|Bob and John Beats Sweetnorthernsaint
in Lone Star Park Handicap Thriller
(May 28, 2007)
- Bob and John prevailed in a thrilling stretch duel to beat Sweetnorthernsaint
by a quarter-length in Monday's Grade III, $400,000 Lone Star Park
Handicap to cap a big day for jockey Garrett Gomez on Lone Star
Park at Grand Prairie's ninth annual Lone Star Million program.
Gomez, who led all North American jockeys with $20.1 million in
2006, won each of Lone Star Park's three Grade III stakes events.
In addition to Bob and John, Gomez was aboard $200,000 Ouija Board
Handicap winner Lady of Venice for trainer Patrick Biancone and
$200,000 Dallas Turf Cup Handicap champ Embossed for trainer Niall
Bob and John, owned by NFL Houston Texans owners Bob and Janice
McNair, ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.02 over a surface labeled "sloppy."
For the seventh time in the last eight days, the Dallas-Fort Worth
area was hit by showers and thunderstorms.
Bob and John paid $4.80, $2.60 and $2.10 as the 7-5 second choice.
Sweetnorthernsaint, the odds-on 3-5 choice, returned $2.20 and $2.10.
Jonesboro, who set the early pace under jockey Calvin Borel, was
another 6 ¾ lengths back in third and paid $2.10. Real Dandy
trailed the field another four lengths behind Jonesboro.
The field of older horses was reduced to four when Texas Mile winner
Silent Pleasure was a late scratch due to an overnight bug bite.
Owner/trainer Howard Scarberry had to treat the bite with medication
that would not have been permitted on raceday.
Jonesboro broke from the inside post and set the early pace of
:24.42 for the first quarter mile and :48.53 for the half with Bob
and John tracking just behind in second and Sweetnorthernsaint in
third. Bob and John engaged Jonesboro leaving the backstretch with
Sweetnorthernsaint to his outside. The top two finishers battled
head-and-head down the homestretch with Bob and John prevailing
in deep stretch under strong handling by Gomez.
"My horse was doing it so easy and at the half-mile pole,
I eased up to the leader, and then just before we turned for home
I said, 'Let's go,' and he ran well for us all the way down the
lane," said New York-based Gomez, whose horses earned $486,000
on the day. "Both horses were fighting really hard through
the stretch and this little horse does everything so well. He's
got a big heart and he tries hard."
Both jockey Mario Pino and trainer Michael Trombetta said Sweetnorthernsaint
"He ran well," Pino said. "I gave him a nudge around
the turn and it was just the two of us at that point. The winner
hung on nicely. Those are two nice horses."
"He tried hard," Trombetta echoed. "Both Bob and
John and Sweetnorthernsaint proved they are good horses. We just
came out on the losing end today."
Borel said the conditions might have bothered Jonesboro.
"I don't think he liked the mud," Borel said. "You
can't control Mother Nature."
Winning trainer Bob Baffert, who was inducted into Lone Star Park's
Hall of Fame last month, collected his 13th Lone Star Park stakes
win. He was unable to attend the race when his 2 ½-year-old
son Bode came down with a fever at their home in Southern California.
The win was the fifth in 14 starts for Bob and John and the $240,000
winner's share of the purse boosted his career earnings to just
under the million-dollar mark to $996,330.
"I'm really proud with the way he dug in because Sweetnorthernsaint
is a heck of a horse," said John Adger, President of the McNair's
Stonerside Stable. "We knew he'd take to the sloppy track because
the surface was similar to the way it was when he won the Wood Memorial.
We love Texas and we love Lone Star Park."
Baffert indicated that Bob and John would likely be pointed to
the Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup on June 30.
LARGE CROWD BRAVES RAIN
Despite rainy conditions, Saturday's on-track crowd of 16,196 at
Lone Star Park was up 29.5% from last year's 12,508 and the largest
Lone Star Million crowd since 17,362 attended in 2003.
