The Bob Baffert-trained Wanna Runner, winner of last month's WinStar Derby, drew the inside rail and was installed as the 7-5 morning line favorite for Saturday's $300,000 Walmac Lone Star Derby (gr. III) at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.
The 1 1/16-mile event lured a field of six that also features Red Raymond, who hoped to run in the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) but lacked the necessary graded earnings to make the field after finishing behind Bob Holthus' stablemate Lawyer Ron in three Oaklawn Park stakes.
Baffert and owner Mike Pegram are looking to replicate the success they had at Lone Star Park last month when they won the season's first graded stakes race, the Texas Mile (gr. III), with Preachinatthebar. A regular participant on Lone Star's big days since winning the inaugural Texas Mile and Lone Star Derby in 1997, Baffert would earn his 12th local stakes victory if the Ontario-bred Wanna Runner gets the job done.
Baffert said that he's pointing to Canada's $1 million Queen's Plate on June 25 with Wanna Runner.
Victor Espinoza, third on the national earnings list with $5 million, has the mount on Wanna Runner.
Even without drawing into the Kentucky Derby last week, Red Raymond's reputation was enhanced by the result. That's because Steppenwolfer, a colt that Red Raymond defeated in the Rebel Stakes (gr. III) in March, went on to run third in the Run for the Roses. "We brought him to Kentucky and he's trained very well," Holthus said. "He's had two good works at Churchill Downs and we were pleased." Red Raymond is 7-2 on the morning line.
Steve Asmussen, the all-time leader with 47 Lone Star stakes wins, will run two horses. Admiral's Arch, a Florida-bred son of High Yield
, has been pointing to this race since an impressive win in the $100,000 Northern Spur Breeders' Cup at Oaklawn in April. Rain On Monday, a recent acquisition, was second in the Citgo Stakes for Texas-bred sprinters at Sam Houston last month.
The Lone Star Derby field is rounded out by Mr. Pursuit, third in the Northern Spur, and Wait In Line, second in the Borderland Derby at Sunland Park and third in last month's Grand Prairie Turf Challenge at Lone Star.Walmac Lone Star Derby (gr. III, Race 8, 4:51 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, ML Odds
1. Wanna Runner (ON), Victor Espinoza, 7/5
2. Rain On Monday (TX), Roman Chapa, 10/1
3. Admiral's Arch (FL), Shaun Bridgmohan, 5/2
4. Red Raymond (KY), Luis S. Quinonez, 7/2
5. Wait in Line (FL), Alfredo J. Juarez, Jr., 15/1
6. Mr. Pursuit (KY), Jamie Theriot, 6/1Each assigned 122 pounds.