Champion Run And Pray Heads Friday's Red River Handicap at Lone Star Park

(Wednesday, October 12, 2005) - Run and Pray, the American Quarter Horse Association's World Champion Distance Horse of 2004, is among eight older horses entered in Friday's $17,500 Red River Handicap at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.

The 870-yard Red River will run as Race 12 on a 13-race live program that also includes four trial races for the Grade 1, $200,000-estimated Graham Paint Futurity. The first live race is 5 p.m. CT.

Run and Pray, the defending Red River Handicap champ (he won the race when it was last run in 2003), is winless in five starts since clinching 2004 championship honors with a victory in the Grade 1, $100,000 MD Barns Challenge Championship at Sam Houston Race Park. Overall, the John Buchanan trainee has won seven races and $230,956 in 35 starts.

Run and Pray, who landed post No. 3, was made the 5-2 morning line favorite. Larry Payne has been given the call to ride.

The 6-year-old gelding will be challenged by Seek N Destroy, a three-time winner at 870 yards this year, including the $12,500 Universal City Handicap at Retama Park in May; Zachs Hero, who defeated Seek N Destroy in Retama's $15,000 San Marcos Handicap in June and was a good second last time in the Grade 3 Governor's Cup Marathon Stakes; and Overlook Easy, who suffered a narrow loss last time to King Rick Rack in the $15,000 Ruidoso Overnight 870 Stakes on Aug. 13.

Myfirstplacefortune, Royal Pie Request, Kaydena and Halfway a Streak complete the field.

Graham Paint Futurity Trials Friday Night at Lone Star

Thirty-six 2-year-old Paint Horses, including undefeated Got Country Grip, will be vying for 10 spots Friday night at Lone Star Park in four trial races for the Grade 1, $200,000-estimated Graham Paint Futurity. The first of 13 live races is 5 p.m. CT. The 350-yard final is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 29.

Got Country Grip, owned by Jimmy Maddux and trained by Brandon Parum, has won each of his five starts, including a one-length score in the restricted Grade 1, $100,000 Speedhorse Futurity at Fair Meadows in his last start on July 22. As usual, G.R. Carter Jr. will be in the saddle.

Friday's four trials will cover Races 2-5. Got Country Grip heads the fifth race, which also includes Grade 2, $13,000 Tulsa State Fair Stakes winner Heros Strawbaby and restricted Grade 1, $43,710 Oklahoma Paint Futurity champ Zoom N La Rae.

Heros Strawbaby is one of 11 entrants sired by Texas Hero, who made his mark during the 1993-94 racing seasons with back-to-back World Championships and more than $100,000 in career earnings. Texas Hero has sired the winner of the Graham Paint Futurity final in five of the seven runnings.

Heros Strawbaby also is one of four entries owned and bred by the legendary Paint horseman Herbert Graham of Gardendale, Texas. Graham has won the race twice before: Verona in 2000 and Texas Wildcat in '01.

Sammy Hester and Charles Trochta have owned the last two Graham Paint Futurity winners: Bold Bucephalus in 2003 and Calista Corona in '04. Hester, also the trainer, will saddle La Bella Rena in Race 3.

Other stakes winners entered in the trials are Beatyourealezy, winner of the restricted Grade 1, $59,000 Pot O' Gold Futurity at Blue Ribbon Downs on Aug. 28, and Living Legacy, winner of the $8,850 Gillespie County Paint Stakes in July. Beatyourealezy goes in the fourth race, while Living Legacy is entered in the second.

Really Special, entered in Race 3, is out for redemption. The Real Easy Cash filly crossed the wire first in the restricted Grade 2, $61,500 California Paint Futurity at Los Alamitos in mid-July, but was disqualified to seventh for impeding a foe.

Paint Horses - horses that exhibit a minimum amount of white hair over unpigmented skin with markings located virtually anywhere on the body - are the second largest breed registry in the United States. Purses for Paint racing, first recognized in 1966, totaled $4.86 million in 2004.

DOWN THE STRETCH - "Star Players," members of Lone Star Park's free frequent fan program, will receive free General Admission to Lone Star Park on Saturday. In addition, they'll be eligible to compete in a $500 handicapping contest. The "Star Player" with the most winners on Lone Star's 13-race card will win the $500 first prize. All contest entries must be received by 4:45 p.m. on Saturday...Thanks to Lone Star Park, The Dallas Morning News and American Airlines, there's one last chance for a lucky horseracing fan to win a trip for two to this year's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Belmont Park in New York. A contest entry form will be printed in Friday's SportsDay and The Guide sections of The Dallas Morning News. Fans will be required to complete the entry form and mail it to The Dallas Morning News so it arrives before Monday at 9 a.m. The winner of a grand prize drawing, held the following day, will receive two tickets to the 22nd Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Belmont Park, airfare on American Airlines and hotel accommodations...Friday night's Heineken "Party at the Park" will feature blues by The Silvertones. Meanwhile, country music from King Cone & The Tailgate Philharmonic will be performed between races Saturday. The Heineken "Party at the Park" series continues every Friday and Saturday through Oct. 29 with live music and drink specials in the Courtyard of Champions from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m...The Classic Buick-Pontiac-GMC Chaplaincy Benefit Golf Tournament will be held at Mansfield National Golf Course on Monday, Oct. 24 at 12:30 p.m. The entry fee is $60 per person. For more information, contact Chaplain Sam Spence at (972) 237-4818...Special Rate, the half-brother to multiple Grade I winners Sightseek and Tates Creek, will enter stallion duty at Joe and Sharon Kerby's Key Ranch in Salado, Texas, in 2006. The stud fee for the stakes-winning earner of $187,950 has not been announced.

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