|Magnum Favored in Grade III, $400,000
Lone Star Park Handicap; 36 Stakes Winners Entered in Monday's Six
Lone Star Million Stakes
(May 27, 2006) - Santa
Anita Handicap runner-up Magnum and the top four finishers from
last month's Grade III Texas Mile top a competitive field of 10
older horses for Monday's Grade III, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap.
The 1 1/16-mile event, which lured five graded stakes winners, will
serves as a climax for a six-race stakes bonanza that comprises
Texas' richest annual day of horse racing - the eighth Lone Star
Million at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Also on the special 11-race Memorial Day program is the Grade III,
$200,000 WinStar Distaff Handicap, a one-mile turf test that lured
Grade I stakes winner Sweet Talker, defending champ Katdogawn and
eight other fillies and mares.
All told, 55 horses, including 36 stakes winners, were entered
Saturday for Monday's six stakes events. Together, they've won 259
races and almost $12 million, or an average of $218,000 a horse.
A dozen graded stakes winners will compete Monday, but amazingly,
Magnum, the 8-5 morning line favorite for the Lone Star Park Handicap
isn't one of them. Magnum's lofty reputation comes from runner-up
efforts in the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Handicap and Grade
II, $500,000 Oaklawn Park Handicap. In Santa Anita's Big 'Cap, the
5-year-old Argentine-bred was beaten only three-quarters of a length
by Lava Man, who tops the latest NTRA Thoroughbred Poll.
Southern California-based trainer Darrell Vienna, who has successfully
raided Lone Star stakes on three occasions, believes Magnum is the
type of horse that could end up in the $5 million Breeders' Cup
Classic this fall. "I do believe he is that good, but he really
would need to earn his way because of the cost of supplementing
him," Vienna said. "Tentatively what we're considering
is the Lone Star Park Handicap, the Hollywood Gold Cup and the Pacific
Classic. Each one of those is a steppingstone, though. If we slip
on one of the stones we could change course."
Monday's race won't be easy. Trainer Bob Baffert, who has won 12
Lone Star Park stakes since the racetrack opened in 1997, will attempt
to complete the rare "Texas Two-Step" with Texas Mile
champ Preachinatthebar. Dixie Dot Com, in 2001, is the only horse
to sweep both of Lone Star's marquee races for older horses.
"All systems go!" said Baffert, who saddled Congaree
to win the 2002 Lone Star Park Handicap. In the April 29 Texas Mile,
Preachinatthebar, a 5-year-old son of Silver Charm, held off late
charges from Stockholder and Texcess, who, along with fourth and
sixth place finishers Nakayama Run and Peruvian star Dominguin,
he'll meet again Monday.
Here's the complete field from the rail out for the 10th running
of the Lone Star Park Handicap (with jockey, trainer, assigned weight
and morning line odds): Magnum (Patrick Valenzuela, Darrell Vienna,
117, 9-5); Real Dandy (Quincy Hamilton, Steve Asmussen, 116, 20-1);
Texcess (Aaron Gryder, Mike Mitchell, 116, 7-2); Watchem Smokey
(Kerwin Clark, Brandon Marks, 115, 12-1); Wishingitwas (Cliff Berry,
Bart Evans, 113, 30-1); Cosmonaut (Julien Leparoux, Patrick Biancone,
116, 8-1); Preachinatthebar (Jon Court, Bob Baffert, 121, 3-1);
Dominguin (Ramon Dominguez, Dante Zanelli Jr., 114, 30-1); Nakayama
Kun (Rafael Mojica Jr., Akiko Gothard, 116, 30-1); and Stockholder
(Luis Quinonez, Steve Asmussen, 116, 10-1).
The Lone Star Park Handicap will be run as the 10th race at approximately
5:47 p.m. CT on an 11-race program.
Baffert and Vienna aren't the only trainers that have enjoyed past
success at Lone Star. Graham Motion returns to the sight of his
biggest win, the 2004 Breeders' Cup Turf (Better Talk Now). He'll
saddle 4-year-old filly Sweet Talker, the 9-5 early choice for the
WinStar Distaff, which goes as the ninth race at 5:19 p.m. CT. Last
year's upset Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup winner at Keeneland
was successful in her 2006 debut, winning last month's $60,000 Dahlia
Stakes at Laurel Park, an easy start to a campaign that could establish
her as one of the nation's premier turf distaffers.
Sweet Talker, purchased by Courtland Farms last November for $1.15
million, has dazzled on turf, winning six of eight starts, including
three in a row. "I think she's just a very honest, hard-trying
filly," Motion said. "My feelings are very good about
coming back to Lone Star. I have very good memories of it."
