Eighty-two Texas-breds were entered for Saturday's fifth annual Stars of Texas card at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Dual stakes winner Goosey Moose drew post position No. 6 in a field of seven and was made the mild 3-1 morning line favorite for the $125,000 Assault Stakes, the centerpiece of six stakes events on the 10-race program.
Top horses bred in the Lone Star state will be competing for $651,000 on the day. In addition to the Assault, there are two divisions of the Texas Stallion Stakes each worth $125,000 and run at 5 ½ furlongs – the Staunch Avenger Division for 2-year-old colts and geldings and the Pan Zareta Division for 2-year-old fillies. Also on the card are the $100,000 Allen Bogan Memorial for fillies and mares at one mile, the 6 ½-furlong Harold V. Goodman Memorial for 3-year-olds and the six-furlong Valor Farm for 3-year-old fillies.
The top three wagering choices for this year's 1 1/16-mile Assault are past winners. Goosey Moose is the defending champ, 8-year-old gelding Lights On Broadway won the race during his 2001 Texas Horse of the Year campaign and 7-year-old gelding Rare Cure posted a 10-1 upset two years ago.
Wilton Scott's Goosey Moose seeks his first victory since scoring back-to-back wins in the Assault and $100,000 Star of Texas at Sam Houston last fall. Last time out, the Danny Pish trainee finished third on turf in the $40,000 Gold Nugget Stakes on June 17. Roman Chapa has the call to ride.
The veteran Lights On Broadway, the 7-2 second wagering choice in post No. 4, appears to be rejuvenated since being claimed for $20,000 by owner Adam Lewis and trainer Chris Hartman in April. He dusted younger rivals in the $50,000 Carter McGregor Jr. Memorial Stakes, a 6 ½-furlong sprint in the slop on May 28.
Larry Dyson's Rare Cure landed post No. 2 was installed as the 4-1 third wagering choice. Two starts ago, the Joe Petalino trainee ran down Yessirgeneralsir in stakes record time (1:37.15 for one mile) to win the $50,000 Premiere Stakes on opening day in April. In a subsequent start against open company, he finished last of seven, but prepped for Saturday's race with a swift half-mile on Monday in :45 4/5, the fastest of 31 drills at the distance.
In last year's Assault won by Goosey Moose, Lights On Broadway was fourth and Rare Cure was seventh when it was run one week before the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships in October.
This year's Assault, the eighth edition, will be run as Saturday's ninth race at approximately 5:19 p.m. CT. $125,000 Assault, 3 & Up, Texas breds, 1 1/6 miles
PP. Horse (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds)
1. Agrivating General (Quincy Hamilton, Danny Pish, 5-1)
2. Rare Cure (Cliff Berry, Joe Petalino, 4-1)
3. Blinding Prospect (Jaime Theriot, Jim Hudson, 8-1)
4. Lights On Broadway (Justin Shepherd, Chris Hartman, 7-2)
5. Dixie Meister (Terry Stanton, Barry Germany, 12-1)
6. Goosey Moose (Roman Chapa, Danny Pish, 3-1)
7. Charming Socialite (Larry Taylor, Bill Pettit, 9-2).
Steve Asmussen, Lone Star's top conditioner with 55 wins through Monday, has three 2-year-old colts entered in the Staunch Avenger Division of the Texas Stallion Stakes. Bill and Corrine Heiligbrodt own two of them, Paltu and D Denton, who will run coupled as the 4-5 favorites. Asmussen, who won the race last year with Expect Will, also has Joint Session, a 20-1 longshot.
Asmussen has just one entrant in the Pan Zarata Division, but it's 2-1 morning line choice Covered in Clover, the 1 ¼-length winner of the $131,500 Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity on June 11. She'll attempt to give Asmussen his third win in four runnings of the race. He won the inaugural 2002 running with first-time starter Tiffany Jennifer ($60.80) and last year's renewal with favorite Berdelia ($6.20).
Grand Prairie native Bret Calhoun, 10 back of Asmussen in the trainer standings with 45 wins, has half the field in the Pan Zareta Division. His best shot might be with 5 ½-length maiden winner Dyna's Gold Legend, the 5-2 second wagering choice who'll break from the rail. Post Time Stables recently sold an interest in the Gold Legend
filly to prominent national outfit Team Valor.