The first 10,000 were given a free canvas Lone Star Million folding
chair. When the chairs ran out, Lone Star Park officials called
an audible and gave away sets of glassware leftover from a previous
"We tapped into about a thousand sets of glassware,"
Assistant General Manager G.W. Hail said. "Who could have asked
for a better day under these rainy conditions? Obviously, we were
concerned about the miserable weather all week, but the true racing
fans in the Dallas-Fort Worth area responded with the quality racing
and great promotions."
In addition to the giveaway, a few hundred fans lined up before
the races to get free autographs from Kentucky Derby-winning jockey
Calvin Borel and Preakness Stakes-winning trainer Steve Asmussen.
Lone Star Park's next promotional giveaway is a 10th Anniversary
12-Pack Cooler on Saturday, June 16.
SILENT PLEASURE SCRATCHED FROM LONE STAR PARK HANDICAP
Silent Pleasure was denied a chance to join Dixie Dot Com (2001)
as a winner of both the Texas Mile and Lone Star Park Handicap when
he was scratched from Monday's Grade III, $400,000 event due to
a bug bite. The 4-year-old colt, who has won four consecutive stakes
events, was bitten by the bug in his stall Sunday night and owner/trainer
Howard Scarberry had to treat the bite with medication that would
not have been permitted on raceday.
LADY OF VENICE DOMINATES OUJIA BOARD HANDICAP
The sensational 4-year-old French-bred filly Lady of Venice displayed
her incredible turn of foot when she rallied from last under jockey
Garrett Gomez to beat Brownie Points by 1 ¾ lengths in the
Grade III, $200,000 Ouija Board Handicap.
Martin Schwartz's Lady of Venice, trainer Patrick Biancone's winner
of the Grade III Regret Stakes at Churchill Downs last spring, remained
unbeaten this year by running one mile over "soft" turf
in 1:38.32. She paid $2.80, $2.20 and $2.10 as the odds-on 2-5 favorite.
Brownie Points returned $3.20 and $2.40 as the 4-1 second choice.
Rich Fantasy was a head back in third and paid $2.60.
The win was the sixth in nine career starts for Lady of Venice,
who padded her career earnings to $439,521 thanks to the $120,000
winner's share of the purse.
"I was trying to weave my way though traffic but it didn't
pan out, so I just wheeled her out at the quarter-pole because I
didn't want to give her too much too do over this soft ground,"
Gomez said. "She's a remarkable filly and really fun to ride.
Once we got around the first turn, she was waiting on my command.
I had to sit there and wait to get to the outside, but once I put
her out in the middle of the track I said 'Okay, just go ahead and
do it.' She's a beautiful filly with a beautiful turn of foot."
EMBOSSED WINS DALLAS TURF CUP
Embossed, trained by Niall O'Callaghan, closed strongly in the
stretch to beat Crested by three-quarters of a length in the Grade
III, $200,000 Dallas Turf Cup Handicap.
Embossed, a 5-year-old Irish-bred son of Mark of Esteem, ran 1
1/8 miles over a "soft" turf course in 1:52.68 and paid
$3.80, $2.60 and $2.20 as the 4-5 favorite. Crested, the 2-1 second
choice, returned $3.60 and $3. Waupaca, who made his fourth consecutive
start in the Dallas Turf Cup, finished another neck back of Crested
in third and paid $2.60. More Than Regal was a nose back in fourth.
Garrett Gomez, who carried 117 pounds as the starting high weight,
won the Dallas Turf Cup for the second time. He piloted El Gran
Papa to victory in 2001 for trainer Bobby Frankel.
"My instructions were to keep him within five or six lengths
of the early leaders, and I had to work on him early a bit to do
that, but he settled in well," Gomez said. "When it came
time for the real running, he hit another gear. He's a horse that
finishes well. He's got a good kick and it showed closing into slow
The win was the fifth for Embossed in 23 career starts and the
$120,000 winner's share jumped his career earnings to $441,233 for
owner Gary Tanaka. Last fall, Embossed won the Grade III Kentucky
Cup Turf at Kentucky Downs.
