(Edited Lone Star Park release)
Bob and John, the 2006 Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner will make his first start in 238 days as the 6-5 morning line favorite in Saturday's grade III, $300,000 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.
The one-mile race for 3-year-olds and up is the richest horse race in North America this weekend and one of four stakes races on Lone Star Park's 11-race card, billed as Lone Star Million Preview Day. Each stakes event is a prelude to the ninth annual Lone Star Million on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28.
Bob and John, the $701,330-earner conditioned by three-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert, arrived at Lone Star Park at 11 a.m. Thursday following a flight from Southern California, and was bedded down in stall 37 at trainer Bret Calhoun's Barn D1. The colt hasn't raced since finishing second to Cindago in the $106,300 El Cajon Stakes at Del Mar on Labor Day weekend, nearly eight months ago.
"He's ready," said Baffert, a 12-time Lone Star Park stakes winner, including two Texas Miles (the inaugural 1997 edition with Isitingood and last year's renewal with Preachinatthebar). "I thought this would be a logical spot to bring him back because he's been training well and he ships extremely well."
Bob and John is campaigned by Houston Texans owners Bob and Janice McNair, who race their horses as Stonerside Stable. Baffert and Stonerside racing manager John Adger will be in attendance Saturday, while the McNairs tend to this weekend's NFL Draft (the Texans have the 10th overall pick). "Bob has HRTV in his office at Reliant Stadium, so I'm sure he'll try to squeeze the race in if he can," Adger said.
Five years ago, Baffert and the McNairs brought another Wood Memorial champ to Lone Star Park for his 4-year-old debut when Congaree prevailed in the 2002 Lone Star Park Handicap under Pat Day. On Saturday, Santa Anita riding champ Victor Espinoza, a three-time Lone Star Park stakes winner, has the call on Bob and John.
Bob and John will be tested by Silent Pleasure, who has won three consecutive stakes by open lengths for Louisiana-based trainer Howard Scarberry. The 4-year-old colt won back-to-back stakes at Delta Downs - the $73,500 Delta Mile by seven lengths and the $97,000 Gulf Coast Classic Stakes by 2 ¼ -- before traveling to Oaklawn Park for a two-length score in the $100,000 Fifth Season Stakes on April 12.
Also entered is the Steve Asmussen-trained Stockholder, the two-time stakes winner who was beaten only a neck by Preachinatthebar in last year's Texas Mile, and Wait in Line, an impressive 2 ¾-length winner of a conditioned allowance at Lone Star Park two weeks ago for trainer Chris Hartman. Last year, Wait in Line hit the board in three local stakes, including a runner-up effort to Wanna Runner in the grade III Lone Star Derby.
Dreamsandvisions also will give the Texas Mile a go. The 5-year-old gelding was a two-length winner of the seven-furlong Spring Stakes at Sam Houston on March 17 - his fifth career stakes victory for Bloomberg, Texas residents Steven and Sandra Duke, who purchased the horse as a 2-year-old for just $2,500. In his only Lone Star Park appearance, Dreamsandvisions rallied to win last summer's $75,000 Assault Stakes by 2 ¾ lengths on Stars of Texas Day.
The field is rounded out by Ernest Jeanmard's 50-1 longshot maiden Ramachi Six, who hails from the David Beck barn. Louisiana-based Beck, a 30-year-old who has never saddled a horse into a top three position in 24 career starts as a trainer, also entered Jeanmard's first-time starter, 3-year-old filly One Quick Chick, in the Richland Hills Stakes. They will be Beck's first starters since 2001.
The complete field for the Texas Mile:
1. Ramachi Six, Patrick Boxie, 116, 50-1)
2. Dreamsandvisions, John Jacinto, 118, 12-1
3. Silent Pleasure, Tracy Hebert, , 120, 9-5
4. Wait in Line, Glen Murphy, 116, 8-1
5. Bob and John, Victor Espinoza, 118, 6-5
6. Stockholder, Luis Quinonez, 118, 4-1