Rare Cure Wheels Back to Win $100,000 Assault Stakes

(June 28, 2003)- One week after finishing eighth of 10 in the $250,000 Dallas Turf Cup, multiple stakes winner Rare Cure wheeled back to win Saturday’s $100,000 Assault Stakes by three-quarters of a length over Agrivating General in front of 8,386 fans at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.

The Assault was one of six stakes races which comprised the North Texas racetrack’s third annual Stars of Texas Day, a mid-season championship for horses bred in Texas totaling $522,500 in prize money. Earlier on the program, Eagle Lake collected her second straight win in the $75,000 Allen Bogan Memorial, There Goes Rocket and Hay Lauren won divisions of the $122,500 Texas Stallion Stakes and Herve narrowly edged Call Me Lefty in the $50,000 Harold V. Goodman Memorial Stakes. Also, Expectacat won the Texas Stallion Consolation Stakes.

Rare Cure, winner of the Prelude Stakes at Louisiana Downs and Governor’s Cup Handicap at Remington Park in 2001, collected his first stakes since winning the $100,000 Star of Texas at Sam Houston Race Park last November. It was the 5-year-old gelding’s ninth win overall in 35 starts and his earnings soared to $338,570 with the $60,000 winner’s share of the purse.

Just last week, Rare Cure was beaten 13 lengths by Patrol in the 1 1/8-mile Dallas Turf Cup against open company. But after keenly observing the son of Rare Brick throughout the week, trainer Joe Petalino and owner/breeder Larry Dyson decided to enter back their star runner against state-breds in the Assault.

“Some people questioned us running back that fast, but in the Dallas Turf Cup he just didn’t fire at all,” explained Dyson, a resident of Bonham, Texas. “We’re real proud of the horse and proud of the job that Joe Petalino did getting him ready this quick. The next two mornings [after the Dallas Turf Cup], he was just bucking and kicking like he never had a race. Joe looked at him all week and said that he thought he was feeling good. He said, ‘Let’s try it,’ and so can see the result.”

Rare Cure, the longest shot in the field of seven older Texas-breds at odds of 10-1, was ridden by E.J. Perrodin, the veteran Louisiana native who also rode There Goes Rocket to victory in the colts and geldings division of the Texas Stallion Stakes.

“My instructions were to bust him away from [the starting gate] and tap him a couple of times to get him running and into the race,” Perrodin said. “I did that and [the leaders] started to go faster than I wanted to go, so I just tucked behind them.”

Rare Cure sat in third behind Lights On Broadway, the 2001 Texas-bred Horse of the Year, and Desert Darby, the defending Assault champ, during the early stages of the race through fractions of :23.86 and :47.20. With three-eighths of mile to run, Perrodin couldn’t wait any longer and asked Rare Cure for his winning move.

“Corey [Lanerie on Desert Darby] came to the outside, so I just swung my horse out there, too, because that’s where he wants to be: out there and free,” Perrodin said. “I wanted to go up there and test Corey because he [was on one of the favorites] and I wanted to see what would happen when he cut his horse loose. When he did, I was just sitting pretty.”

Rare Cure pulled clear in upper stretch and held well under Perrodin’s strong right-handed urging to win by three-quarters of a length. Agrivating General, who rallied to get second as the 2-1 second wagering choice, was 2 ¾ lengths clear of third place finisher Desert Darby.

Lights On Broadway, 2-1 favorite Term Sheet, Crook and Danke Schoen completed the order of finish.

There Goes Rocket Rolls in $122,500 Texas Stallion Stakes

There Goes Rocket raced greenly in the early stages but closed well to get up in the final strides of the $122,500 colts and geldings division of the Texas Stallion Stakes. It was just the second start for the son of Valid Expectations, who circled a 10-horse field in a remarkable maiden win two weeks ago.

Trained by Sam David Jr. and ridden by E.J. Perrodin, Hay Lauren prevailed by a half-length over Iron Expectations, who was part of an odds-on entry with third-place finisher Trickey Jones.

