Multiple graded stakes winner Beau's Town smashed Lone Star Park's six-furlong track record Saturday with a 1 ¼-length triumph over stablemate and defending champ That Tat in the $75,000 Ford Express Stakes. The victory came before 20,683 fans at the Grand Prairie, Texas racetrack.Beau's Town, winner of this race two years ago, stopped the clock in 1:07.89 – the first sub 1:08 three-quarter mile sprint in track history. The old standard was 1:08.06 by Triple Card in the 2001 Carter McGregor Jr. Memorial Stakes.The top two finishers are both trained by Lone Star Park's leading trainer Cole Norman.
Beau's Town, a 6-year-old Beau Genius gelding ridden by Eddie Martin Jr., had to survive a steward's inquiry for possible interference with the runner-up inside the final sixteenth of a mile. "It was clear as daylight he cut in front of me," said That Tat's jockey Roman Chapa. "I didn't bother That Tat. I was clear of him," countered Martin. Texas Racing Commission stewards ruled that even though Beau's Town drifted out in the stretch, it did not cost That Tat a placing in the order of finish.Beau's Town, who broke from the outside post in the field of six older horses, zipped to the front early through blazing fractions of :21.20 for the first-quarter mile and an eye-popping :42.99 for the half and :54.96 for five-eighths. The five-furlong track record is :56.25.From the outside, Beau's Town dueled with Gold Storm and Grand Steal, edged clear at the quarter pole and held gamely under strong handling from Martin. "He was waiting on horses," said Martin, who tacked 118 pounds. "I think when they came to him, he gave me another gear. [Both Beau's Town and That Tat] went pretty fast. I went to the lead and kept on trucking."Beau's Town, who paid $4.80 to win as the 7-5 favorite, won for the 11th time in 17 career starts. The $45,000 winner's share of the purse boosted his career earnings to $548,900 for owner Dave Hulkewicz of Irving.That Tat, who would have equaled the track record, finished 4 ¼ lengths in front of third place finisher Gold Storm. The Ford Express was Beau's Town's second start since he underwent surgery to remove an ankle chip last fall. The injury, which occurred while eighth and last in the Phoenix Breeders' Cup at Keeneland in October, prevented him from starting in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I). Prior to that, his 2003 stakes wins included the Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar and the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park.For Norman, it was his third straight Ford Express triumph. (Chart, Equibase)