Full Field Expected for Saturday's Grade III, $300,000 Walmac Lone Star Derby

(May 8, 2005) - As many as 18 horses are 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 include Grade III Lecomte Stakes winner Storm Surge; WinStar Derby one-two Thor's Echo and Southern Africa; John Battaglia Memorial champ and Illinois Derby third Magna Graduate; and possibly Robador, the California-bred who broke his maiden in the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes at Hollywood Park.

The field of 3-year-olds will be limited to the top 14 money-earners. Stakes coordinator Mike Shamburg reported Sunday 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); Robador (Eoin Harty, 8-1-2-3-$191,646); 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); Illinois Derby runner-up Monarch Lane (Todd Pletcher, 3-1-1-1-$122,500); OBS Championship winner Mighty Mecke (Steve Klesaris, 3-2-0-0-$109,200); dual Delta Downs stakes winner and Southwest Stakes runner-up Munificence (Lynn Whiting, 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); 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); Gulfstream allowance winner Unbridled Energy (Elliott Walden, 3-2-0-0-$35,755); Texas Stallion Stakes third War Bridle (Tommie Morgan, 3-1-0-2-$31,135); and local allowance winner Barometer Rising (Danny Pish, 5-2-0-0-$25,500).

Because the field will be limited to 14, the connections of Awesome Twist, Unbridled Energy, War Bridle and Barometer Rising would need defections to run. Monarch Lane is "50-50" to run, according to stakes coordinator Mike Shamburg.

A Tex Sutton charter flight transporting horses based in Kentucky is scheduled for Wednesday. Potential passengers on that flight would be Forever Wild, Golden Man, Magna Graduate, Monarch Lane, Real Dandy, Storm Surge and Unbridled Energy. The possible California contingent of Robador, Southern Africa, Thor's Echo and Yes He's a Pistol is due Thursday. If Awesome Twist draws into the top 14, he'll 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.

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