Sing Baby Sing
-photo courtesy Lone Star Park

Sing Baby Sing Wires Field in $50,000 Bob Johnson Memorial Stakes at Lone Star

(July 21, 2007) - Sing Baby Sing set a measured pace and turned back a stern challenge in deep stretch from 8-5 favorite Waupaca to win Saturday's $50,000 Bob Johnson Memorial Stakes by a half-length in front of 7,674 fans at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.

It was the fourth consecutive win for the 4-year-old colt trained by Jack Bruner and owned by Tom Durant of Granbury, Texas.

With 20-year-old Justin Shepherd in the irons, Sing Baby Sing ran one mile on a "firm" turf course in 1:34.45, which was a stakes record for the 11th running of the race. The final time eclipsed Nobodywantmetilnow's 1:34.90 in 2006.

After breaking from the outside stall in a field of nine older horses, Sing Baby Sing assumed the lead and moved to the inside rail when no other runners asserted themselves early on. He clicked off a comfortable first quarter mile in :24.37 and the half in :47.46.

"The original plan was to be off the pace with him but nobody wanted the lead and we kind of inherited it," Shepherd said. "He's a very fast horse and when we cleared them we had it all our own way."

At the top of the stretch, two lengths separated the field. Waupaca, under Quincy Hamilton, made his bid passing the quarter pole and gained a short lead at the top of the stretch. Sing Baby Sing, however, battled back gamely and prevailed in deep stretch.

"They kind of got the jump on us at the top of the stretch, but he has a lot of heart and he was able to overcome it," Shepherd said.

Added Bruner: "I thought we were going to get 'Waupaca-ed' again, but he kept fighting all the way. Waupaca is a nice horse."

Sing Baby Sing paid $11.20, $5 and $3.60 as the 9-2 fourth betting choice. Waupaca, who got the nod for second in a blanket finish for the minors, returned $3.40 and $2.60. Almost Certain was another head back in third and paid $3.80.

Wishingitwas and Electric Chant finished in a dead heat for fourth and were followed by Smooth Bid, Etesaal and Ernesto.

"We finished within a length of the winner and we can't even get a check," said Smooth Bid's trainer Steve Asmussen.

The victory gave the productive mare Roll Over Baby her fourth stakes winner. Sing Baby Sing, a Kentucky-bred son of Unbridled's Song, is a full brother to Value Plus (a $414,595 earner) and stakes-placed Werblin ($120,615). He's also a half-brother to stakes winners Majorbigtimesheet ($323,954) and Roll Hennessy Roll ($173,869).

"We went through our conditions this meet and this was the best spot to run him next," Bruner said. "The racing office tried to hustle us into the five-eighths turf sprint earlier this month, but I really wanted to stretch him out. He's a nice horse."

The $30,000 winner's share of the purse jumped Sing Baby Sing's earnings to $105,520. It was his fifth career win in nine starts.

Also on the 11-race program, Asmussen and Bret Calhoun continued their battle to be Lone Star's leading trainer. Asmussen began the day with a 60-57 lead, but Calhoun won the second, third and fourth races to draw even. Asmussen, however, prevailed in Races 7, 9 and 11 to regain his three-win advantage.

Ramsey Zimmerman added to his lead in the local jockey standings with a three-win day. He now leads two-time defending riding champ Cliff Berry 78-to-65 with five racing dates left. Closing day is Sunday, July 29.

Live racing continues Sunday with a 10-race program that begins at 1:35 p.m. CT. Sunday is Senior Citizen's Day where all patrons age 62 and up will receive free general admission with proof of identification.

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