|Preachinatthebar Could Give Pegram
a Second Texas Mile Win
(April 26, 2006) - The
owner and trainer combination of Mike Pegram and Bob Baffert, along
with co-owner Terry Henn, won the inaugural Texas Mile in 1997 with
the lightning-fast Isitingood, who still holds the one-mile track
record at Lone Star Park nine years later. On Saturday, Baffert
and Pegram will try to pull off another upset with recent Grade
III Tokyo City Handicap winner Preachinatthebar.
Since winning the Kentucky Derby with Real Quiet in 1998, Pegram
has been one of the most popular and visible owners in racing. Real
Quiet went on to just miss becoming the first Triple Crown winner
since 1978, losing the Belmont Stakes to Victory Gallop by a nose.
Pegram has also campaigned champion filly Silverbulletday and Dubai
World Cup hero Captain Steve.
Preachinathebar won the Grade II San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita
Park as a 3-year-old in 2004, but had not won another stakes until
the Tokyo City on April 1. Now 5-years-old, Preachinatthebar could
work his way into the upper echelon of Pegram's all-time best horses,
if he can stay on top of his game.
"If he shows up and runs his race he's going to be tough,"
Pegram said. "He had his breakout race last time and he's always
been one of those hard-knocking horses. It looks like he finally
put it all together and we'll find out on Saturday whether he's
a one-hit wonder or if he can put together two in a row."
Preachinatthebar, a son of Baffert's 1997 Kentucky Derby winner
Silver Charm, was bred by Pegram in Kentucky.
"It 's always good to have the homebreds running well,"
he said. "Silver Charm, even though it wasn't my horse, is
the one that put Bobby on the map. And that mare, Holy Nola, was
a good little mare for me."
Preachinatthebar worked six furlongs in 1:12 3/5, handily, at Santa
Anita on Monday. Pegram reported that Baffert described the work
as "nice and easy" when they spoke by telephone that day.
Jon Court, who rode Preachinatthebar for the first time in the
Tokyo City triumph, will be back aboard for the Texas Mile, according
to the jockey's agent, Craig O'Brien. If any Southern California
jockey should feel at home in Grand Prairie these days it is Court,
who won five stakes events at Lone Star Park last season: the Pin
Oak Stud USA Stakes (aboard Mad Adam), the Lone Star Park Handicap
(Supah Blitz), the Stonerside Stakes (R Fast Lady), the Walmac Lone
Star Derby (Southern Africa) and the Ford Express Stakes (Rodeo's
Castle). In 2001 Court won his first Lone Star Derby on Percy Hope.
What's in a name?
Preachinatthebar was the first foal out of stakes-winning mare
Holy Nola, who was named for a popular racetrack employee in Southern
California, Nola Ferraro.
"She's a bartender at Santa Anita who got religious on us,
so we named Holy Nola after her," Pegram said. "The first
baby out of Holy Nola was this horse and we tried to find an appropriate
name for him. Nola went from being a born-again to being a bartender
to preaching to you at the bar all day long."
Dominguin Finishes Strong in Monday Breeze
Dominguin, fifth in the UAE Derby, breezed an easy four furlongs
in :51 1/5 on Monday at Lone Star Park in preparation for Saturday's
Grade III, $300,000 Texas Mile. The 4-year-old Peruvian-bred gelding
didn't really start running until the quarter-pole, having traveled
his first quarter-mile in :27 and change.
"I clocked it in :50 4/5 and he finished his last eighth in
:10 4/5," trainer Dante Zanelli Jr. said. "That's usually
what he does, finishes in :11 or so. But it doesn't really matter;
I'm not looking for a time. I'm looking at how he does it. He did
it totally on his own the whole way around."
Zanelli said he believes his horse is as good as the more accomplished
North American stakes winners shipping in from Southern California,
especially after Monday's workout.
"He came out of it perfect," Zanelli said. "He's
doing even better than he did in Dubai. Everything's done, let's
Nakayamu Kun 'Very Sharp' Despite Layoff
Nakayama Kun, winner of last summer's Governors Handicap at Ellis
Park, will try to upset Saturday's Grade III, $300,000 Texas Mile
off a 5 ½-month layoff. Trainer Akiko Gothard said the 6-year-old
had bone chips removed late last year and was given more time than
he needed to recuperate.
"He's very sharp right now," Gothard said. "We've
given him much more training than necessary. We were going to give
him an easy race at Gulfstream but it didn't go. We've been training
him a lot."
Gothard said Nakayama Kun last worked Saturday at Gulfstream, breezing
an easy six furlongs in 1:13. The son of Known Fact arrived in Barn
B4 at Lone Star Park on Monday with an assistant.
Nakayama Kun won twice at one mile last year. In a $35,000 second-level
allowance race at Gulfstream, he cruised to a 1 ½-length
triumph in 1:34 1/5.
"He loves the Gulfstream track," Gothard said. "If
[the Lone Star Park surface] is anything like that he should do
well. He's pretty fussy. He loves Gulfstream and Ellis, but he hates
Churchill and he hates Keeneland."
Asked how Nakayama Kun fits with the deep field assembling for
Saturday's race, Gothard replied: "We will see. I've never
seen an easy graded stakes race."
Gothard, a 75-year-old native of Tokyo, has trained in Kentucky
since the mid-1980s. Her best horse to date was K One King, eighth
in the 1999 Kentucky Derby. The following spring Gothard and K One
King upset the Grade I Oaklawn Handicap at 6-1.
Play the Chime Works at Valhalla
If only every horseman made reporting this easy. The owner of Valhalla
Farm in Rockdale, Texas, left a message on the press box voicemail
Monday about the gelding owned by his wife, Janelle Jackson: "This
is Jim Jackson. I wanted to call and let you know that Play the
Chime, a probable for the Texas Mile, worked at Valhalla this morning,
three-wide around the track, in :46.41, galloped out in :59, and
he will have Larry Taylor aboard."
Play the Chime, a 4-year-old by Fast Play, won a maiden special
weight at Sam Houston by 9 ¼ lengths in February. In his
next and most recent start, Play the Chime won a first-level allowance
in Houston by four lengths, going one mile and 70 yards in 1:44
2/5. Both wins came in gate-to-wire fashion.
Play the Chime is trained by Jaime Castellanos.
Texas Mile Probables
Here's the probable field for Saturday's Grade III, $300,000 Texas
Mile, for older horses at one mile (with known jockeys and trainers):
Charming Socialite (Bill Pettit), Dominguin (Dante Zanelli Jr.),
Halos Sailing Sain (Joe Bravo, Joseph Orseno), High Strike Zone
(Ricky Faul, Amos Laborde), Mr. Trieste (Ken Tohill, Gary Cross),
Nakayama Kun (Orlando Mojica, Akiko Gothard), Play the Chime (Larry
Taylor, Jaime Castellanos), Preachinatthebar (Jon Court, Bob Baffert),
Stockholder (Luis Quinonez, Steve Asmussen), Texcess (Cliff Berry,
Mike Mitchell) and Yes He's a Pistol (Garrett Gomez, Doug O'Neill).
Possible are Commander Buck, Dreamsandvisions and Wishingitwas.