Endorsement, on the comeback trail for trainer Eoin Harty, makes his first stakes appearance in more than two years in the $200,000 Texas Mile (gr. III) at Lone Star Park April 28.
Now owned by Casner Racing, Endorsement is coming off a sharp front-running victory by 2 1/4 lengths at Gulfstream Park Feb. 1 in a 1 1/16-mile allowance/optional claiming race. It was the third start of the Gulfstream meet for the 5-year-old son of Distorted Humor , who posted a pair of runner-up finishes previously.
Before launching his comeback at Gulfstream last December, Endorsement had been out of action since a three-length victory in the Sunland Derby (gr. III) in March 2010 when owned by WinStar Farm.
Expected to start in the 2010 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Endorsement sustained a non-displaced right front condylar fracture in a workout at Churchill Downs the week before the race. The chestnut was trained at the time by Shannon Ritter.
Endorsement shipped to Lone Star from Keeneland, where he worked twice over Polytrack earlier this month after transferring from his winter base at Palm Meadows Training Center.
Robby Albarado has drawn the riding assignment for the Texas Mile. They will break from post 3 under 117 pounds. Albarado and Endorsement have been teamed once previously -- in the Sunland Derby.
Bred in Kentucky by Kilroy Thoroughbred Partnership, Endorsement brings a 3-3-0 record in seven starts to the Texas Mile with earnings of $475,833. Endorsement, making his first appearance at Lone Star, races without Lasix.
The Texas Mile, the first graded stakes of the Lone Star Park season, attracted a field of 10. It is the eighth race on the program with a 4:51 CDT post.
Clarence Scharbauer Jr.'s homebred Coyote Legend is the 121-pound high weight. He was most recently second after setting the pace in the Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston Race Park March 1. The Texas-bred 5-year-old by Gold Legend, trained by Bret Calhoun, won the restricted Star of Texas Stakes at 1 1/16 miles in front-running fashion by 2 1/4 lengths in January.
The consistent gelding has finished in the money in 20 of 23 lifetime starts, winning 12. He leads the field in earnings with $529,302. Coyote Legend, who has five wins in 10 starts at Lone Star, drew post 9 and Cliff Berry has the call.
Shipping in from Southern California for trainer Ron Ellis is Jay Em Ess Stable's Canonize. The 6-year-old son of Aldebaran won the Santana Mile as the favorite by a half-length over Gladding in his most recent start March 18 over a "good" Santa Anita main track. That was the first try at the distance for Canonize, a five-time winner in 13 races. Victor Espinoza comes in from California to ride.
Hurricane Ike, winner of the 2010 The Cliff's Edge Derby Trial (gr. III), began his 2012 campaign with a runner-up finish in an optional claimer at Keeneland going seven furlongs April 7. Formerly based in Southern California with John Sadler, the 5-year-old son of Graeme Hall now races for Jeff Thornbury, who trains him for Ike and Dawn Thrash.
Lydia's Last Step won Lone Star's Premiere Stakes one year ago and has a pair of victories over the track for trainer J.R. Caldwell. In his only start since last September, the Texas-bred 5-year-old finished a distant sixth in the six-furlong Hot Springs Stakes at Oaklawn Park March 24.
Trainer Steve Asmussen, who won last year's Texas Mile for the first time with Thiskyhasnolimit, returns with Omniscient. The 6-year-old by Pulpit won an optional claimer at Oaklawn in February before finishing fifth in the Maxxam Gold Cup.
$200,000 Texas Mile Stakes (gr. III, Race 8, 4:51 p.m.), 3 & Up
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Lydia's Last Step (TX), B McNeil, 117, J R Caldwell
2. Fifteen Love (KY), J Chacaltana, 117, J Torrez
3. Endorsement (KY), R Albarado, 117, E G Harty
4. Get in Da House (LA), D E Simington, 119, W E Hawley
5. Oak Motte (TX), L Wade, 117, D Pish
6. Moonshine Mullin (KY), L S Quinonez, 119, D K Von Hemel
7. Hurricane Ike (FL), J Graham, 119, J D Thornbury
8. Canonize (KY), V Espinoza, 119, R W Ellis
9. Coyote Legend (TX), M C Berry, 121, W B Calhoun
10. Omniscient (KY), R Chapa, 117, S M Asmussen