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