Saturday's All-Stakes Pick Three at LSP Includes Lone Star Derby and Deep Stallion Stakes

(May 12, 2006) - Saturday's Grade III, $300,000 Walmac Lone Star Derby with promising 3-year-olds like Wanna Runner, Red Raymond and Admiral's Arch isn't the only rich stakes event on the 11-race program from Grand Prairie, Texas. Two competitive divisions of the $125,000 Texas Stallion Stakes each attracted full fields of the maximum 12 entrants and round out an enticing all-stakes Pick Three that starts with the Lone Star Derby in Race 8 at 4:51 p.m. CT.

Trainer Bret Calhoun boasts six entrants in the Texas Stallion Stakes-four in the 3-year-old Got Koko division for fillies and two in the 3-year-old Stymie division for colts and geldings. Both races are run at 1 1/16 miles and offer some challenging handicapping puzzles, seeing as many of the top choices have yet to attempt a route of ground.

Got Koko Division (Race 9 at 5:19 p.m. CT)

Calhoun holds the upper hand in the fillies division with the top two finishers from last year's 2-year-old fillies division of the Texas Stallion Stakes at Lone Star-winner Final Trick and runner-up Cats Legend. After her Texas Stallion upset, Calhoun gave Final Trick an extended vacation that lasted until last month's opening weekend at Lone Star. The trainer said she had no physical problems, but was rested to point to the lucrative late spring and summer stakes. Final Trick flopped in her first race back, finishing sixth as the odds-on choice in a second-level allowance.

"Everyone else was pretty upset with her race off the layoff, but I wasn't," Calhoun said. "This is a race we've been shooting for and, knowing we would be stretching her out, we just wanted her to rate and relax, which she did. Past the finish line she galloped out past the majority of the others, so it wasn't as bad a race as it looked."

Recent allowance winner Cats Legend is part of a favored entry, installed at 5-2 on the morning line, with Shesabigcat, who Calhoun also sees as a threat for the win after a close second in an entry-level allowance last month. "She set strong fractions and got tired," the trainer said. "She'll be much tighter for this race and she does have two-turn experience."

Calhoun also saddles She's Open Minded, a dominant allowance winner going six furlongs on opening night. "From early on we always though she'd be better going around two turns, but now she has to prove it," Calhoun said. "I like what she's shown in the mornings."

Even Calhoun, who probably knows the fillies in this field better than anyone, said the race is as wide-open as can be. He called Open Meadows, an impressive opening night maiden winner trained by Jack Bruner, "the horse to beat." As for his own quartet, "I don't know who I would pick out of my four, but they're all very live," Calhoun said.

Stymie Division (Race 10 at 5:47 p.m. CT)

Calhoun is one of three trainers with multiple entrants in the colts and geldings division. Steve Asmussen saddles the 5-2 morning line favorite, allowance winner Samba Jones, as well as Will Farish's stakes-placed Open Forum colt, Upstream. Meanwhile, Danny Pish sends out Sam Houston stakes winners Brick Fight and Guacamole.

Calhoun is represented by 7-2 morning line second choice Private Fight, a fast-closing allowance winner at one mile last month, and 8-1 shot Alpha Male, who led gate-to-wire in a 6 ¼-length maiden special weight romp three weeks ago.

"These horses definitely complement each other," Calhoun said. "You've got one that lays close to the pace and one that's a closer. I think Alpha Male can go on the pace or set right off of it. Private Fight will definitely set off of it. Both have two-turn experience and both of them were pretty impressive in their last races."

Handicapping the Pick Three

Lone Star Park's morning line oddsmaker and racing information specialist Rick Lee recommends one of two approaches to betting the challenging all-stakes Pick Three.

"The most logical thing to do would be to single Wanna Runner in the Lone Star Derby and then spread out as much as you can afford to in the Stallion Stakes," Lee said. "But the other method to consider is to single a horse like Samba Jones in the final leg and see if you can beat Wanna Runner in the Derby. The only knock against Samba Jones is the lack of a two-turn race, but other than that he's pretty solid. Any ticket that beats Wanna Runner is going to pay well."

