|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
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
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,
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
...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.