Game On Dude Meets 'Limit in Lone Star 'Cap

Game On Dude, trained by Bob Baffert, and Thiskyhasnolimit, from the Steve Asmussen barn, headline the $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap (gr. III), the featured event on the Memorial Day program May 30 at the Grand Prairie, Texas track.

Just five are entered in the 1 1/16-mile main track test at 1 1/16 miles, which is race 9 on the program with a 5:19 p.m. CDT scheduled start. Also on the 10-race card, which has a total of six stakes worth $1 million, are the $200,000 Ouija Board Stakes (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares at one mile on turf, the $200,000 Lone Star Derby pitting 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on grass, and the $150,000 Dallas Turf Cup Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.

The 6-5 morning line favorite, Game On Dude won the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) March 5 for owners Lanni Family Trust, Mercedes Stable, Diamond Pride, and Bernie Schiappa. The 4-year-old is seeking to become the first Lone Star Derby winner, which he won in 2010, to also win the Lone Star Park Handicap. 

The son of Awesome Again  has a race record of 4-2-0 in nine starts with $894,658 in earnings. The $165,000 winner’s share of the Lone Star Park Handicap would make Game On Dude racing’s newest millionaire. Martin Garcia, who piloted Game On Dude to victory in the 2010 Lone Star Derby, will be in for the ride.
“He’s doing really well,” said Baffert.  “He ran a big race in the Lone Star Derby last year and this looked like a good time to bring him back to Texas.”
Bob and Cathy Zollar and Mark Wagner’s Thiskyhasnolimit, conditioned by Lone Star Park’s all-time leading trainer, captured the Texas Mile (gr. III) on Lone Star Million Preview Day April 23. The 2-1 second choice is attempting to become the first horse to complete a sweep of the Texas Mile and Lone Star Park Handicap since Dixie Dot Com accomplished the feat in 2001. The 4-year-old son of Sky Mesa  owns a career record of 16-5-4-1 with $706,532 in earnings. Justin Shepherd, who was aboard for the victory in the Texas Mile has the return call.
“He’s a very good horse,” Asmussen said.  “He’s always been a good work horse and he’s been impressive in his preparation for Monday.”
Also with a solid chance in the Lone Star Park Handicap is Awesome Gem (5-2), a winner of seven of 42 career starts for $2,320,770 in earnings for trainer Craig Dollase, including the 2010 Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I).

In the Ouija Board Distaff, multiple graded stakes winner Wasted Tears will go for her third consecutive victory in the race as the odds-on favorite against six rivals.
Bred, owned and trained by Bart Evans, the 6-year-old bay daughter of Najran has won 11 of 18 career starts for $770,598 in earnings, including a perfect five-for-five racing over the Lone Star Park turf course. Wasted Tears is trying to become the first three-time winner in the Quija Board while making her first start of 2011. Jockey Julien Leparoux has the assignment.

“She’s run well after a layoff a bunch of times,” Evans said. “We gave her a few months off and now she’s back and really enjoying it.”

Sheer Beauty, trained by Bernard Flint, and Category Seven, trained by Kenneth Hargrave, may prove to be the toughest competition for Wasted Tears. Sheer Beauty (5-1) is a winner of five of 11 races, including the Irving Distaff over the Lone Star Park turf course April 23. Category Seven (4-1) has won 13 of 46 career starts for $437,227.

Scheduled as race 4, the Ouija Board Distaff has an approximate post time of 2:59 p.m. CDT.

Baffert is represented in the Lone Star Derby, which will be contested on grass for the first time since its inception in 1997, by Kaleem Shah's Uncle Sam.

A winner of two of four starts with earnings of $86,340, Uncle Sam will be making his first start over turf as a slight 5-2 choice in the field of nine sophomores. A gray son of Tapit , Uncle Sam has shown rapid improvement through his first four starts. 
“He’s a big, lanky horse and he’s kind of immature,” Baffert said. “He ran really well in his last start and we wanted to try him over turf and thought we’d go after a $200,000 purse.”
Baffert is seeking his fifth victory in the Lone Star Derby following Anet (1997), Wanna Runner (2006), Mythical Power (2009), and Game On Dude (2010).
Derby Kitten (3-1), owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, and trained by Michael Maker, won the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. III) over Polytrack at Keeneland April 23 before finishing 13th of 19 in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). The bay son of Kitten's Joy  has won two of 10 starts with $172,333 in earnings.

