High Strike Zone Wins $300,000 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park

(April 30, 2005)- High Strike Zone wore down pacesetter Yessirgeneralsir inside the final furlong of Saturday's $300,000 Texas Mile (Gr. III) and defeated California invader Supah Blitz, the even-money favorite, by 1 ¼ lengths in front of 13,329 fans at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.

The 5-year-old Smart Strike gelding owned by Donald Erickson of Albuquerque, N.M. ran one mile on a fast track in 1:35.34, the third-fastest clocking in nine editions of the Texas Mile. He paid $17.40 to win as the fourth betting choice in the field of six older horses.

The race began as expected with Yessirgeneralsir setting rapid fractions - :21.65 for the first quarter mile, :44.24 for the half and 1:09.74 for six furlongs. All three splits were the fastest in Texas Mile history.

"Our game plan was to lay off the speed and let him come running," said High Strike Zone's jockey Ricky Faul. "He did what we wanted him to do today."

On the turn for home, High Strike Zone moved into contention from the outside as Supah Blitz attempted to tackle the leader from the inside. With the quick pace having an affect on Yessirgeneralsir, High Strike Zone edged clear under Faul's left-handed whip, while Supah Blitz struggled down on the inside part of the racetrack to get up for second. Twilight Road, runner-up in the Grade III Skip Away Handicap last time out, rallied belatedly for third.

Yessirgeneralsir, Snorter and Toratora completed the order of finish.

"I got stuck down on the inside and the track is a little bit deep down there for him," Supah Blitz's jockey Victor Espinoza said. "And one mile is just a little bit short for him. He prefers more distance."

"I'm real proud of him and the entire team at the barn," Faul said of the winner. "I'd been waiting for this day all meet. [Trainer] Amos [Laborde] and I talked about this race down at Delta Downs and we were really looking forward to this race."

The $185,000 winner's share of the purse boosted High Strike Zone's career earnings to $386,160. It was his seventh victory in 24 starts and third stakes triumph. Last fall, he won the $50,000 Marshland Stakes at Delta Downs. In March, he prevailed in the $50,000 Delta Mile, also at Delta Downs.

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