||18th Renewal of the Grade III Lone Star Park Handicap Headlines Memorial Day Card Monday at Lone Star Park
Grand Prairie, Texas (Sunday, May 25, 2014) - Grand Contender, winner of the $200k Grade III Texas Mile on April 26, is returning for a shot at Monday's 18th running of the $200,000 Grade III Lone Star Park Handicap for three-year-olds and up going a mile and a sixteenth on the main track. Gates open Memorial Day at 11:30 a.m. The First of 10 live races is at 1:35 p.m. Scheduled post time for the Lone Star Park Handicap is 4:51 p.m.
A field of six is entered in the Lone Star Park Handicap on Monday, and a win by Grand Contender would make him the third horse in history to win both the Texas Mile and the Lone Star Park Handicap back-to-back. The feat has been dubbed the "Texas Two Step." Dixie Dot Com won both races in 2001, and Master Rick accomplished the task in 2013.
Since being claimed for $20,000 in 2012 by his owner, Maggi Moss, Grand Contender, trained by Tom Amoss, continues to impress. The six-year-old gelding by Strong Contender out of My Twilight Dancer won three of five races last year. He won a pair of allowance races and the Delta Mile Stakes. From his four starts so far this year, he placed in both the Louisiana Handicap and Grade III Mineshaft at Fair Grounds, and won his last two, the Borgata at Delta Downs and, of course, the Grade III Texas Mile earlier this season.
Grand Contender has drawn post position number three and will have the services of jockey Richard Eramia, who guided him to victory in the Texas Mile.
It won't be a walkover for Grand Contender though. Marc C. Ferrell Racing Stable's Called to Serve, trained by Lone Star Park's all-time leading trainer Steve Asmussen, could certainly offer up a bit of competition. The five-year-old gelding by Afleet Alex out of Andover Lady is a graded stakes winner. He won the Grade III Discovery Handicap at Aqueduct in 2012, followed by a win in the $100,000 Broad Brush that year at Laurel. In his only start last year, he finished third behind Game On Dude in the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap. Although he has only two sixth place finishes from his only two starts at Oaklawn Park this year, he could outclass these. Jockey Luis Quinonez has the riding assignment.
Wayne Sanders & Larry Hirsch's Donoharm, a five-year-old gelding by Lemon Drop Kid out of Tasso Run could shake up the field in here. Trained by two-time Lone Star Park champion trainer Bret Calhoun (2010-11), Donoharm is a multiple stakes winner with a career bankroll of over $307,000. All-time Lone Star Park leading jockey Cliff Berry will have the mount.
The field from the rail out with jockey and morning line odds is as follows: Called to Serve (Luis S. Quinonez, 3-1); He Has Bling (David Cabrera, 20-1); Grand Contender (Richard E. Eramia, 6-5); Donoharm (Cliff Berry, 9-5); F J Uncle Vic (Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez, 20-1) and Texas Air (Dakota Wood, 15-1).
The Handicap is the second leg of the Global Gaming Triple. The GGT links the Texas Mile and the Lone Star Park Handicap with the Governor's Cup at Remington Park for a bonus of $15,000. The bonus is awarded on a point system for those horses that participate in all three races. Points are awarded as follows: five points to the winner, three points to second, two points for third and one point for fourth place finishers. The bonus is to be split equally between the owner and trainer of the horse with the most points that has competed in all three races. Grand Contender is the only point earner (5 points) from the first leg.
Additional Notes: Through racing Saturday, May 24, trainer Karl Broberg is holding a comfortable position at the top of the leader board with 35 wins over second place Steve Asmussen, who has 21 wins. Sensational bug boy David Cabrera, whom will only have the five-pound apprentice allowance through Monday, Memorial Day, will move on into the ranks of regular rider at the end of racing that day. At 35 wins so far, he is being pressured by second placed Luis Quinonez with 27 wins.