|Bluesthestandard Speeds to Texas
(April 26,2003)- Rags to riches
Bluesthestandard became a multiple graded stakes winner Saturday
with an authoritative four-length score over Bonapaw in the Grade
III, $300,000 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.
The hard-trying California invader won his fifth race in a row and
second consecutive stakes race, following a two-length victory in
the Grade II Potrero Grande Breeders’ Cup Handicap last month
at Santa Anita.
“He’s such an intelligent horse and such a competitor,”
trainer Ted West Jr. said. “He just thinks he’s supposed
to win. He doesn’t care who he runs against - Kona Gold, Bonapaw
or all of these horses today - he just thinks he’s that much
better than them.”
Bluesthestandard, who improved his record to 14 wins in 21 starts,
pulled away in the stretch from a tightly packed bunch that simply
couldn’t keep up. Bonapaw surprised everyone by settling off
the early pace, then finishing strong to nab second. Pacesetter
Compendium finished third by a neck, a half-length ahead of his
Steve Asmussen-trained stablemate Private Emblem in fourth.
The final time of 1:35.68 was the fastest one-mile of the Lone
Star Park season so far. The impressive effort validated the heavy
support of the betting public, who made Bluesthestandard the 3-2
“I think he knows how to do his job pretty well,” West
The victorious connections fretted the past two days about drawing
post No. 9 for the one-mile race, a spot that often leaves horses
hung out wide or dropped too far back into the first turn. But Martin
Pedroza, who traveled from his Southern California base to ride,
hustled Bluesthestandard out of the gate and had the 6-year-old
in perfect position from the start.
“I really expected Bonapaw to be in front and I would lay
second,” Pedroza said.
Bluesthestandard easily cleared the horses to his immediate inside
and angled down towards the rail. Pedroza and his mount sat chilly
behind Compendium, who was fortunate to find himself alone without
the expected pressure from the usually speedy Bonapaw, winner of
last fall’s Grade I Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont Park. The opening
quarter-mile went in :23.93, followed up by a half-mile time of
“Nobody pressured me on the backside making me go faster,”
Nearing the quarter pole, Bluesthestandard ranged up outside the
leader and it was clear that it would take a monster effort to challenge
the public’s betting choice.
“I never had to get after him at all,” Pedroza said.
“I knew what would happen when it was time to go. When I picked
up the reigns, he just opened up on the field. I just tapped him
(on the neck) and hand-rode him down to the wire.”
Those who supported Bluesthestandard at the mutuel windows got
back $5 on each $2 win bet. The 6-year-old Georgia-bred gelding
became the first Texas Mile favorite to win in seven runnings of
The race for place was wide-open down the stretch. Bonapaw ran
a smart race to finish second while displaying a new dimension that
should serve him well in the future.
“We were thrilled to see him relax for the first time,”
said jockey Gerard Melancon, who was reunited with Bonapaw for the
first time since a 22-race stint together ended in November. “He’s
been speed crazy since he was a 2-year-old. Now, at seven, I think
he’s really starting to realize what we need him to do. He
finished well for me.”
Compendium, who showed considerable heart to finish third, did
not fade so much as he was just outrun by Bluesthestandard and Bonapaw.
“My horse is very fast and Steve [Asmussen] just told me
to try to get him to run the best mile he could run and not to worry
about Bonapaw,” said Casey Lambert, who guided the 5-year-old
to his second straight third-place finish in the Texas Mile. “At
the top of the stretch, my horse tried to go with [Bluesthestandard],
but he just kicked right away.”
Closing gradually up the rail for fourth was another Asmussen trainee,
Private Emblem, the second wagering choice. Last year’s Arkansas
Derby winner was compromised by the moderate pace.
“I think the race set up for Compendium and not for Private
Emblem,” Asmussen said. “There wasn’t near as
much pace as I though there would be. Private Emblem was fourth,
but probably beat just a half-length or three-quarters for second.
The winner was much the best.”
Maysville Slew closed from last with a rush down the stretch to
get fifth. He was the only one of several anticipated closers to
finish with a significant kick, but not enough to catch the early
The order of finish was completed by Dynameaux, who ran evenly
without ever threatening, Seainsky, who likewise lacked much oomph,
Oak Hall, well-placed in third around the second turn but empty
in the stretch, and defending race champion Unrullah Bull, still
winless since upsetting in the 2002 Texas Mile.
“We just didn’t have it today,” jockey Jaime
Theriot said of Unrullah Bull. “He just ain’t that kind
of horse anymore.”
Bluesthestandard’s $170,000 winner’s share of the purse
raised his career earnings to $490,410. Owner Jeffrey Sengara, a
lumberman based in Vancouver, British Columbia, was elated with
“It was just spectacular,” Sengara said. “We
were so worried with such a strong group of horses and drawing the
outside. This guy just never leaves any doubt. He’s just an
amazing horse and we’re so blessed to have him.”
Sengara also said he would love to return for the Grade III Lone
Star Park Handicap on Memorial Day, May 26. The 1 1/16-miles event,
worth another $300,000, is also likely for Private Emblem and Maysville
Slew, according to their trainers.