The Fields

Here's the complete field for Saturday's Grade III, $300,000 Lone Star Derby, for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles, from the rail out (with jockeys, trainers and morning line odds): Wanna Runner (Victor Espinoza, Bob Baffert, 7-5), Rain On Monday (Roman Chapa, Steve Asmussen, 10-1), Admiral's Arch (Shaun Bridgmohan, Asmussen, 5-2), Red Raymond (Luis Quinonez, Bob Holthus, 7-2), Wait In Line (Alfredo Juarez Jr., Chris Hartman, 15-1) and Mr. Pursuit (Jamie Theriot, Joe Petalino, 6-1). All horses will carry 122 pounds.

Here's the complete field for the Got Koko division of the $125,000 Texas Stallion Stakes, for Texas Stallion-nominated 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles, from the rail out (with jockeys, trainers and morning line odds): Fly Francie Fly (Roimes Chirinos, Bob Schultz, 20-1), Wild Texas Knights (Richard Eramia, John Locke, 15-1), Final Trick (Quincy Hamilton, Bret Calhoun, 8-1), She's Open Minded (Glen Murphy, Calhoun, 3-1), Cats Legend (Justin Shepherd, Calhoun, 5-2), Lady Prospector (Roman Chapa, Danny Pish, 30-1), Larisaanna (Shaun Bridgmohan, Steve Asmussen, 8-1), Night Diamond (Bobby Walker Jr., Pish, 30-1), Kathy's Rocket (Terry Stanton, W.T. Howard, 5-1), Shesabigcat (Cliff Berry, Calhoun, 5-2), Open Meadows (Casey Lambert, Jack Bruner, 8-1) and Little Rumble (Jamie Theriot, Bubba Cascio, 20-1).

Here's the complete field for the Stymie division of the $125,000 Texas Stallion Stakes, for Texas Stallion-nominated 3-year-old colts and geldings at 1 1/16 miles, from the rail out (with jockeys, trainers and morning line odds): Alpha Male (Quincy Hamilton, Bret Calhoun, 8-1), Preachers Luck (Jamie Theriot, Cole Norman, 12-1), Private Fight (Justin Shepherd, Bret Calhoun, 7-2), Upstream (Luis Quinonez, Steve Asmussen, 8-1), Brick Fight (Filemon Rodriguez, Danny Pish, 10-1), Total View (Casey Lambert, Jack Bruner, 50-1), Red Eagle Express (Bobby Walker Jr., Randy Mayfield, 30-1), Samba Jones (Shaun Bridgmohan, Asmussen, 5-2), Guacamole (Roman Chapa, Pish, 9-2), Single Sox (Glen Murphy, Allen Milligan, 15-1), Praisemeister (Cliff Berry, John Locke, 20-1) and Valid Victory (Anthony Cruz, C.R. Trout, 20-1).

In additional Walmac Lone Star Derby news:

· Trainer Bob Baffert will be seeking his second Lone Star Derby win with Wanna Runner. He won the inaugural Lone Star Derby in 1997 with Anet, finished second to Smolderin Heart in 1998 with Shot of Gold and was fourth in 1999 with Black Mercury, the year T.B. Track Star posted a 31-1 upset.

· 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); Pollard's Vision (2004) and Southern Africa (2005).

· The Lone Star Derby, along with the rest of Lone Star's 11-race program on Saturday, will be broadcast live on HRTV, HorseRacing Television.

· The Lone Star Derby will be previewed in-depth Saturday morning by Darren Rogers and track announcer John Lies on Lone Star Park This Week, the weekly television show on KFWD-TV, channel 52. Also on this week's episode, Gary West of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram discusses Barbaro's win in the Kentucky Derby, an interview with trainer Steve Asmussen and a look back at past Lone Star Derby winners.

· Lies and Rogers will also hash out the Lone Star Derby on this week's edition of Inside Lone Star Park, airing live Saturday from 9-10 a.m. on ESPN Radio 103.3 FM.

· Races 8-11 on Saturday will be simulcast into California, according to simulcast coordinator Mindy Freeland.

· Lone Star Derby Day will include plenty of special events to complement the on-track excitement. All fans with paid admission who enter before 2 p.m. will be eligible for a drawing to participate in the $25,000 Horseshoe Ringer Toss, presented by 100.3 JACK FM. Three lucky fans will be drawn at random to toss a horseshoe at a stake on the track between races. Also Saturday, the Budweiser "True Music" Saturday concert series continues with live music by Incognito in the Courtyard of Champions from noon to 4 p.m.

By Jim Mulvihill
Additional reporting by Darren Rogers

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