Pie N Burger, Norman Shine on Lone Star Million Day

(May 26, 2003)- Tom and Jesse Kagele sent Southern California allowance winner Pie N Burger to Texas-based trainer Cole Norman in hope of winning a stakes race. Little did the cousins know that they’d collect their first stakes win as owners in the richest race on Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie’s fifth annual Lone Star Million program, a day filled with seven stakes events cumulatively worth $1 million which attracted 17,362 fans.

Pie N Burger, claimed for $100,000 last summer off trainer Bob Baffert, pressed the pace throughout the seventh running of the $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap (Gr. III) and kicked clear to win the 1 1/16-mile race by 2 ¾ lengths. Favorite Bluesthestandard, the Texas Mile winner, and longshot Maysville Slew finished in a dead-heat for second. Behind the top three were Private Emblem, 8-5 second choice Pass Rush, Where’s The Ring, Fifty Stars and Dusty Spike.

Pie N Burger, who won for the eighth time in 29 starts, was clocked in 1:41.98 on a track labeled “fast.” The 5-year-old gelding paid $15 to win as the 6-1 fourth wagering choice.

“I gave Cole a phone call a month and a half ago and it was the best call I ever made,” Tom Kagele said.

Breaking from post position No. 5 in the field of eight older horses, Pie N Burger contested the pace on the outside of Where’s The Ring, a winner of three straight. As the duo passed the three-eighths pole, Pie N Burger inched away and responded to the urging of jockey Jamie Theriot.

“You take a long cross on him and he relaxes,” said Theriot, who tacked 114 pounds. “When I called on him at the three-sixteenths pole, he had a lot of run for me.”

Bluesthestandard, the 3-2 betting choice who sat off the leaders in fourth during the early stages of the race, came within a length of the leader at the head of the stretch but proved to be no match for Pie N Burger in the final furlong.

“It unfolded perfectly the way I wanted,” said Bluesthestandard’s jockey Martin Pedroza. “I rode him like the best horse. I think it’s just a little bit too far for him. The extra sixteenth [of a mile] kind of got to him. He handled the track perfect and he made a good, winning move. He just got tired.”

“He didn’t bring his ‘A-game,’ obviously,” said the gelding’s trainer, Ted H. West. “I’m not taking anything away from the winner, he ran a great race, but I really thought we were the best horse. We’ll have to see.”

Maysville Slew, unhurried early on, rallied for the dead-heat for second at odds of 36-1.

“We’re tickled to death,” said Maysville Slew’s owner and trainer C.R. Trout. “We knew he was right and he ran like he was right, about as good as he could.”

Both trainer Patrick Byrne and jockey Pat Day were mystified by Pass Rush’s dull fifth-place finish.

“No excuses really,” Byrne said. “He was running good down the backside. Pat said he kind of sucked back a bit. No excuses, just disappointment. The track wasn’t an excuse; it was really in great shape.”

Formerly raced in Southern California with trainer Mike Machowsky, the Kageles, along with co-owner James A. Bailey, opted to send Pie N Burger to Lone Star Park and top local trainer Norman. Behind in training to make the April 26 Texas Mile, Norman entered the Kentucky-bred son of Twining in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race two weeks later. He signaled his fondness for Texas with a convincing three-length victory in 1:41 77, and it was obvious that the Lone Star Park Handicap would be next.

“It’s hard to fill races like ones for this horse in California,” Tom Kagele said. “Cole did a good job.”

“The way this horse ran his last race, me and Jamie were so confident,” Norman said. “He came out of the race super. Thank you, Mr. Kagele. I’m glad you called.”

Kagele hinted that Pie N Burger would remain with Norman and that the Bob Johnson Memorial Stakes on Saturday, July 12 at Lone Star Park could be his next race.

“We’ll see if Cole can go three-for-three with him.”

Norman had a sensational day at Lone Star Park, the best of his of career which began after the sudden death of his father Gene Norman in 1994. Norman also saddled three stakes winners, which matched a feat accomplished by his chief training rival Steve Asmussen in 1999 on the inaugural Lone Star Million program. Eagle Lake posted a front-running upset in the $200,000 WinStar Distaff (Gr. III), and That Tat captured the $100,000 Beck Auto Group Turf Sprint.

“What a great day,” said 34-year-old Norman, who tops the Lone Star Park trainer standings with 57 wins, 10 more than Asmussen, the winner of four straight local training titles. “Is it real? Can I pinch myself? I just want to thank God and I know my pa is looking down and I just want to say, ‘Thanks, Pa.’ And I want to say thank you to Lone Star. We tried to keep all the money in town and we almost did it.”

