|$200,000 Steve Sexton Mile (G3) Boasts Five Graded Stakes Winners and Three Graded Stakes Placed Horses of Nine Entered
Grand Prairie, Texas (Friday, May 5, 2017) - Sunday's featured eighth race is the $200,000 Steve Sexton Mile (G3) for three-year-olds and up at one mile on the main track. Gates open Sunday, May 7, at 1:30 p.m. First race post time 2:35 p.m.
There is a guaranteed $25,000 late Pick-4 wager Sunday that includes the Sexton Mile. The late Pick-4 begins in race 6.
The field for Sunday's Sexton Mile has some serious clout. Of the nine contenders, five have graded stakes winning credentials, and three are graded stakes placed.
"This is the best field this race has drawn in more than a decade," said Lone Star Park President and General Manager Scott Wells. "I think a large part of that is attributable to the legend of Steve Sexton and his great contributions to the racing industry. It has shaped up to be one of the most stellar and competitive fields for any main track mile race in North America."
Set to arrive at Lone Star Park today is 6-to-5 morning line favorite Mor Spirit. The four-year-old son of Eskendereya comes here off a recent win in the $250,000 Essex Handicap at Oaklawn Park. Previous to that effort was a second place finish behind stablemate Hopportunity in the San Antonio Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita in February.
Mor Spirit is conditioned by Hall of Fame and Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert. Baffert seeks his fourth win in this race. His won the inaugural running in 1997 with Isitingood, the 2006 edition with Preachinatthebar, and the 2010 running with Mythical Power. Jockey Mike Smith ships in for the mount. The Hall of Famer will be in Kentucky Saturday to ride Girvin in the Kentucky Derby for local owner, Brad Grady.
Iron Fist is the 9-to-2 morning line second choice. The five-year-old son of Tapit has one win from three starts this year. He won the Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston in February and, in his most recent, placed third in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap at Fairgrounds in March. His trainer, Hall of Famer and all-time Lone Star Park leader Steve Asmussen, has secured the services of current Lone Star Park leading rider Iram Diego. Iron Fist seeks that elusive first graded stakes victory.
Third choice is Shotgun Kowboy, by Kodiak Kowboy. He has been set at 5-to-1 in the morning line. Owned and trained by C.R. Trout, the 5-year-old gelding has won two optional claiming allowances at Oaklawn Park from three starts this year. His last effort was a sixth place in the Essex Handicap, also at Oaklawn. Local rider Luis Quinonez will ride.
Assigned 6-to-1 morning line odds is last year's winner, Great Minds, a six-year-old gelding by Stroll that has one win and one third from two starts this year, both at Delta Downs. He won an optional claiming allowance in January and most recently finished third in the Owner's Appreciation Day Stakes in March. If it works out for him and he wins again this year, he will be only the second horse in the history of this race with back-to-back wins. Littlebitlively won the 1998-99 editions. Jockey Colby Hernandez has the assignment.
Local Texas-bred standout of 2016 Texas Chrome was showing real promise after a pair of grade 3 wins, the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs and the Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park. The four-year-old son of Grasshopper was sent to compete in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile but didn't produce. In his first start since the Breeders' Cup, he ran sixth in the Oaklawn Handicap last month. Since back in Texas, he has been training well, clocking :59.00 for a five furlong work on April 28. Texas Chrome is trained by J. R. Caldwell and will be ridden by Ricardo Santana, Jr., who will also be flying in from Louisville. He will ride Untrapped in Saturday's Kentucky Derby.
The complete field in the $200,000 Steve Sexton Mile (G3) in post-position order is: Iron Fist (Irma Diego, 9-2); Mor Spirit (Mike Smith, 6-5); Carve (Richard Eramia, 15-1); Great Minds (Colby Hernandez, 6-1); F J Uncle Vic (Sasha Risenhoover, 30-1); Shotgun Kowboy (Luis Quinonez, 5-1); U S Officer (Ernesto Valdez-Jimenez, 30-1); Texas Chrome (Ricardo Santana, Jr., 12-1) and American Dubai (Ken Tohill, 6-1).
Post time for the Steve Sexton Mile is approximately 6:17 p.m. CDT.
As released last month, the Grade 3 Steve Sexton Mile, previously known as the Texas Mile, was re-named to honor of the track's former executive vice president and general manager who died in December at age 57 after battling brain cancer.
On an unfinished bucket list left by Sexton was his wish to put a student through college who otherwise would not have the opportunity. To fulfill this wish, friends and family of Steve created a GoFundMe account which has received more than $20,000 so far. The family is in the process of making the Steven P. Sexton Foundation a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation. To make a donation you can visit the GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/343nturm.
The Sexton Family will be in attendance Sunday and will be presenting the trophy to the winner.