Si Puede Puts Streak On Line vs. Dash For Cash Derby Champ Mighty Invictus In Friday Trial for $400,000-estimated Texas Classic Derby at Lone Star Park

(Wednesday, November 9, 2005) - Four trials for the $400,000-estimated Texas Classic Derby and the seventh running of the $20,000 6666 Ranch Handicap highlight Friday's 13-race card at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Thirty-five 3-year-olds, including six that competed in last month's Grade 1 Dash For Cash Derby, are scheduled to go postward in the 440-yard trials, which will be run as Races 9-12. Horses with the 10 fastest times will advance to the lucrative final on Friday, Nov. 25.

The most anticipated trial will be the final heat, Race 12. Si Puede, a winner of seven straight races including the Grade 3 Rheudasil Handicap at Lone Star, will battle Mighty Invictus, who kicked home powerfully to surge past even-money favorite First Comment in the $147,400 Dash For Cash Derby on Oct. 21.

Morning line oddsmaker Rick Lee made Mighty Invictus a slight 7-5 favorite over Si Puede, who was lined at 8-5.

Should Mighty Invictus qualify to the Texas Classic Derby final, he'll attempt to become the third horse to sweep both of Lone Star's premier races for 3-year-olds. Champions Dashing Perfection and Oak Tree Special accomplished the feat in 1997 and 2003, respectively.

In the Dash For Cash, Mighty Invictus collected his first stakes win and clocked the third fastest Dash For Cash Derby time (:21.52 for 440 yards) in eight runnings of the race. The notorious sluggish starter has improved his breaks from the gate ever since Hall of Fame trainer Jack Brooks removed the blinkers four starts ago.

"If he could just leave [the starting gate], I don't know how good he could be," Brooks said. "He's been that way all year long and was the same way as a two-year-old. His first jump is usually good, but he lets them run away from him. Then he kicks it in and says 'Hey, it's time to go catch 'em.' He's got as much talent for a horse as I've had over the years. If he could just break like Dashing Perfection, he could be a great, great horse."

Mighty Invictus - owned by Jim Helzer of Arlington, Texas and You & Me Partners' Terry Bell of Lawton, Okla. and "Bud" Hill of Dimmett, Texas - spent most of the summer chasing top 3-year-old DM Shicago in the Ruidoso, Rainbow and All American derbies.

Si Puede, voted Horse of the Meeting at Sam Houston after her victory in the Grade 2 Sam Houston Derby, bypassed the Dash For Cash Derby because trainer Dave Correll wanted his 3-year-old filly to be fresh for the Texas Classic.

"I wanted to give her a little rest because she was campaigned pretty hard this summer," Correll said. Her neck victory over top 4-year-old filly Bullions N Garters in the Rheudasil "sets us up nicely for the Texas Classic Derby," Correll said. "She beat a field of really nice horses. She just steps up every time. You can't ask for more."

The victory that night improved her record to 10 wins and earnings of $171,040 for San Antonio-based owner-breeder Lukin Gilliand, the father of the former Texas Racing Commissioner.

Also entered in the Texas Classic Derby trials are Dash For Cash Derby runner-up First Comment (Race 11), third-place finisher Winners Award (Race 9), fifth-place finisher Six Packa Moonshine (Race 11), seven-place finisher Strawfly Romance (Race 10) and eighth-place finisher Real Easy Okey (Race 10). Kathys Star Quest, winner of the restricted Grade 3 B.F. Phillips Jr. Handicap on opening night, is also among the entries (Race 11).

In the Grade 3 6666 Ranch Handicap, a 400-yard test for 3-year-olds and up that goes as Race 8, Sarahs Fast Man was made the 2-1 favorite against five rivals after recording a 102 Speed Index in an allowance win over Red Dog Leader on Oct. 21. Earlier in the year, the 4-year-old gelding trained by "Sleepy" Gilbreath won the Grade 3 Higheasterjet Handicap at Ruidoso.

