It's a Bird Even-Money Favorite in Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap at LSP

(May 23, 2009) - Edmund Gann's It's a Bird, who is trained by Martin Wolfson and will be ridden by Julien Leparoux, has been designated as the even-money favorite by track odds maker Rick Lee in Monday's 13th running of the Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap. The six-year-old son of Birdonthewire, who posted 107 Beyer speed figures in winning both the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap in his last race and the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park three races back on Jan. 24, has drawn the outside post in the field of nine.

"The only race he had an excuse was in New Orleans (finished third in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds on March 14) on a sloppy track," said trainer Wolfson, who will be coming in from Florida for the race. "It's not so much that he didn't like the wet track, but it set up for a closer, Macho Again, who ran huge there.

"He's fresh and he's a good work horse anyway, but his last two works have been very sharp," explained Wolfson about It's a Bird's three consecutive bullet works at Calder Race Course.

Wolfson is not concerned about drawing the outside post in a race that has plenty of early speed. "He'll sit off the lead like he did at Gulfstream," added Wolfson. "He just likes to be close and doesn't have to be on the lead."

A winner of 10 from 29 starts with $1,172,885 in career earnings, It's a Bird's main competition could come from California invader Magnum and recent rival Jonesboro, who ran third and finished 6 1/4-lengths behind in the Oaklawn Handicap.

Jockey David Flores, a two-time winner of the Lone Star Park Handicap (Luftikus in 2000 and Dixie Dot Com in 2001), is coming in from California to ride Magnum for owner Herrick Racing LLC and trainer Darrell Vienna. Although sixth in his most recent start, the $615,000 Charles Town Classic in West Virginia on April 18, the Argentine-bred 8-year-old defeated Well Armed, who went on to win the $6 million Dubai Cup in his next race, in the Grade 2 San Antonio Handicap at Santa Anita three races back on Feb. 8.

Magnum, who has earned $854,249 with six wins in 28 races, will seek to surpass the $1 million mark with a Memorial Day win.

Owned by Michael Langford and trained by Randy Morse, Jonesboro will be seeking to become only the second horse in history to sweep the Grade 3, $300,000 Texas Mile and the Lone Star Park Handicap, a feat accomplished by Lone Star Park Hall of Famer Dixie Dot Com in 2001. Jonesboro, who eclipsed the $1 million plateau with his Texas Mile win, is 13 for 38 lifetime with $1,120,575 in total earnings.

Lone Star Park leading rider Cliff Berry, who guided the seven-year-old, chestnut horse to his Texas Mile victory a month ago, has the mount.

The field from the rail out, with jockey and morning line odds listed in parenthesis, consists of: Magnum (David Flores, 3-1); Upstream (Martin Escobar, 30-1); Encaustic (Eddie Martin, Jr., 20-1); Song of Navarone (Chris Landeros, 8-1); Stungbythestorm (Luis Quinonez, 30-1); King Dan (Eguard Tejera, 12-1); It's a Bird (Julien Leparoux, 1-1); Z Fortune (Robby Albarado, 12-1); and Jonesboro (Cliff Berry, 6-1).

The Lone Star Park Handicap is race 10 on the 11-race Lone Star Million Day program with a scheduled post time of 5:47 p.m.

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