Bob and John Set for Saturday's Grade III, $300,000 Texas Mile at LSP

(April 25, 2007) - In addition to landing a potential star with the 10th overall pick in Saturday's NFL Draft, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair hopes to land the most lucrative horse race in North America this weekend. McNair, who races Thoroughbreds under the nom de course Stonerside Stable with his wife Janice, is sending last year's Wood Memorial winner Bob and John to Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas for Saturday's Grade III, $300,000 Texas Mile.

The Texas Mile - a one-mile, two-turn test of both stamina and speed - is the centerpiece of four stakes races that comprise Lone Star Park's inaugural Lone Star Million Preview Day. Each stakes race on the 11-race program serves as a steppingstone to even more lucrative races a month later. The ninth annual Lone Star Million is scheduled for Memorial Day, Monday, May 28.

Bob and John, the $701,330-earner conditioned by three-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert, was scheduled to arrive at Lone Star Park on Thursday morning following a three-hour flight from Southern California. Saturday's one-mile race for 3-year-olds and up will mark Bob and John's 4-year-old debut and first race in nearly eight months. The Kentucky-bred son of Seeking the Gold out of the Deputy Minister mare Minister's Melody hasn't started since finishing second to Cindago in the $106,300 El Cajon Stakes at Del Mar on Labor Day weekend.

"He's ready," said Baffert, who put Bob and John through a five-furlong tune-up in 1:01 2/5 over Hollywood Park's synthetic Cushion Track on Monday (his 19th workout since Nov. 8). "I thought this would be a logical spot to bring him back because he's been training well and he ships extremely well."

Baffert, a 12-time stakes winner at Lone Star Park with two Texas Miles to his credit (the inaugural 1997 edition with Isitingood and last year's renewal with Preachinatthebar), was one of 14 inducted into the racetrack's new Hall of Fame on Saturday, but was unable to attend the ceremony.

"The people of Texas always appreciate a good horse, and I thought they'd rather see us bring Bob and John a week later," Baffert quipped. "I was truly honored. This is the first Hall of Fame I've ever been inducted into and I can't wait to see my name [enshrined] up there [in the saddling paddock] with the others. We've had some great success at Lone Star since the track opened 10 years ago. You can't do it without great people and great horses, and I've had both. I just hope we have some more luck Saturday."

Five years ago, Baffert and the McNairs brought another Wood Memorial champ to Lone Star Park for his 4-year-old debut when Congaree prevailed in the 2002 Lone Star Park Handicap under Pat Day. In 1999, Baffert's Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes champ Real Quiet fell short of Littlebitlively in the Texas, but used the race as a springboard to victories in the Grade I Pimlico Special and Hollywood Gold Cup.

Baffert has given Saturday's riding assignment to Victor Espinoza, who tied Garrett Gomez on Sunday to share the Santa Anita riding title with 83 wins each. Espinoza has three career Lone Star Park stakes wins, including two for Baffert: the 2000 Pin Oak Stud USA Stakes on Purely Cozzene and last year's Lone Star Derby aboard Wanna Runner.

Entries for the Texas Mile will be taken Thursday morning. The first of 11 live races on Saturday will be 1:35 p.m. CT.

Saturday Doubles as Dollar Day

Saturday's 11-race Lone Star Million Preview Day program at Lone Star Park will double as Dollar Day. Beer, soft drinks, hot dogs, popcorn, general admission, general parking and programs will be just $1 each.

In addition, there will be live music by Channel 15 in the Courtyard of Champions between 12-4 p.m., appearances by radio stations 99.5 The Wolf and 93.3 The Bone and bounce houses for kids in the Pavilion lawn area.

Grandstand gates open at 11:30 a.m. and the first of 11 live races is 1:35 p.m.

Down the Stretch

In addition to the Texas Mile, Saturday's Lone Star Million Preview stakes races are the $60,000 Irving Distaff (a 7 ½-furlong turf event for fillies and mares that serves as a prelude to the Grade III, $200,000 WinStar Distaff at one mile on grass); the $60,000 Grand Prairie Turf Challenge (a one-mile turf race for 3-year-olds in advance of the $100,000 Pin Oak Stud USA Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf); and $50,000 Richland Hills Stakes (a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-old fillies before the $100,000 Stonerside Stakes at seven furlongs) . . .

It is believed that a world record for four furlongs on turf was established Saturday in Lone Star Park's fifth race when Carolyn and Tom Crowley's 6-year-old gelding Classy Cade, ridden by Glen Murphy and tacking 116 pounds, covered the distance over "firm" going in a swift :43.87. In Saturday's first race, Joe Move clocked four furlongs on grass in :43.91. Four-furlong turf races are rarely run, and they were the first two in Lone Star Park history. According to several sources, the world record for a half-mile on grass was Fine Tassles' :46.60 at Arizona's Rillito Park on Jan. 30, 1994, but subsequent research has shown that race was actually run on dirt not turf . . .

Ramsey Zimmerman will begin Week 3 of Lone Star Park's 16-week season atop the jockey standings with 11 wins, two more than two-time defending champ Cliff Berry, Quincy Hamilton and Richard Eramia. Eramia, who piloted Olmosta to victory in Saturday's $50,000 JEH Stallion Station Stakes, led all jockeys with six wins last week. Cody Autrey saddled five winners last week to remain on top of the trainer standings with a total of 12 trips to the winner's circle in the first eight days of racing. His clients, Heflin and Driver Racing LLC, are the leading owners with nine wins from 17 starters . . .

Members of Lone Star Park's "Star Player Rewards" program will receive free general admission on Friday and an entry into a Texas Mile Day Handicapping Contest to win 500,000 bonus points on Saturday . . .

Friday night's "Party at the Park" in the Courtyard of Champions will feature drink specials and country music by the Stephen Pointer Band between 7-11 p.m. . .

Sunday is Senior Citizen's Day with free general admission for seniors age 62 and up . . .

The Dallas Symphony Derby, the annual fundraiser benefiting the Education and Community Outreach Programs of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League, will take place Sunday in the Silks Dining Room . . .

Following Sunday's seventh race, Lone Star Park will pay homage to the late Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, who would have celebrated his fourth birthday that day. Lone Star Park plans to show Barbaro's 6 ½-length victory in the 132nd Kentucky Derby on television monitors as a tribute. On Triple Crown dates this year, Lone Star Park also will be participating in a national fundraiser in support of the newly-created NTRA Charities - Barbaro Memorial Fund, which benefits equine health and safely.

Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie raised an event record $23,000 for the Lone Star Park Charitable Foundation for Grand Prairie during its 10th Anniversary Party on Tuesday, April 17.

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