The first of 13 live races Friday is 5 p.m. CT. The 6666 Ranch has an approximate post time of 8:09 p.m. CT and the first of four Derby trials will follow at 8:36 p.m. CT.

DOWN THE STRETCH - Saturday's 13 trials for the $1 million-estimated Texas Classic Futurity - the richest horse race in Texas - lured 127 two-year-olds, headed by Grade 1, $310,700 Dash For Cash Futurity champ All American Winner, who goes postward in Race 5. In the Dash For Cash Futurity, All American Winner - a bargain $3,700 yearling buy for owners Jason Eberle and Rosendo Guzman of Donna, Texas - dashed 400 yards in :19.78 for his sixth win from 11 starts. It was his second Grade 1 victory of the year. In September, the 2-year-old Dashin Is Easy gelding triumphed in the $351,900 Sam Houston Futurity for trainer Alex Villareal. "He's really maintained his sharpness," Villareal said after the Dash For Cash Futurity...Also entered in the Texas Classic Futurity trials are Grade 1 Heritage Place Futurity winner Eyesa Shaker (Race 2); restricted Grade 1 TQHA Sale Futurity and Grade 2 Manor Downs Futurity winner Silver Gol (Race 11); Grade 2 Valley Junction Futurity hero JA Fast Lady (Race 7); restricted Grade 2 Lazy E Futurity winner PYC Paint Your Wagon (Race 13); All American Futurity third Brindis Por Cayenne (Race 4); All American Futurity eighth Jess a Classy Lad (Race 3); All American Futurity 10th Vodka On Ice (Race 7); and undefeated Automatically, a perfect 2-for-2 from the Heath Taylor barn (Race 2)...Through the first 22 days of the 33-date meeting, 54-year-old "Diamond Jim" Brooks held a 33-to-22 advantage over Rodrigo Vallejo in the Lone Star jockey standings. Jeff Acuna, Benny Pennington and Eddie Willis were in a three-way tie atop the trainer standings with nine wins apiece. Five other trainers - John Buchanan, "Sleepy" Gilbreath, "Tooter" Jordan, two-time local training champ Toby Keeton and Jesse Yoakum - had eight wins. A.D. Maddox was one win ahead of Raul Rubalcava, 7-to-6, in the owner standing. Bernardine and Gordon Haslam were third with five wins...Five-year-old gelding Ima Cat Man won for the third time this season in Friday's fifth race. He's the only three-time winner at the meet thus far...Favorites were winning at 35.8%...Friday is Veteran's Day and Lone Star Park will be offering free general admission to all veterans and active military with proof of identification...Simulcast highlights on Saturday include the Grade II Red Smith Handicap (3-year-olds and up at 1 3/8 miles on turf) at Aqueduct and the Grade II Mrs. Revere Stakes (3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on turf) at Churchill Downs...The Lone Star Park Charitable Foundation for Grand Prairie is spearheading its first Volunteer Day on Saturday, Nov. 12 (rescheduled from Sept. 24 due to Hurricane Rita) so Grand Prairie and area residents can devote their time to important projects in the community. Projects will include the planting of trees at a new tree farm garden in the Dalworth Park community at 1037 Manning Street in Grand Prairie. The volunteer work will begin at 8 a.m. To join the volunteer effort, contact Sharon McClung at (972) 237-1188 or e-mail ...The Charitable Foundation's largest fundraiser, the Mistletoe Ball, is right around the corner. It is scheduled this year for Friday, Dec. 2 in the Rio Grande Ballroom at the Renaissance Worthington Hotel in Fort Worth. The honorary chairpersons are Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist and ESPN 103.3 FM talk show host Randy Galloway and his family. Contact McClung for tickets or more information...Since its foundation in June 2001, the Lone Star Park Charitable Foundation for Grand Prairie - a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization - has raised and awarded more than $220,000 to local non-profit organizations.

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