only eight racing days remain at the 32-date meeting.

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