In addition, Norman finished second in the $50,000 Valor Farm Stakes with Lauren Lynn, fourth in the $50,000 Carter McGregor Jr. Memorial Stakes with R. B Spirit, fourth in the $100,000 Valid Expectations with Southern Tour and fourth in the Beck Auto Group Turf Sprint with Joyful Tune. With $1 million up for grabs in the seven stakes, Norman-trained horses took home $385,000.

Lone Star Million Wagering Up

Wagering on Monday’s fifth annual Lone Star Million program was up from last year’s event, which featured an appearance by the Bob Baffert-trained Congaree. Total handle on the 11-race program was $5,383,212, up slightly from the $5,359,211 bet in 2002. Wagers by the 17,362 on-track customers totaled $1,504,131 (live wagering only) bettered the $1,489,979 a year ago, and off-track betting reached $3,879,081, up from $3,869,232.

Eagle Lake Wires Field in $200,000 Winstar Distaff

Cole Norman earned his third stakes win of the day and swept both graded stakes events when Eagle Lake wired the field in the $200,000 WinStar Distaff (Gr. III). The 5-year-old mare was allowed to set comfortable fractions while loose on the lead, crossing the finish line 2 ¼ lengths ahead of California invader Little Treasure.

“I had everything my way, I really did,” said Gerard Melancon, who rode Eagle Lake for owners Turf Express Inc. “Past the quarter pole I still heard nobody. I just kept sitting on her and I knew as soon as I’d move a little bit on her she would give me what she had.”

In her previous race, Eagle Lake finished second in a May 2 allowance to graded stakes winner Bien Nicole, who went favored in the WinStar.

“She just never did fire,” said Don Pettinger, who has ridden Bien Nicole to six stakes wins. “I didn’t think I could find a surface she wouldn’t like, but I did today.”

Eagle Lake traipsed over the “soft” turf course in fractional times of :24.04 for the opening quarter-mile, :49.48 for the half-mile and 1:15.85 for six furlongs. Eagle Lake stopped the timer in 1:43.02 for the one-mile race.

Runner-up Little Treasure followed in second the entire race, but was no match for the winner.

Second wagering choice Magic Mission finished third, three-quarters of a length behind Little Treasure. The order of finish was completed by Academic Angel, Strawbailey, Bien Nicole, Cherylville Slew, Garden in the Rain and Adalgisa.

The winner paid $18 as the 8-1 fifth choice. The $120,000 winner’s share of the purse boosted Eagle Lake’s career earnings to $391,143.

Crowned King Gets Up to Win $200,000 USA Stakes

Crowned King, the Rebel Stakes winner who was sent to the post at odds of 11-1, narrowly defeated 41-1 longshot Iceanwater by a quarter-length in Monday’s $200,000 USA Stakes at Lone Star Park. It was another length back to pacesetter Kool Humor, who faded to third as the 5-1 third wagering choice. On The Border and G.W.’s Skippie also were in the mix.

Crowned King, a 3-year-old son of Barkerville, was ridden by Chandra Rennie, who collected the biggest stakes win of her career. She rode the winner for owner/trainer Billy McKeever Jr.

The $120,000 winner’s share of the purse jumped Crowned King’s $298,450. It was his fourth victory in 13 starts and first on turf.

Following the top three finishers were On The Border, G.W.’s Skippie, mild 7-2 favorite Lone Star Sky, Leo’s Last Hurrahy, Mauk Four, Lots Of Sizzle, 7-2 second choice Lone Star Deputy and Commander’s Affair completed the order of finish. Zarb’s Music was a late scratch.

Local Star That Tat Takes $100,000 Beck Auto Group Turf Sprint

Locally-based That Tat, claimed for $20,000 by owner Ken Murphy in March 2002, collected his fourth straight win with one-length victory over Maryland invader Take Achance On Me in Monday’s $100,000 Beck Auto Group Turf Sprint. It was his second straight stakes win at Lone Star Park. On Kentucky Derby Day, That Tat won the $75,000 Ford Express on the main track.

Trained by Lone Star Park’s top conditioner Cole Norman and ridden by Eddie Martin Jr., That Tat ran five furlongs in 1:00.03 on a course labeled “soft” after overnight rain hit the Grand Prairie area for second straight night. It was the slowest time in seven runnings of the race.

