Asmussen Duo Favored in Closing Day $75,000 Middleground Stakes at LSP

(Friday, July 24, 2009) - Ackerley Brothers Farm’s Big Texas Daddy and J. Kirk Robison’s Grand Slam Andre, both trained by Steve Asmussen, headline the 13th running of the $75,000 Middleground Stakes, to be run at six furlongs, for two-year-olds at Lone Star Park on Saturday. With a win in the Middleground, Big Texas Daddy would cement his standing as the top two-year-old to perform at the 2009 Lone Star Park Meeting. The bay son of Valid Expectations has started his career a perfect two-for-two, including a sharp score in the $125,000 Texas Stallion Stakes in his most recent outing here on July 11.

Asmussen, who set a new single season record for wins at the 2009 Lone Star Park spring meeting by eclipsing the previous mark of 98 victories set by Cole Norman in 2003, will also send out Grand Slam Andre in the Middleground. An impressive maiden winner at Churchill Downs back in June, Grand Slam Andre was last seen finishing fourth in the Grade 3 Bashford Manner at the Louisville, Kentucky-based facility.

Another of note in the Middleground, is the Bret Calhoun-trained Western Forum, who finished three-quarters of a length behind Big Texas Daddy in the Texas Stallion Stakes.

The field from the rail out, with jockey and morning line odds listed in parenthesis, consists of: Big Texas Daddy (Chris Landeros, 8-5); Range War (Cliff Berry, 8-1); Lone Star Cowboy (Bryan McNeil, 15-1); Smoothing Iron (T. L. Collier, 20-1); Scottevan (Larry Taylor, 20-1); Fast Serve (Cliff Berry, 7-5); Valid in Progress (Bobby Walker Jr., 30-1); Western Forum (Eddie Martin Jr., 3-1); and Grand Slam Andre (Eguard Tejera, 2-1).

Scheduled as race nine on the 10-race program, the Middleground Stakes has an approximate post time of 5:19 p.m. CDT.

Lone Star Park’s 2009 Spring Thoroughbred Season ends on Sunday, July 26. Lone Star Park’s 31-day, 2009 Quarter Horse Fall Meeting of Champions will be held from September 25 to November 28.

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