Despite the long hours, significant time spent apart, and the challenges of being based in a state with a racing and breeding program that struggles to compete with its neighbors, the Keens would not trade their career choice or their location.
Texas stallion Unbridled's Heart, whose first foals are 2-year-olds this year, died June 8 from complications of colic at Lone Star Park Equine Hospital. The son of Unbridled's Song was 10.
On the 52nd day of Lone Star Park's 67-date spring Thoroughbred season, the powerful ownership team of Sandy and Jerry Heflin of Rockwall, Texas, and Ywachetta and James Driver of Irving, Texas, won two races Friday night to bring their season total to 28 -- a new single-season win record by an owner at the Grand Prairie racetrack.
California invader Supah Blitz highlights a field of six entered for Saturday's Texas Mile (gr. III) at Lone Star Park. The 5-year-old is looking to improve off his second-place finish in the 2004 edition of the race.
Yessirgeneralsir broke fast from the starting gate and never looked back, defeating Kentucky-based Sonic West by 2 ¼ lengths in the $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap (gr. III) on Memorial Day before 15,648 in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Valhol, confidently ridden by Robby Albarado, won Saturday night's running of the $100,000 MAXXAM Gold Cup at Sam Houston Park.
Fifty Stars is one of two Steve Asmussen trainees slated for the Gold Cup, while Dallas Keen and James Jackson try to replicate the 2000 win by Allen's Oop with Valhol.
James Jackson stood at the summit of Thoroughbred racing during the first Saturday in May in 1999 when his 3-year-old gelding Valhol started in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. However, his memory of the Run for the Roses and what occurred a few weeks before have finally spurred the 49-year-old Texan to retire from racing.
James Jackson's Valhol, previously best known for being the disqualified winner of the 1999 Arkansas Derby, successfully returned from a lengthy layoff to win the $75,000 Tenacious Handicap at Fair Grounds on Sunday.
Valhol finally got redemption and a stakes win the courts can't take away. In a much-maligned career that began at Fair Grounds less than two years ago, Valhol pranced to the winner's circle after a victory in the $75,000 Diplomat Way Handicap on Sunday. After a well documented win then disqualification in the 1999 Arkansas Derby in only his third career start, the strapping 5-year-old chestnut has been plagued by physical ailments
Valhol, who was disqualified from victory in the 1999 Arkansas Derby, won an allowance event at Delaware Park Tuesday in his first start since last summer.
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