This may be the 10th running of the grade III, $300,000 Texas Mile, but it feels like the first time. Trainer Bob Baffert is coming to Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie for Saturday's marquee event with a speedy Mike Pegram horse; the next week he'll be in Louisville, Ky., preparing to take the Kentucky Derby by storm. After Baffert upset the inaugural Texas Mile in late April of 1997 with Isitingood, the trainer went on to nab his first of three Kentucky Derby triumphs a few weeks later with Silver Charm.This year Baffert invades the Texas Mile with Pegram's homebred Preachinatthebar, the 3-1 second choice on the morning line. The gray son of none other than Silver Charm could be a good omen for the trainer with three colts pointing to the following Saturday's 132nd Run for the Roses. The Texas Mile lured its largest field ever when 11 older horses, including six based outside the Southwest region, were entered Thursday morning.The 5-2 morning line favorite Yes He's a Pistol, one of three California invaders, drew post position No. 8 and will be ridden by Garrett Gomez, who tops the nation in money won with more than $4.6 million this year. Trainer Doug O'Neill is the leading conditioner in Southern California by wins and earnings.The other Southern California shippers represent the one-two finishers from Santa Anita's grade III Tokyo City Handicap on April 1. Winner Preachinatthebar finished behind Yes He's a Pistol in the previous month's Santana Mile Handicap at Santa Anita Park. The Tokyo City runner-up, Texcess, comes from the barn of Mike Mitchell, who won this race with Kela in 2004.In from South Florida are Halos Sailing Sain, second to grade I winner Bandini in a Gulfstream Park allowance race two starts ago, and Ellis Park stakes winner Nakayama Kun from the Akiko Gothard barn.The field also lured a horse with international intrigue. Dominguin, trained by Dante Zanelli Jr., won his first five starts in his native Peru by a combined 52 ¼ lengths before finishing fifth in the grade II, $2 million UAE Derby at Dubai's Nad Al Sheeba five weeks ago.
Regionally based threats include defending Texas Mile champ High Strike Zone, kingpin trainer Steve Asmussen's Oaklawn Park allowance winner Stockholder, six-time stakes winner Charming Socialite, dominant Sunland Park Handicap winner Mr. Trieste and four-length Sam Houston allowance winner Play the Chime.
Gates open at 11:30 a.m. Saturday with first post set for 1:35 p.m. The 10th running of the Texas Mile will be run as the 10th race at 5:47 p.m. CT. Field for the grade III, $300,000 Texas Mile, for older horses at one mile, from the rail out, with jockey and morning line odds:
1--Nakayama Kun, Rafael Mojica Jr., 20-1
2--Play the Chime, Larry Taylor, 30-1
3--Mr. Trieste, Ken Tohill, 15-1
4--Charming Socialite, Terry Stanton, 20-1
5--High Strike Zone, Ricky Faul, 12-1
6 -- Dominguin, Roman Chapa, 15-1
7 -- Texcess, Cliff Berry, 4-1
8--Yes He's a Pistol, Garrett Gomez, 5-2
9 -- Stockholder, Luis Quinonez, 6-1)
10 -- Preachinatthebar, Jon Court, 3-1
11--Halos Sailing Sain, Joe Bravo, 10-1