The final time of 1:04.37 was the fastest in the short history of this race for progeny of nominated Texas-based stallions.

For the second straight start, There Goes Rocket was in no hurry early on.

“He doesn’t have a real quick turn of foot so I wasn’t too concerned,” David said. “I was a little concerned mid-turn when E.J. [Perrodin] started asking him to run. I could see he was responding and picking them up, but he still had a lot of work to do from there.”

At the top of the stretch, There Goes Rocket was well behind the early leaders but started to find his best stride.

“As far as running style, he doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing yet,” Perrodin said. “That’s why I kept him in the clear. I tried to pull him down and they started getting away from me. I said I would lose that little bit of ground, but at least I’ll keep my momentum going.”

There Goes Rocket began picking up horses and was moving well on the outside through the length of the stretch.

“It was a long drive but nobody gave up,” David said. “Those other horses fought us and it was a good horse race.”

The winner rewarded his backers with a $14.60 return on a $2 investment. The $73,500 first-place share raised There Goes Rocket’s earnings to $137,500 for owner Frank Fletcher of North Little Rock, Ark.

Iron Expectations, the more highly regarded half of the favored Steve Asmussen-trained entry, grabbed the lead at the one-sixteenth pole but could not hold off the winner’s late charge. It was two lengths back to Trickey Jones in third. Because of the entry, exotic wagers were completed by longshots R.C. Slocum in fourth and Texmckay in fifth. The remaining order of finish consisted of Danzig in the Dark, East Texas Red, Koran, Built to Last, Uno Cuatro and Canadian River. Anjo’s Legend was a late scratch.

There Goes Rocket will probably point to the El Joven Stakes at Retama Park in August. In the meantime, trainer and jockey both feel the colt has plenty of room to mature.

“He’s got a lot of play to him and isn’t really focused yet,” David said. “But once he learns how to run I think we’ll have a real nice horse.”

“He’s winning because he’s got that pedigree in him and the heart to make him do what he did,” Perrodin added. “The colt’s running so green, we don’t really know how good he could be.”

Hay Lauren Wins Fillies Division of $122,500 Texas Stallion Stakes

Hay Lauren, runner-up in the rich TTA Sales Futurity three weeks ago, rolled down the Lone Star Park stretch impressively Saturday to collect her first stakes win in the fillies division of the $122,500 Texas Stallion Stakes. Trained by Barry Germany and ridden by leading rider Eddie Martin Jr., Hay Lauren defeated Clever Melody by two lengths and clocked 5 ½ furlongs in 1:04.89.

Hay Lauren, owned and bred by Ro Parra of Austin, Texas, was allowed to settle into stride early on, then launched her rally midway through the turn for home and closed strongly to win going away for her third victory in four starts.

“She broke well,” Martin said. “I let her settle in. The speed started to get away from me a little bit at the half-mile pole, so I had to gather her up and ask her for a little bit more. She responded well.”

It’s been a good week for Martin, who seeks his first riding title at Lone Star Park (he leads Corey Lanerie 72 wins to 68). One week after competing in the NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship, the 40-year-old native of New Orleans collected his 2,500th career win at Louisiana Downs aboard Go West Again on Friday afternoon. On Saturday, he added two stakes wins, giving him a share of Marlon St. Julien’s 1997 track record of seven stakes triumphs during a single Lone Star Park meeting.

Hay Lauren, a daughter of Hay Halo, earned $73,500 for the win and increased her earnings to $119,140.

“I was very, very pleased,” Germany said. “I think the big thing about it is that it looks like she’s going to want to go on a little further [in distance], which just makes her so much better.”

Germany and Parra will look at entering Hay Lauren in the Friendship Stakes at Louisiana Downs and La Senorita at Retama Park later this year.

“She’s pretty good,” Germany said. “At this stage of the game, it’s really hard to say how good. Having My Meggie Meg and Cheryl P., she’s right up there with them. She could be as good or possibly better.”

