Taptowne faces 8 in the Texas Mile.

Taptowne faces 8 in the Texas Mile.

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Taptowne Looks for Breakthrough in Texas Mile

Clovertowne Farm homebred part of strong field; race to be contested under lights.

Graded stakes-placed four times in the past year, Taptowne is eyeing a breakthrough win for trainer Tim Glyshaw in the $200,000 Texas Mile (gr. III) on the night of April 26 at Lone Star Park.

The Texas Mile, which attracted a field of nine older horses, will be contested under the lights for the first time Saturday. It is scheduled for a 9:51 p.m. CDT post. Taptowne and multiple stakes winner Grand Contender were each assigned top weight of 121 pounds, spotting their opponents two or four pounds apiece.

Clovertowne Farm Kentucky homebred Taptowne, a 6-year-old son of Tapit , made his seasonal debut March 15 with a third-place finish in the Razorback Handicap (gr. III) on a wet/fast track at Oaklawn Park. The multiple stakes winner's other efforts in graded company over the past 12 months include runner-up showings in the Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) at Churchill Downs, the Cornhusker Handicap (gr. III) at Prairie Meadows, and the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) in Arkansas.

The gray gelding, to be ridden from post 5 by Calvin Borel, has compiled a career mark of 7-7-4 in 30 races with earnings of $657,799.

Kentucky-bred Grand Contender, trained by Tom Amoss for owner Maggi Moss, hopes to transfer his strong recent Louisiana form to Texas. The front-running 6-year-old Strong Contender gelding was a gate-to-wire 6 3/4-length winner of the restricted Borgata Stakes on a sloppy Delta Downs oval March 15, following a good second to Bradester  in the Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III) Feb. 22 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

Grand Contender set a track mark at Delta Downs last November in winning the listed Delta Mile in 1:36.89. Richard Eramia takes the call from post 3.

Bourbon Courage , with a field-best $915,677 in earnings, can surpass $1 million with a win in the Texas Mile for Bourbon Lane Stable and Wayne Lynn. Fourth in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) in February, the 5-year-old Lion Heart horse was second in a high-priced allowance at Oaklawn March 15 for trainer Kellyn Gorder. Bourbon Courage has not won since taking the 2012 Super Derby (gr. II) at Louisiana Downs.

Though having lost 10 straight since then, the bay has four seconds and four thirds in that span, including placings in the 2012 Indiana Derby (gr. II) and Clark Handicap (gr. I), and the 2013 Donn, New Orleans Handicap (gr. II), and Alysheba Stakes (gr. III). Leandro Goncalves regains the mount for the first time since the 2012 Clark, when Bourbon Courage was beaten by one length by Shackleford .

New Mexico shipper Forest Mouse brings a three-race win streak into his Lone Star debut for trainer Henry Dominguez. The 6-year-old son of Teton Forest, owned by Shannon Purdom, has a sparkling record of 15 wins from 33 starts with 10 placings for earnings of $532,377. The multiple stakes winner worked five furlongs in :59 1/5 at Lone Star April 20 and will be teamed once more with Ry Eikleberry.

Trainer Steve Asmussen, who has won the Texas Mile twice in the past three years including Master Rick in 2013, is represented by Proud Strike. Runner-up in both of his starts this season against allowance company, Mike McCarty's 4-year-old Smart Strike colt is in search of his first stakes win.

Multiple stakes winner Stachys and stakes victors Skip the Pinot, Smack Ridge, and Texas Air make this an extremely strong renewal of the Texas Mile. The race was inaugurated in 1997 by Isitingood, who established a track mark of 1:34.44 that still stands.

The Texas Mile is the first leg of the Global Gaming Triple, to be followed by the Lone Star Park Handicap May 26 and the Governor’s Cup at Remington Park in August. The horse earning the most points based on finishes in the three races wins a bonus from Global Gaming, which owns both Lone Star and Remington.

$200,000 Texas Mile Stakes (gr. III, Race 8, 9:51 p.m.), 3 & Up
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Stachys (KY), L S Quinonez, 117, M E Biehler
2. Texas Air (TX), D Wood, 119, A Milligan
3. Grand Contender (KY), R E Eramia, 121, T M Amoss
4. Forest Mouse (KY), R Eikleberry, 119, H Dominguez
5. Taptowne (KY), C H Borel, 121, T Glyshaw
6. Bourbon Courage (KY), L R Goncalves, 117, K Gorder
7. Skip the Pinot (LA), R Chapa, 119, A Leggio Jr.
8. Smack Ridge (KY), G Murphy, 119, S J Buechler
9. Proud Strike (VA), M C Berry, 117, S M Asmussen