Among the challengers for Sweet Talker is two-time Grade II stakes
winner Katdogawn, who won the race last year by 1 ½ lengths
over a course rated "yielding." That won't be the case
this year as temperatures are expected to be in the 90s with no
rain in the forecast.
The complete field for the 10th running of the WinStar Distaff:
Sweet Talker (Ramon Dominguez, Graham Motion, 120, 9-5); My Misty
Princess (Luis Quinonez, Steve Asmussen, 116, 20-1); Katdogawn (Aaron
Gryder, Wally Dollase, 119, 7-2); Paz Ciudadana (Quincy Hamilton,
Steve Asmussen, 117, 12-1); Lock and Key (Patrick Valenzuela, Ben
Cecil, 116, 4-1); Stretching (Ted Gondron, Michael Stidham, 114,
30-1); Joint Aspiration (Julien Leparoux, Patrick Biancone, 115,
6-1); Caviar Emptor (Cliff Berry, Randy Oberlander, 115, 20-1);
Stela (Jamie Theriot, Cole Norman, 115, 30-1); and Peaceful Love
(Jon Court, Jeff Mullins, 115, 8-1).
Eighteen horses will have been flown to Dallas-Fort Worth from
Southern California or Kentucky to face the Southwest's brightest
stars in the Lone Star Million. Six arrived from Kentucky on Friday
afternoon and another six flew in from California on Saturday morning.
Patrick Biancone, the French-born trainer who has a horse entered
in each stakes race, will ship his contingent on a private charter
plane scheduled to arrive Monday morning just hours before the first
Julien Leparoux, the nation's leading rider in races won with 218
through Friday, will ride all of Biancone's horses. Patrick Valenzuela
and Ramon Dominguez, fourth and fifth, respectively, on the national
earnings list, also have mounts, along with Jon Court, the Southern
California-based rider who has won six stakes events in the last
1 ½ seasons at Lone Star.
Biancone and Leparoux, who team with Grade III stakes winner Cosmonaut
in the Lone Star Park Handicap and Joint Aspiration in the WinStar
Distaff, are particularly live in two other Lone Star Million stakes.
Grade III Crown Royal American Turf winner Stream Cat will be challenged
in the $150,000 Pin Oak Stud USA Stakes by Desert Wheat and Wait
in Line, runner-ups in the Grand Prairie Turf Challenge and Grade
III Walmac Lone Star Derby, respectively. The 1 1/16-mile turf event
for 3-year-olds also lured the Steve Asmussen-trained More Than
Regal, who will try turf for the first time after finishing fourth
in the Grade II Lane's End Stakes earlier this year. Two years ago,
Asmussen, the three-time national win leader, won a record four
Lone Star Million stakes races.
Australian-bred Man Of Illusion, winner of the Grade III Aegon
Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks Day, heads the $100,000
Beck Auto Group Turf Sprint Handicap at five furlongs on turf. His
seven challengers include eight-time Southwest stakes winner That
Tat, recent Santa Anita winner Crystal Castle and defending race
Elsewhere, G G's Dolly, first or second in 10 of her 11 starts
and recent winner of the $50,000 Prairie Rose Stakes in Iowa for
trainer Kelly Von Hemel, will face nine fillies and mares in the
$100,000 Valid Expectations Stakes at six furlongs. She'll have
to face swift two-time Lone Star stakes winner True Tails; recent
Sunland Park stakes champ Red Lifesaver; and Trolley's Last, a half-sister
to Unbridled's Song who will try dirt for the first time.
Von Hemel's brother Donnie will start Martha Washington Stakes
heroine Brownie Points, most recently third in the Grade II Fantasy
Stakes, in the $100,000 Stonerside Stakes. Also in the seven-furlong
race for 3-year-old fillies is Beholden from the barn of Eoin Harty,
who won the race last year with R Fast Lady.
Monday's first live race at Lone Star is 1:35 p.m. CT, and grandstand
gates will open at 11:30 a.m. A sleek Lone Star Park golf umbrella
will be given away to customers with a paid admission while supplies
At 1 p.m., Lone Star will honor America on Memorial Day with a
flyover by four World War II-era T-6 planes, the singing of the
national anthem and "God Bless America" by Nikki Hale
and a color guard presentation from members of the Dyess Air Force
Other on-track Lone Star Million activities include live music
between races by Steve Tenpenny in the outdoor Courtyard of Champions
from 12-4 p.m. Also, the Family Fun Park near the top of the stretch
will be open with bounce houses and a petting zoo for children to
Those who can't make it to Lone Star on Memorial Day can advance
wager on the entire Lone Star Million program all day Sunday. All
Lone Star Million races will be televised live on HRTV (Channel
404 on the DISH Network).