Eagle Lake Wins Again; Leads Allen Bogan Field Wire-to-Wire

The Cole Norman-trained Eagle Lake continued her winning ways with a convincing 3 ¾-length victory over defending champ Coastalota in the $75,000 Allen Bogan Memorial Stakes. Like she did a month earlier in the Grade III, $200,000 WinStar Distaff, Eagle Lake controlled the one-mile race from the start and led every step of the way en route to her second straight stakes win.

“She’s awesome,” Norman said. “This filly is good to train and good to be around. I just wish I had 10 more like her.”

Overall, it was Eagle Lake’s 12th win in 38 starts. The $45,000 winner’s share of the purse pushed her bankroll over the $400,000 mark to $436,143 for owner Mark Cornett’s partnership Turf Express Inc.

Eagle Lake, under jockey Gerard Melancon, was sent straight to the lead and clicked off fractions of :23.78, :46.56, 1:10.57 and 1:23.36 before stopping the timer in 1:36.74.

“She left [the starting gate] so good,” said Melancon, who also won the Harold V. Goodman aboard Herve. “She’s really good on the dirt, but she’s a much better turf horse. She relaxes a whole lot better on the turf.”

Eagle Lake returned to the main track after winning the WinStar Distaff at one-mile on turf by 2 ¼ lengths on Memorial Day at odds of 8-1. On Saturday, she paid $3.80 to win as the 4-5 favorite.

Coastalota, the 2002 Texas Champion Older Filly/Mare after a win in this race a year ago, headed Halo Tyra for second.

“I got no excuses,” Coastalota’s trainer Randy Mayfield said. “A better horse just beat me today. Down the road, they’ll meet again.”

“Other” Horse Nerve Narrowly Wins Harold V. Goodman Memorial

Herve, the less accomplished half of an Andrew Konkoly-trained entry, narrowly defeated Call Me Lefty by a nose to win the $50,000 Harold V. Goodman Memorial Stakes. Ridden by Gerard Melancon, the 3-year-old Naevus gelding settled off the early pace, rallied along the far turn and closed steadily to get up at the wire in 1:10.27 for six furlongs. The filly Hannah’s Royalrock closed late to run third. Herve’s stablemate, Czech Mate, battled for the early lead and finished fourth in the field of six 3-year-old Texas-breds.

“I thought [Call Me Lefty] and a Czech Mate were the horses to beat,” Melancon said. “When [Call Me Lefty] sprinted away from my entry mate, I was concerned about getting to him. But he ran big and got to him at the right time. [Call Me Lefty] had those big blinkers and I don’t think he saw us until we got to the wire. The other horse came back on, but we timed it just right.”

“Czech Mate went to the front and caught a little extra speed there and that maybe hurt him a little bit,” Konkoly said of the :21.81 and :44.41 quarter- and half-mile splits. “But we knew Herve would come off the pace and pick up the pieces.”

Herve paid $5 to win as the 3-2 favored entry. Owned by Anjo Racing Inc. of Houston, he won for the third time in nine starts and boosted his career earnings to $59,170, thanks to the $30,000 winner’s share of the purse.

Trainer Steve Asmussen was pleased with the third-place finish by Hannah’s Royalrock, calling her run “awesome against these kind,” and said that she would be shipped to New York for an allowance race against her own sex at Saratoga.

Expectacat Wins Texas Stallion Consolation Stakes

Expectacat, owned by Bob and Janice McNair’s Stonerside Stable, won the $52,500 Texas Stallion Consolation Stakes by 1 ¾ lengths over Tizzy Boy. The Valid Expectations colt, trained by Michael Stidham and ridden by Eddie Martin Jr., covered 5 ½ furlongs in 1:05.56. It was the 2-year-old’s first win in three starts. He paid $3 to win as the odds-on 1-2 favorite in the field of seven 2-year-olds.

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