|Rare Cure Wins $75,000 Bob Johnson
at Lone Star Park
(July 3, 2004) - Six-year-old
Texas-bred Rare Cure collected his fifth career stakes win with
a determined neck victory over odds-on favorite Pie N Burger in
Saturday's $75,000 Bob Johnson Memorial Stakes in front of an estimated
crowd of 19,000 at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Owned and bred by Larry Dyson of Bonham, Texas, Rare Cure ran one
mile in 1:36.18 and paid $21 to win in the field of six older horses.
Leading jockey Eddie Martin Jr. rode the winner for trainer Joe
Petalino. It was Martin's sixth stakes victory of Lone Star Park's
meeting, tops among the riding colony.
The victory was Rare Cure's first since capturing the $100,000
Assault Stakes at Lone Star Park in June 2003. Other career stakes
wins include the $50,000 Prelude Stakes at Louisiana Downs and $75,000
Governor's Cup at Remington Park in 2001 and the $100,000 Texas
Hall of Fame Stakes at Retama Park in 2002.
"I thought he'd go south by now, but he's awfully good right
now," Petalino said. "He's getting better."
Martin, who declined to comment after the race, settled Rare Cure
off the pace midway through the first turn after breaking alertly
from the rail. Rare Cure moved off the rail entering the backstretch
and settled on the outside of pacesetters Won C C, Guaranteed Sweep,
Pie N Burger and Kool Humor.
The first quarter-mile was run in :24.03 and the half-mile was
clocked at :47.45. Rare Cure ranged up three-wide on the far turn,
made a bid passing the quarter pole and took a short lead at the
head of the stretch. The gelded son of Rare Brick maintained that
lead in the final furlong and held gamely under vigorous handling
Pie N Burger, the defending Bob Johnson champ and heavy 2-5 favorite,
just missed after contesting the pace throughout.
"He was a little wide about halfway around the first turn,
but after that I was able to get him over and save a little ground,"
said Pie N Burger's jockey Guy Smith. "Then he just kind of
toted me up to the lead. He was up there nice and easy. He fired
down the lane, but I'm not sure that was his best race. He ran hard
and he tried hard. We just ended up second."
Pie N Burger was a half-length in front of a fast-closing Lights
On Broadway. Guaranteed Sweep, Won C C and Kool Humor completed
the order of finish.
Saturday's triumph was worth $40,000 to Rare Cure. Overall, he
has amassed $410,450 through 10 wins, nine seconds and four thirds
in 46 starts.
It was the third time that Rare Cure had tried to defeat open company
in the Bob Johnson, which honors the late member of the Texas House
of Representatives who helped legalize pari-mutuel wagering on horse
races in Texas through legislation in 1986. Rare Cure finished last
in his previous two tries: eighth in 2002 and sixth a year ago.
In his previous start, Petalino opted to remove blinkers, or headwear
for the occasionally distracted horse, for the first time in 42
starts. Rare Cure finished second that day, June 17, in a 7 ½-furlong
allowance on turf.
"Taking those blinkers off might not have been a bad deal,"
Petalino said. "When horses would get around him he was getting
really intimidated but now he can see a little more, I think."
Rare Cure also returned to the dirt after three straight tries
"I think the first time back [on dirt], he runs better,"
Petalino said. "I think he's a better grass horse now, but
first time off the grass he always seems better."