GOING BALLISTIC RALLIES TO WIN USA STAKES
Going Ballistic, owned by Mike and Mary Kindred of Dallas, rallied
to beat Later Gater by a half-length in the $100,000 Pin Oak Stud
USA Stakes. Lone Star Park's all-time win leader Cliff Berry rode
the winner for trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel.
"Donnie told me to sit back and let him go at the three-eighths
pole," Berry said. "When I pulled a goggle down at the
half-mile, he grabbed the bit and I said 'Alright, I have some horse.'
I thought about going five-wide around the turn, but I said I have
to take a chance and go inside, and it worked out beautiful."
Going Ballistic, a 3-year-old Florida-bred son of Lite the Fuse,
ran 1 1/16 miles over a "soft" turf course in 1:45.29
and paid $8, $4.20 and $3 as the 3-1 second choice. Later Gater
returned $10.60 and $4.60. Beta Capo, the 6-5 favorite, was another
three-quarters of a length back in third and paid $2.80.
The win was the fourth in 12 lifetime starts for Going Ballistic
and was worth $60,000, raising his career earnings to $283,242.
"The horse ran a big race today and Cliff did a nice job,"
Von Hemel said.
Last year as a 2-year-old, Going Ballistic won a pair of $100,000
stakes, the El Joven at Retama Park and Remington Park MEC Mile.
"It's a great feeling," said Mike Kindred. "Mary
and I have had a ball with this horse."
CINTAROSA GIVES GRUNWALD FIRST LONE STAR STAKES WIN
Cintarosa gave owner Jack Grunwald of Mansfield, Texas his first
Lone Star Park stakes win when she rallied to beat previously unbeaten
Moroccan Rose by 1 ½ lengths in the $100,000 Valid Expectations
"This is big to get her first stakes win here," Grunwald
said "It's really awesome."
Cintarosa, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Grand Slam, ran
six furlongs over a "sloppy" main track in 1:12.00 and
paid $16.40, $7.60 and $4. Moroccan Rose returned $4.80 and $4.
Yo Fanci was another head back in third and paid $3.80.
"We were concerned about the track condition with her being
so big, but she handled it well," said winning trainer Steve
Asmussen, the former trainer of Valid Expectations who collected
his 11th career Lone Star Million stakes win. It also was the fourth
time that Lone Star's 41-year-old all-time leading trainer has won
the race. He won it in 1999 with Little Sister (via dead heat with
Prospector's Song), 2004 with Savorthetime (in a stakes and track
record 1:07.82) and last year with Red Lifesaver.
Luis Quinonez rode the winner. "I just let my filly run her
race," Quinonez said. "I was hoping they would go fast
early and come back to us, and she came up to them pretty easy through
The win was the fourth in 15 career starts for Cintarosa and was
worth $60,000, raising her career earnings to $165,230.
ATLANTA HIGHWAY WINS STONERSIDE STAKES BY 6 ½
Atlanta Highway drew away in the stretch to easily beat 9-5 favorite
Gallant Dreamer by 6 ½ lengths in the $100,000 Stonerside
Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
Atlanta Highway, a 3-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Chief Seattle,
ran seven furlongs under jockey Richard Eramia in 1:24.55 over a
"sloppy" main track and paid $9.20, $3.80 and $3.40 as
the 7-2 third betting choice. Gallant Dreamer returned $3.40 and
$3.20. She's Outrageous was another head behind in third and paid
The win was the third in five career starts for Atlanta Highway
and was worth $60,000, raising her career earnings to $106,770 for
owner breeder Dede McGehee.
"She's done everything we've asked her to do and I think she's
going to go a little further," said winning trainer Andy Leggio
Jr. "I believe that being patience is one of my good traits
as a trainer. I like to bring these fillies along slow; I think
that's the key to them. My instructions to Richard were to keep
her on the outside. I watched the previous races and most of the
horses that won raced outside. I just thought it was the better
part of the track."
JOCKEY PURCELL WINS FIRST CAREER RACE
Earlier on the card, jockey Kelsi Purcell won the first race of
her career when 3-year-old filly Expect an Echo won a maiden claiming
event at 5 ½ furlongs.