“Everything went well for us and he handled the off going,” Norman said. “He ran one time on turf before we claimed him and he didn’t run well on it (finished seventh, beaten 16 lengths in a Remington Park allowance in September 2001). But we worked him on the turf course here (Monday at four furlongs in :49 2/5) to see if he’d handle it okay and he did. We thought we had a good shot.”

Slow times aren’t the norm for That Tat. On April 11, he set a track record for 5 ½ furlongs at Lone Star Park with a 5 ½-length triumph in 1:01.88.

That Tat paid $18 to win as the 8-1 fifth betting choice in a competitive field of nine older horses. Overall, the 5-year-old gelding has 11 career wins in 27 starts. The $60,000 winner’s share of the purse pushed his bankroll to $314,585.

Runner-up Take Achance On Me, off at 7-1, was 1 ½ lengths in front of 29-1 outsider Runaway Choice. Pacesetter Joyful Tune was fourth followed by No Jacket Required, G.W.’s Deputy, 9-5 favorite Morluc, 5-2 second choice Rocky Bar and Islander. The entry of Proven Cure and Wudantunoit were scratched.

Von Hemel Finishes One-Two in $100,000 Valid Expectations; See How She Runs Rallies to Surpass $500,000 Earnings Mark

Graded stakes winner See How She Runs ran down pacesetters Distinctive Code and Southern Tour inside the final eighth of a mile to win the $100,000 Valid Expectation Stakes by three-quarters of a length over stablemate Drexel Monorail. Trained by Donnie K. Von Hemel and ridden by Don Pettinger, See How She Runs ran six furlongs in a swift 1:08.93, just 87-hundredths of a second off the track record.

“I knew there was a lot of speed in here but I wasn’t really too concerned that she wouldn’t be able to run them down,” Pettinger said. “She was getting a lot of dirt in her face early. Once I was able to get her in the open she ran her race. This filly has a lot of class and hasn’t really done anything wrong her entire career. You just wish that all of them were like that.”

The winner of last year’s Fantasy Stakes (Gr. II) won for the seventh time in 13 starts. The $60,000 winner’s share of the purse boosted her earnings to $500,950 for owner Pin Oak Stable of Versailles, Ky.

“We looked at our options for her on which race we might run in,” Von Hemel explained. “We looked at the turf race (WinStar Distaff), but there is a pretty good grass contingent that came in for that, so we opted for the sprint on dirt. Everything worked out just fine for us. It was a good decision.”

See How She Runs paid $5 to win as the 3-2 favorite. Drexel Monorail, another Von Hemel-trained horse, also rallied to finish a quarter-length in front of Distinctive Code, the 8-5 second choice. Southern Tour and Calma Prado completed the order of finish. Raymond’s Dream was a late scratch.

“She broke good and took me into the race like we expected,” said Distinctive Code’s jockey Shane Sellers. “The track’s just not playing speed and that didn’t help us. She tried hard and she ran hard. That’s all you can ask is that they give you their best and she did. But you’ve got to give credit to the winner.”

This was the second time that Von Hemel and Pettinger teamed to win the Valid Expectations. Hollow Miss won the race in 1998 when it was known as the Wild Flower.

Elsewhere: Ed Few’s Front Nine was the three-length winner of the $50,000 Carter McGregor Jr. Memorial Stakes over Won C C. Jeremy Beasley rode the winner for trainer Tommie Morgan, who saddled Front Nine to victory in the Harold V. Goodman Memorial Sprint at Lone Star Park last summer. The Texas-bred son of Jules ran six furlongs in 1:09.00 and won for the sixth time in 22 starts and improved his earnings to $191,360…Hannah’s Royalrock, owned and bred by Keith Asmussen and trained by his son Steve Asmussen, was a half-length winner over Lauren Lynn in the $50,000 Valor Farm Stakes. She is the full-sister of 2001 Valor Farm Stakes winner Royal Roundabout. Hannah’s Royalrock, ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day, ran six furlongs in 1:10.53 en route to her fourth win in 10 starts. She has earned $163,938…Country music star Toby Keith presented the winning trophy of the USA Stakes and broadcasters Brent Musburger and Kevin Loughery, the former NBA player and coach, presented the winning hardware to the connections in the Carter McGregor Jr. Memorial Stakes…Lone Star Park’s main track was labeled as “good” through the fourth race and “fast” thereafter. The turf course was deemed “soft” after back-to-back days of overnight rain in the Dallas-Fort Worth area…Regionally-based horses won each of the seven stakes Monday. All but Louisiana-based Crowned King, the USA Stakes winner, are based and trained at Lone Star Park.

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