Scheduled as race 8, the Lone Star Derby has an approximate post time of 4:51 p.m. CDT.

Among the favorites for the Dallas Turf Cup is Millennium Farms and Mike McCarty’s multiple graded stakes winner Expansion, trained by Asmussen.

A 6-year-old bay son of Maria’s Mon, Expansion is looking to bounce back from a 12th-place finish in the Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs on the Kentucky Derby undercard. Expansion, 5-2 on the morning line, has won five of 28 starts with $551,924 in earnings, including a victory in the Fair Grounds Handicap (gr. IIIT) May 19.

“He didn’t run his race at Churchill Downs,” Asmussen said. “That’s the second time we’ve run him on that turf course and he just doesn’t seem to like. He’s a tough older horse and he’s been training well lately.”

Other contenders of note include the Maker-trained Dean's Kitten, the 7-5 morning line choice who has won three of 19 starts with $501,275 in earnings. The 4-year-old chestnut son of Kitten’s Joy won the Lane’s End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park as a 3-year-old before finishing 14th in the Kentucky Derby. 

Also in the field is Schramsberg (3-1), trained by Chris Hartman. A chestnut son of Storm Cat out the Hall of Fame race mare Serena’s Song, Schramsberg won the John B. Connally Turf Cup (gr. IIIT) at Sam Houston Race Park Jan. 29.  

Eight are entered in the Dallas Turf Cup, which is race 6 with a probable post time of 3:55 p.m. CDT.

Also on the program are the $75,000 Valid Expectations Stakes (race 5) for fillies and mares at six furlongs and the $75,000 Cinemine Stakes (race 7) for 3-year-old fillies over seven furlongs.

$200,000 Ouija Board Distaff Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 4, 2:59 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, ML Odds
1. Sheer Beauty (KY), C Landeros, 123, B S Flint, 5/1
2. Cherry Pink (KY), J Chacaltana, 116, N D Hatcher, 30/1
3. Category Seven (FL), R E Eramia, 116, K L Hargrave, 4/1
4. Wasted Tears (KY), J R Leparoux, 116, B B Evans, 4/5
5.  The Cat Who (TX), L S Quinonez, 116, S N Davidson, 12/1
6. Bella Diamante (KY), M C Berry, 116, A Milligan, 15/1
7. Slide On Bye (KY), B McNeil, 116, F Bravo, 8/1

$200,000 Lone Star Derby (Race 8, 4:51 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, ML Odds
1. Close Ally (KY), R Albarado, 122, N J Howard, 7/2
2. Aces N Kings (TX), E A Tejera, 122, C J Dodwell, 15/1
3. Rys Alley Cat (KY), B McNeil, 122, F Bravo, 30/1
4. Uncle Sam (KY), M Garcia, 122, B Baffert, 5/2
5. Thirtyfirststreet (CA), C Landeros, 122, D F O'Neill, 9/2
6. Derby Kitten (KY), J R Leparoux, 122, M J Maker, 3/1
7. Unbridled Sheriff (KY), L Wade, 122, S N Davidson, 30/1
8. Dreaminofthewin (KY), L S Quinonez, 122, C R Trout, 12/1
9. Awesome Bet (KY), G Melancon, 122, S M Asmussen, 15/1

$300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap (gr. III, Race 9, 5:19 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, ML Odds
1. Flat Out (FL), M C Berry, 115, C L Dickey, 15/1
2. Thiskyhasnolimit (KY), J Shepherd, 119, S M Asmussen, 2/1
3. Awesome Gem (KY), R Albarado, 118, C Dollase, 5/2
4. Game On Dude (KY), M Garcia, 123, B Baffert, 6/5
5. Lydia's Last Step (TX), B McNeil, 112, J R Caldwell, 20/1