Graded Stakes Winner El Gato Malo Heads Full Field of 13 in Saturday's Grade 3 Lone Star Derby

(May 8, 2008) - Saturday's 12th running of the $400,000 Lone Star Derby (Gr. III), for 3-year-olds, to be run at one-and-one-sixteenth of a mile, features West Point Thoroughbreds' El Gato Malo, trained by Craig Dollase. A winner of three of five starts for earnings of $215,200, El Gato Malo was last seen finishing fifth in the Santa Anita Derby (Gr. I). Rafael Bejarano ships in from California for the ride.

"He's been training in blinkers since his fifth-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby, and he's been working well. He'll be making his first start over a dirt surface on Saturday, but we're optimistic that he'll be up to the challenge," said Dollase.

At 2-1 in the morning line, El Gato Malo is scheduled to face 12 rivals as he bids to give Dollase his second graded stakes winner at the meeting. He won the Texas Mile (Gr. III) with Monterey Jazz on April 26.

The morning line favorite Samba Rooster, at 9-5, appears to be the main threat to El Gato Malo. Sent out by trainer Bob Baffert, a winner of 13 stakes races at Lone Star Park, and ridden by last year's Eclipse Award winning jockey Garrett Gomez, Samba Rooster comes here off of a runner-up finish in the Lexington Stakes (Gr. III) at Keeneland.

"Garrett looked like he was skiing on him in the Lexington, so we've been trying to slow him down a bit in his training," explained Baffert. "He's a tough one to reign in from the gate, but he seems to be a little more focused wearing blinkers."

Others worth noting in this competitive renewal of the Lone Star Derby are the Todd Pletcher-trained Texas Wildcatter, who finished second in the Gotham Stakes (Gr. III) at Aqueduct Racetrack in New York, and the Vladimir Cerin-conditioned Leonides, a Grade 1 tested colt who finished second by a nose in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship (Gr. III) as a two-year-old.

The field from the rail out, with jockey and morning line odds listed in parenthesis, consists of: Limestone Edge (Corey Lanerie, 9-5); El Gato Malo (Rafael Bejarano, 2-1); Golden Yank (Cliff Berry, 20-1); Poni Colada (Quincy Hamilton, 15-1); King's Silver Son (Luis Quinonez, 15-1); Texas Wildcatter (Robby Albarado, 8-1); Ide Like a Double (Kerwin Clark, 15-1); Isabull (Tim Doocy, 30-1); Samba Rooster (Garrett Gomez, 9-5); Leonides (Richard Migliore, 10-1); My Pal Charlie (Jamie Theriot, 12-1); Fort Apache (Eddie Martin, 30-1); and Real Appeal (James Graham, 30-1).

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