Even-Money Favorite Kays and Jays Doesn't Disappoint with 9 1/2-Length Win in Richland Hills Stakes at LSP

(April 25, 2009) - Even-money favorite Kays and Jays, owned by Zayat Stables LLC. and trained by Mike Mitchell, was an impressive winner by 9 ½ lengths in Saturday’s 13th running of the $50,000 Richland Hills Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 6 furlongs over a fast main track at Lone Star Park. The three-year-old daughter of Macho Uno finished in 1:08.78, only two hundredths of a second off the stakes record of 1:08.76 set by True Tails in 2005.

Ridden by Jose Lezcano, Kays and Jays showed good early speed while pressing the pace from the outside just behind Affirmed Truth through fractions of :21.74 and :43.60. She went three wide on the turn to take the lead before drawing away from the field through the stretch to finish just short of the stakes record.

“A good birthday present,” said Mike Mitchell who was celebrating his 61st birthday. “When we drew the outside post, it made it easy. I told my jockey, ‘if they're really rolling out there and you want to take a hold of her, go ahead.’ She broke pretty sharp and he rode a good race.

“There's always the question, ‘will they like the dirt? She liked the dirt and that was great,” added Mitchell.

Winning jockey Jose Lezcano agreed, “She was very, very sharp, like Mike said. “When I asked her, she came with that punch."

With the win, Kays and Jays improved her record to three wins from six starts and increased her lifetime earnings to $150,200.

Capote Attraction finished second, a length-and-three-quarters ahead of the early leader Affirmed Truth, who was third.

Kays and Jays paid $4.20, $3.00, $2.20, runner-up Capote Attraction returned $3.60, $2.40, and Affirmed Truth paid $2.60 for show. Smokin Again, and Shining Moment completed the order of finish.

Southern Region, Hard Boy Finish a Nose Apart to Give Trainer Steve Asmussen One-Two Finish in Grand Prairie Turf Challenge

Whispering Oaks Farm LLC’s Southern Region, with Lone Star Park’s current meet-leading jockey Chris Landeros aboard, took an early lead and held off a furious charge by five rivals to win by a nose in the 13th running of the $50,000 Grand Prairie Turf Challenge, for 3-year-olds, over a firm turf course on Saturday at Lone Star Park. The winner and second-place finisher Har D Boy gave Lone Star Park’s all-time leading trainer Steve Asmussen a one-two finish in the race.

A crowded photo finish revealed that Har D Boy was nosed out for the win and he finished only a neck in front of third-place Jake Wil Gallop. And Music Came was fourth, another neck back, and a length ahead of fifth-place finisher Ticfaw, whose strong late charge was too late after being blocked at the 3/16th pole.

Southern Region, a 3-year-old Stormy Atlantic gelding, set the pace at the head of the 12-horse field through early fractions of 23.17 and 46.66 and responded well in the stretch while being fully extended to hold off his challengers and stop the teletimer in 1:35.99.

“He’s got a lot of talent,” said Asmussen. Chris did a very good job just letting him relax and be who he is. I made a few mistakes with him earlier trying to take too much hold of him but Chris did the right thing on him today and he was able to come out on top.”

"As soon as I hit the backside, he got on the lead himself and he just backed up and relaxed,” explained Landeros. “I was just buying my time until I kind of pressed him. He is just a nice horse. He just dragged me around there."

With his first career stakes win, Southern Region improved his record two wins, three seconds and a third in seven races. The $30,000 winner’s share increased his lifetime earnings to $82,480.

Southern Region paid $8.20, $4.20, $3.40, runner-up Har D Boy returned $5.20, $4.40, and Jake Wil Gallop paid $11.00 for show. And Music Came, Ticfaw, Atlantic Slick, Messy Marvin, Harbour City, Cashinmywranglers, Tamqeen, and Face Off completed the order of finish.

Front-Running Longshot Hotlantic Holds Off 10 Others to Capture Irving Distaff

Longshot Hotlantic, owned by Ace Thoroughbreds LLC and trained by Dallas Keen, went to the lead early and held on to finish 1 ½ lengths ahead of favorite Everlasting Beauty to win the 13th Running of the Irving Distaff for fillies and mares, 3-years-old and up, over a firm turf course at Lone Star Park on Saturday.

Ridden by Jose Figueroa, the 5-year-old Stormy Atlantic mare responded well in the stretch under strong urging after setting early fractions of 23.28 and 45.86 to earn his fourth career victory that rewarded his backers with a $42.80 win payout.

"If it weren’t for long shots, I probably wouldn’t have won too many races,” said winning trainer Dallas Keen. “She ran really well at the Fair Grounds. It’s a different turf course than here, not nearly as fast.

“She’s a front running filly. She always has been and always will be. My instructions (to the jockey) were not to send her away from the gate. Let her kind of do it on her own, and when it’s time to move, do it like there is one in front of you. That’s what he did and it worked."

"My instructions were to just let her break on top and get a hold of her,” explained winning rider Jose Figueroa. “Don’t get anything out of her, just let her run her race. I wasn’t worried about it (her relaxing). I watched some replays and she usually runs in the front and in the bit. He (Keen) told me not to take anything out of her. I was not looking back, I was just going."

With the win and $30,000 winner’s share, Hotlantic improved to four wins in 21 starts and boosted her career earnings to $116,749.

Hotlantic paid $42.80, $14.20, $6.40, runner-up Everlasting Beauty returned $4.00, $3.20, and Love to Tell paid $4.00 for show. R Charlie’s Angel, Pretty Squall, Sweet Lemonade, Plan Nine, Nice Inheritance, and Cigar Starter completed the order of finish.

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