Asmussen Has Eight Shots in Six Stakes on Lone Star Million Day

(May 28, 2006) - It wouldn't be Memorial Day in Grand Prairie, Texas, if leading trainer Steve Asmussen didn't have his usual army of contenders for the six stakes races comprising Lone Star Million. In the seven years since Lone Star Park created its annual holiday extravaganza, Asmussen leads all trainers with eight Memorial Day stakes wins. In 2004, Asmussen had his biggest day ever at Lone Star when he won four stakes events, topped off by his first local graded stakes triumph with Academic Angel in the Grade III, $200,000 WinStar Distaff.

First post for this year's Lone Star Million is 1:35 p.m. and grandstand gates 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 last.

Asmussen has eight horses entered in Monday's stakes sextet, including a pair for each of the day's graded stakes, the Grade III, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap and the WinStar Distaff. The 40-year-old Arlington resident also has two in the $100,000 Valid Expectations. Overall, Asmussen will have a say in five of the six stakes races. "It's no time to be in the barn when they're running for that kind of money," he said.

Two of Asmussen's top older horses, Stockholder and Real Dandy, will contest the featured Lone Star Park Handicap. After finishing a close second in last month's Grade III Texas Mile, the 6-year-old Stockholder could be on the verge of a breakthrough win. "I've been freakishly pleased with him the last eight or 10 days and I think we have him back where we want him," Asmussen said. "He ran real big first off they layoff and was a little flatter [in the Texas Mile]. He didn't get away as good. I think he'll be a lot closer this time."

Real Dandy earned his first victory of the year in a May 14 allowance prep, scoring by five lengths over multiple stakes winner Wishingitwas. The 4-year-old finished far back in three Grade III events at Oaklawn Park to start the season, but finally looked like his old self at Lone Star two weeks ago. "He bounced back very good and was very proud to win a race," Asmussen said. "I really think that he needed that one."

Asmussen's horses are almost always enthusiastically bet at Lone Star, but Lone Star Million may be the one day of the year when his fans stand to get generous prices on the track's all-time leader in wins, stakes wins and earnings. Stockholder is 10-1 on the morning line and Real Dandy is 20-1. Meanwhile, Asmussen's classy mare Paz Ciudadana is 12-1 in the WinStar Distaff and stablemate My Misty Princess is 20-1. When Academic Angel upset the WinStar for Asmussen in 2004, she paid $24.20.

Paz Ciudadana has won nine of 17 starts, including five stakes. Last month the 6-year-old fought off My Misty Princess to take the $75,000 Irving Distaff by a head off a five-month layoff. My Misty Princess, who won the $100,000 Bluebonnet Stakes over this course on closing day of the 2004 Fall Breeders' Cup Meet, came back to dominate a $36,000 allowance race two weeks later. "I hoped she'd get a little better break in the weights than she did, but she's a hard-trying filly," Asmussen said.

Asmussen will also try to spring an upset in the $150,000 Pin Oak Stud USA Stakes for 3-year-olds on turf with More Than Regal, making his first start on the turf off a fifth-place finish in the Grade II Lexington Stakes at Keeneland. The More Than Ready colt is 3-1 on the morning line behind turf stakes winners Stream Cat and Desert Wheat.

In the Valid Expectations, a sprint for older female sprinters, Asmussen will send out the field's two leading earners. Red Lifesaver, a Sunland Park stakes winner who has amassed $264,562, is 6-1 on the morning line. Born to Dance, a Michigan-bred who has earned most of her $577,519 in restricted state-bred races, is 8-1.

White She Devil is Asmussen's aspirant in the $100,000 Stonerside Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. The daughter of Vicar finished second in the $50,000 Richland Hills Farm Stakes last month over a sloppy track, but was very impressive earlier in the spring winning allowance races at Lone Star and Oaklawn. The morning line has White She Devil projected as the third choice at 4-1.

Here are Steve Asmussen's past Lone Star Million stakes winners: Wadif (1999 $50,000 Valor Farm Stakes), Heritage of Gold (1999 $150,000 Prestonwood Distaff), Vinnie's Boy (2001 $100,000 Lone Star Park Turf Sprint Handicap), Hannah's Royalrock (2003 $50,0000 Valor Farm Stakes), Term Sheet (2004 $50,000 Carter McGregor Jr. Memorial), Mighty Beau (2004 $100,000 Beck Auto Group Turf Sprint), Savorthetime (2004 $100,000 Valid Expectations Stakes) and Academic Angel (2004 Grade III, $200,000 WinStar Distaff Handicap).

