Storm Surge, Thor's Echo, Southern Africa, Magna Graduate Headline Saturday's Grade III, $300,000 Walmac Lone Star Derby

(May 10, 2005) - As many as 17 horses remain under serious consideration for Saturday's Grade III, $300,000 Walmac Lone Star Derby at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie Texas. The field for the 1 1/16-mile race is expected to be headlined by Grade III Lecomte Stakes winner Storm Surge; WinStar Derby one-two Thor's Echo and Southern Africa; and John Battaglia Memorial champ and Illinois Derby third Magna Graduate.

The field of 3-year-olds will be limited to the top 14 money-earners. Assistant racing secretary Jeanette Hughes reported Tuesday that the following connections expressed serious interest in running (in order of earnings):

  • Storm Surge (trained by Dallas Stewart, career record of 11-5-1-3-$367,770)
  • Thor's Echo (Doug O'Neill, 5-2-1-1-$336,560)
  • Southern Africa (Mike Puhich, 8-3-2-0-$235,070)
  • Magna Graduate (Pat Byrne, 9-3-1-3-$232,582)
  • Risen Star runner-up and Arkansas Derby fourth Real Dandy (Steve Asmussen, 11-2-5-0-$173,385)
  • Two-time Louisiana-bred stakes winner Prince T. (Andy Leggio Jr., 7-3-2-2-$128,230)
  • Texas Stallion Stakes winner General Charley (Mike Stidham, 7-2-2-1-$123,180)
  • Dual Delta Downs stakes winner and Southwest Stakes second Munificence (Jim Hudson, 6-4-1-0-$108,650)
  • Tampa Bay Derby runner-up and Lexington Stakes fourth Forever Wild (Joan Scott, 6-2-1-0-$86,930)
  • Two-time stakes-placed grass runner Shamoan (Eoin Harty, 9-1-5-3-$76,780)
  • Four-length Santa Anita allowance winner Yes He's a Pistol (Paddy Gallagher, 7-2-1-0-$67,500)
  • Three-length Gulfstream allowance winner Golden Man (Richard Dutrow Jr., 11-4-2-1-$59,100)
  • Six-length Keeneland allowance winner Awesome Twist (John Kimmel, 3-2-0-0-$53,291)
  • 4 ¼-length Gulfstream allowance winner Bank President (Dutrow, 4-2-0-1-$38,837)
  • Fair Grounds maiden special weight winner Mr. Malaprop (Al Stall Jr., 7-1-1-2-$35,752)
  • Texas Stallion Stakes third War Bridle (Tommie Morgan, 3-1-0-2-$31,135)
  • Local allowance winner Barometer Rising (Danny Pish, 5-2-0-0-$25,500)

Mighty Mecke, Monarch Lane, Robador and Unbridled Energy will not run, according to Hughes. Trainer Eoin Harty withdrew Robador and replaced him with the Irish-bred Shamoan, who was third in both the $75,000 Pasadena Stakes and $100,000 La Puente Stakes on grass at Santa Anita. Meanwhile, trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. will run just one horse, either Golden Man or Bank President. Trainer Al Stall Jr. told Hughes that he and owner B. Wayne Hughes are toying with the idea of running Mr. Malaprop.

Because the field will be limited to 14, the connections of War Bridle and Barometer Rising would need defections to run.

Hughes reported that Gary Stevens would ride Magna Graduate. Other out-of-town jockeys with Walmac Lone Star Derby mounts are Robby Albarado (Storm Surge), Jon Court (Southern Africa) and Jose Valdivia Jr. (Shamoan).

A Tex Sutton charter flight transporting five horses based in Kentucky is scheduled for Wednesday. Potential passengers on that flight would be Bank President or Golden Man, Forever Wild, Magna Graduate, Real Dandy and Storm Surge. The possible California contingent of Shamoan, Southern Africa, Thor's Echo and Yes He's a Pistol is due Thursday. Awesome Twist will be shipped on a Fed-Ex charter flight from New York on Thursday.

Past winners of the Walmac Lone Star Derby are Anet (1997); Smolderin Heart (1998); T.B. Track Star (1999); Tahkodha Hills (2000); Percy Hope (2001); Wiseman's Ferry (2002); Dynever (2003); and Pollard's Vision (2004).

In addition to the Walmac Lone Star Derby, Lone Star Park will card the $75,000 Ford Express Stakes. Ole Rebel, a four-time stakes winner including the Thanksgiving Handicap at Fair Grounds, is among the early probables for the six-furlong sprint.

Entries for Saturday's program will be taken Thursday.

DOWN THE STRETCH: Roman Chapa entered Week 5 of Lone Star Park's 14-week Spring Thoroughbred Season atop the jockey standings with a 26-to-24 lead over Cliff Berry. Glen Murphy was third with 20 wins, followed by Quincy Hamilton (17) and Jaime Theriot (13) ... Steve Asmussen, the national win leader, was the leading trainer with 23 wins - a six-win advantage over Bret Calhoun's 17 victories. Danny Pish was third with 13 wins, followed by a three-way tie for fourth between Cody Autrey, Cole Norman and Donnie K. Von Hemel, who had nine wins apiece ... The trainers with the highest win percentage (minimum three wins): "Bubba" Cascio (7-for-16, 43.8%), Autrey (9-for-26, 34.6%), Von Hemel (9-for-30, 30.0%), Elmer Carter (3-for-10, 30.0%), Calhoun (17-for-60, 28.3%), Chris Hartman (3-for-11, 27.3%), Asmussen (23-for-98, 23.5%), Randy Mayfield (3-for-13, 23.1%) and Norman (9-for-41, 22.0%) ... Tom Durant was the leading owner with seven wins, one more than Bill and Corrine Heiligbrodt ... The hottest jockey last week was Berry, who had eight wins from 31 mounts (a 25.8% win-clip). Trainers Asmussen (4-for-26), Tommie Morgan (4-for-9) and Von Hemel (4-for-14) each saddled four winners ... There is a pair of giant Pick 6 carryovers on Wednesday. At Churchill Downs, the day will start with $471,588 in the Pick 6 pool. Another $143,270 awaits bettors at Hollywood Park ... Friday night's Heineken "Party at the Park" in the Courtyard of Champions features the return of Karaoke by DJ Marcus Rollins between live races. There'll also be drink special from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m...Saturday is another Budweiser "True Music" Saturday with music in the Courtyard by the Cary Richards Orchestra between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m...Sunday is Senior Citizen's Day at Lone Star. All customers age 62 and up will receive free general admission.

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