|Gold Storm, That Tat Could Meet
in Friday's Ford Express Stakes at LSP; Kick-Starts Kentucky Derby
(April 30, 2006) - Two of the most exciting
sprinters to burn up the Lone Star Park track in the past several
years, Gold Storm and That Tat, are hoping to make Friday's $50,000
Ford Express Stakes at the Grand Prairie, Texas oval.
The Friday night showdown will kick off a jam-packed Kentucky
Derby weekend at Lone Star Park. Fans who come out for Friday's
10-race program can wager in advance on the next day's Run For the
Roses. There's also a Party at the Park with live music by Phantom
Fire in the Courtyard of Champions from 7-11 p.m. First post is
6:35 p.m. Live racing will be preceded by the simulcast of the Kentucky
Oaks Day card from Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
Lone Star Park is the place to be on Saturday, with the Kentucky
Derby simulcast highlighting a day that also includes two stakes
races on a super-sized 12-race program, plus the annual Cinco de
Mayo Celebration and a $500 Best Hat Contest. The Cinco de Mayo
party features live music by Latin Fire and the always-popular RoboSurfer
mechanical surfboard. The Post Time Pavilion will open for simulcast
wagering at 9 a.m., one hour before first post from Churchill Downs
at 10 a.m. CT. Grandstand gates will open early at 10:30 a.m. and
the first live race is set for 1:35 p.m. Post time for the 132nd
Kentucky Derby is 5:04 p.m. CT.
Friday's Ford Express is shaping up as one of the best renewals
ever of Lone Star Park's premier main-track sprint. The Southwest
region is known for its speed and the six-furlong Ford Express annually
attracts the fastest local and regional sprinters around. With a
Breeders' Cup Sprint veteran and a former Lone Star Park seasonal
champion pointing to this year's edition, the Ford Express promises
to be a hypersonic humdinger.
Gold Storm Back From Year-Long Layoff
Gold Storm, a three-time winner in Grand Prairie, developed into
a top-class sprinter in 2004 and was one of only a handful of locally
based horses to run in the 2004 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred
Championships at Lone Star Park. He finished ninth, four lengths
behind winner Speightstown, despite a wide trip. That race capped
a year that included two stakes wins and multiple Beyer Speed Figures
As a 5-year-old last season, Gold Storm started the year with consecutive
stakes wins before a disappointing 10th in the Grade III Churchill
Downs Handicap on the Kentucky Derby undercard. He hasn't raced
since, but trainer Bubba Cascio thinks Gold Storm could be ready
to fire off the one-year layoff.
"He pulled a suspensory," Cascio said about the time
off. "We gave him eight months. His last three works were all
bullets. We're trying to not let him work that fast, naturally,
but he's training well."
Gold Storm's last two workouts, both at a half-mile, were timed
in :46 1/5 (Thursday) and :47 (April 18). On April 10, the Seeking
the Gold gelding breezed three furlongs in :34 4/5.
Cascio said a final decision on Friday's race will be made after
Gold Storm works again Monday.
That Tat Going Strong at 8
As for That Tat, the 8-year-old will be running in his fourth consecutive
Ford Express. He won the 2003 renewal en route to being named that
season's Lone Star Park Champion Sprinter. He also won that year's
Beck Auto Group Turf Sprint. Since then, That Tat has finished second
(2004) and fourth (2005) in this race. He remains one of the region's
top sprinters, however, having won the $50,000 Hot Springs Stakes
at Oaklawn Park in March.
"Then he came back in the Count Fleet and he ran his eyeballs
out," trainer Cole Norman said. "Even though he ran fourth
he ran a hard, hard race that day. I think the winner had a 116
Beyer. We just missed third and the horses that ran one-two were
ship-ins. I just hope he didn't leave that race on the track, but
he's always a fighter."
That Tat has won 17 of 52 career starts, including eight stakes
wins, and earned $599,985.
As Norman said, "Not bad for a $20,000 claim, is it?"
Norman will also enter Grand Bank, winner of last year's Island
Whirl Handicap at Louisiana Downs, who had a strong four-furlong
workout in :47 4/5, handily, at Lone Star Park on Sunday.
Saturday Stakes Preview
In order to enhance the Kentucky Derby Day experience locally,
Lone Star Park offers a stakes doubleheader Saturday on an expanded
12-race card. The $50,000 Richland Hills Farm Stakes, for 3-year-old
fillies at six furlongs, is attracting an intriguing mix of stakes
winners, like Annie Savoy, and promising recent allowance winners.
The $40,000 Gold Nugget Stakes, for older Texas-breds at 7 ½
furlongs on turf who haven't won a stakes race this year, is an
"overnight" stakes, meaning there are no nominations necessary
and any interested horse can declare their intention to run when
entries are taken Thursday.
DOWN THE STRETCH: Hours of operation
for Drive Thru Wagering off Gate 2 will be extended Saturday from
8 a.m. until 5:04 p.m. - post time for the Kentucky Derby...Dr Pepper
Can Month begins Wednesday. On live race days in May, redeem a Dr
Pepper can to receive $1 general admission, a free large Dr Pepper
and the chance to win a night at the races in a Penthouse Suite
at Lone Star Park...The Post Time Pavilion celebrates its 10th anniversary
on Wednesday with a birthday blowout starting when doors open at
10:30 a.m. "Star Player Rewards" members will receive
free admission all day, as well as double reward points. There will
be prize drawings every hour from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for all in attendance
and free birthday cupcakes for the first 500...Nominations are due
Wednesday for the Grade III, $300,000 Walmac Lone Star Derby on
May 13. The 1 1/16-mile event annually pits the best regional 3-year-olds
against nationally prominent sophomores and could produce a starter
for the Grade I Belmont Stakes, the third leg of racing's famed
Triple Crown. Past Lone Star Derby winners: Southern Africa (2005),
Pollard's Vision (2004), Dynever (2003), Wiseman's Ferry (2002),
Percy Hope (2001), Tahkodha Hills (2000), T.B. Track Star (1999),
Smolderin Heart (1998) and Anet (1997)...Miscellaneous sales figures
from Saturday's Dollar Day at Lone Star Park: 32,082 beers; 13,320
hot dogs; 4,876 sodas; and 1,148 popcorns...Jockey Cliff Berry will
begin the week atop the jockey standings with 21 victories, but
the hottest jockey during Week 3 was Jaime Theriot, who won with
nine of 26 mounts (34.6%). Overall, Theriot is third with 15 wins,
four back of Quincy Hamilton's 19 in second...Steve Asmussen is
back in his familiar spot atop the Lone Star training standings
with 18 victories, one more than Cody Autrey, who led through the
first two weeks. Asmussen won with six of his 21 starters (28.6%)
in Week 3. Trainer Bret Calhoun also had a stellar week, winning
with five of his 13 starters (38.5%). He now is third in the training
standings with 11 wins overall...Charles Fletcher and the Wimp Free
Racing Stables partnership will begin the week tied atop the owner
standings with four wins each.
By Jim Mulvihill
Additional reporting by Darren Rogers