|Baffert's Preachinatthebar Wins
Grade III, $300,000 Texas Mile at LSP
2006) - The Bob Baffert-trained Preachinatthebar took command
on the final turn in Saturday's Grade III, $300,000 Texas Mile at
Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas and held on to beat Stockholder
by a neck in front of 14,437 fans. Texcess was another neck back
"He's just a class horse and when he's on his game he's going
to give it to you," said winning rider Jon Court, who carried
122 pounds. "He comes to the races all business."
Preachinatthebar covered one mile on a surface rated "good"
in 1:36.81. He paid $6.80, $3.80 and $3 as the 2-1 second betting
choice. Stockholder returned $7.80 and $5.20. Texcess paid $3.20.
Yes He's a Pistol, the 2-1 favorite, finished seventh. "I had
a really good trip, just no horse," said Yes He's a Pistol's
jockey Garrett Gomez.
The win was the eighth in 23 lifetime starts for Preachinatthebar
and was worth $165,000, raising the 5-year-old's earnings to $638,240
for owner/breeder Mike Pegram.
This was the second Texas Mile win for Baffert and Pegram. They
took the inaugural running in 1997 when Isitingood upset champion
Winning a stakes race in Texas is nothing new to Baffert, Court
and Pegram. Baffert tallied his 11th Lone Star stakes victory and
fifth for Pegram. Meanwhile, California-based Court won five local
stakes a year ago and now boasts seven career Lone Star stakes wins.
"I always enjoy coming to Texas," Court said. "Some
of the horses I rode early in my career in Louisiana were Texas-breds
and I was winning stakes early on so it's always got a sentimental
touch, not only when I come here, but when I win here. So far it's
been great that way and hopefully it continues."
Preachinatthebar was caught five-wide into the first turn and moved
into contention as the field of 11 older horses entered the backstretch.
On the turn for home, the big gray fought four-wide between rivals
then battled determinedly in a prolonged drive under Court's urging.
"I was concerned with the outside (post No. 10 of 11) and,
no disrespect to the other horses in the race, but it looked like
a favorable strategy to follow the speed," Court said. "Just
as he's shown before, I wanted to give him some running room and
when he showed up at the end of the race be the one who had a head
"I kind of let him make the judgment call on [when to move].
Actually, I thought it was a little premature at the three-eighths
pole so I just tried to nurse him around the turn as quietly as
I could. Once they had all collared me within about a half-length
or three-quarters-of-a-length, I called on him just on the approach
to the three-sixteenths. I knew he had a good eight-of-a-mile kick
and he was enough to carry with that."
The victory capped a stellar Saturday for Baffert, the three-time
Kentucky Derby winning trainer who plans to start three horses in
the 132nd "Run for the Roses" next Saturday (Bob and John,
Point Determined and Sinister Minister). On opening day at Churchill
Downs, the famed white-haired trainer won the $100,000 Derby Trial
Earlier on the Lone Star program, jockey Quincy Hamilton rode the
winners of both undercard stakes races. Kip Deville led throughout
in the $75,000 Grand Prairie Turf Challenge and defeated favorite
Desert Wheat by four lengths. The 3-year-old ran one mile over a
"soft" turf course in 1:36.32 and paid $10, $4 and $3.
In the $50,000 JEH Stallion Station Stakes, Cookin's Cast got up
by a neck to defeat favorite Tizzy Girl in 1:18.55 for the 6 ½
furlongs. She paid $32.60, $13.20 and $7.40.
Attendance on Saturday, which doubled as "Dollar Day"
at Lone Star Park, was up 8.3% from the 13,329 that attended the
Texas Mile/Dollar Day program in 2005. It also was the highest Texas
Mile attendance since 2001 - the first year it was run on a separate
program as the Walmac Lone Star Derby.