Complete Lone Star Million Fields

GRADE III, $400,000 LONE STAR PARK HANDICAP - Here's the field for Monday's 10th race, the Grade III, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap, a 1 1/16-mile test for 3-year-olds and up, from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, assigned weight and morning line odds): Magnum-ARG (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-PER (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).

GRADE III, $200,000 WINSTAR DISTAFF HANDICAP - Here's the field for Monday's ninth race, the Grade III, $200,000 WinStar Distaff Handicap, a one-mile turf test for fillies and mares, from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, assigned weight and morning line odds): 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-CHI (Quincy Hamilton, Steve Asmussen, 117, 12-1); Lock and Key-IRE (Patrick Valenzuela, Ben Cecil, 116, 4-1); Stretching (Ted Gondron, Michael Stidham, 114, 30-1); Joint Aspiration-GB (Julien Leparoux, Patrick Biancone, 115, 6-1); Caviar Emptor (Cliff Berry, Randy Oberlander, 115, 20-1); Stela-CHI (Jamie Theriot, Cole Norman, 115, 30-1); and Peaceful Love-GER (Jon Court, Jeff Mullins, 115, 8-1).

$150,000 PIN OAK STUD USA STAKES - Here's the field for Monday's fourth race, the $150,000 Pin Oak Stud USA Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile test for 3-year-olds, from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): Stream Cat (Julien Leparoux, Patrick Biancone, 9-5); More Than Regal (Luis Quinonez, Steve Asmussuen, 3-1); Desert Wheat (Patrick Valenzuela, Tony Richey, 8-5); Aver (Jamie Theriot, Sherman Savoie, 15-1); Wait in Line (Alfredo Juarez Jr., Chris Hartman, 10-1); and Minstrel Runner (Jon Court, Terry Eoff, 15-1).

$100,000 BECK AUTO GROUP TURF SPRINT HANDICAP - Here's the field for Monday's sixth race, the $100,000 Beck Auto Group Turf Sprint Handicap, a five-furlong turf sprint for 3-year-olds and up, from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, assigned weight and morning line odds): Man of Illusion-AUS (Julien Leparoux, Patrick Biancone, 120, 7-5); That Tat (Jamie Theriot, Cole Norman, 116, 3-1); Greggo (Jorge Guzman, Jim Bausch, 110, 30-1); Savonarola (Casey Lambert, Bruce Jackson, 113, 12-1); Oncearoundtwice (Quincy Hamilton, John Locke, 115, 12-1); Charming Socialite (Terry Stanton, Bill Pettit, 116, 8-1); Crystal Castle (Patrick Valenzuela, Darrell Vienna, 115, 7-2); and Sweepingly (Alfredo Juarez Jr., Chris Hartman, 110, 20-1).

$100,000 STONERSIDE STAKES - Here's the field for Monday's eighth race, the $100,000 Stonerside Stakes, a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-old fillies, from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): Sweet Idea (Cliff Berry, Bret Calhoun, 8-1); Beholden (Patrick Valenzuela, Eoin Harty, 3-1); White She Devil (Justin Shepherd, Steve Asmussen, 4-1); Open Meadows (Casey Lambert, Jack Bruner, 15-1); Dancing Delilah (Glen Murphy, Andrew Ali, 30-1); Trick's Pic (Julien Leparoux, Patrick Biancone, 15-1); Kalyrra (Quincy Hamilton, Bret Calhoun, 12-1); Prahtheta (David Elston, Glynn Winn, 30-1); Brownie Points (Luis Quinonez, Donnie K. Von Hemel, 8-5); Annie Savoy (Aaron Gryder, Kari Craddock, 30-1); and Princess Patricia (Jamie Theriot, Cole Norman, 30-1).

$100,000 VALID EXPECTATIONS STAKES - Here's the field for Monday's seventh race, the $100,000 Valid Expectations Stakes, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares, from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): Tawnka (Glen Murphy, Cliff Haydel, 20-1); Trolley's Last (Julien Leparoux, Patrick Biancone, 10-1); Follow the Lite (Cliff Berry, Bret Calhoun, 10-1); Ketchmewhereyoucan (Quincy Hamilton, Tommie Morgan, 30-1); G G's Dolly (Perry Compton, Kelly Von Hemel, 8-5); Angel Baby (Justin Shepherd, Dallas Keen, 30-1); True Tails (Jamie Theriot, Cole Norman, 5-2); Red Lifesaver (Luis Quinonez, Steve Asmussen, 6-1); Cookin's Cast (Filemon Rodriguez, Alan Love Sr., 20-1); and Born to Dance (Jon Court, Steve Asmussen, 8-1).

By Jim Mulvihill

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