Sonic West Tackles Kela in Lone Star 'Cap

(from Lone Star report)
Sonic West, winner of the Razorback Handicap (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park, is the 3-1 morning line second choice in Monday's Lone Star Park Handicap (gr. III), the $300,000 feature race on a seven-stakes Lone Star Million program on Memorial Day .

"He traveled super," trainer Tom Van Berg said. "He's been doing tremendous, absolutely wonderful.

Texas Mile champ Kela, conditioned by Hollywood Park's leading trainer Mike Mitchell, is the 121-pound starting high weight in the 1 1/16-mile test for 3-year-olds and up. The 6-year-old son of Numerous will attempt to join Dixie Dot Com (2001) as the only horses to complete "The Texas Two-Step" – a sweep of Lone Star Park's two graded stakes for older horses worth $300,000 apiece.

Kela was made an early 6-5 favorite in the field of six based on his impressive 5 ¼-length Texas Mile romp in 1:35 3/5.

Van Berg worked Sonic West a quick four furlongs this week in preparation for the race. Yessirgeneralsir, who has the lead at the half-mile pole in all six of his races, figures to be the pacesetter, but Van Berg said he doesn't want to see Sonic West too far off the early speed.

"We've been planning on this spot for a long time," Van Berg said. "We might be able to step up to this kind of level and compete with some of the horses that are in the same area we are. We're not quite with the Medaglia d'Oros or Midway Roads or Southern Images, but we're in the next tier."

Van Berg said his main concern is Kela, whom the trainer thinks would be unbeatable with a repeat of his local debut in the first grade III event of the meeting last month.

"Kela's going to be tough," Van Berg offered. "Theoretically, you'd think he might bounce, but Mike [Mitchell] gave him a month off and I think that kind of reduced the chances of a bounce. If he runs back to that last race, I don't think anyone can compete with him. But if he came back to the field a little bit I think it could be very competitive. You have a lot of horses that'll give the fans a good race."

Willie Martinez, tied for ninth in the Churchill Downs jockey standings, will fly in Monday to ride Sonic West.

The field includes two other grade III winners, Maysville Slew and Spanish Empire, one grade I-placed horse (Saint Buddy) and one grade III-placed horse (Yessirgeneralsir). Together, the six horses have won 37 races, including 18 stakes, and $2,258,925 in 128 starts. Maysville Slew tops the field in earnings ($878,609) and stakes wins (nine).

$300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap (gr. III), 3 & up, 1 1/16 mile
PP. Horse (jockeys, weights and morning line odds)
1.Spanish Empire (Shane Sellers, 116 pounds, 4-1)
2. Sonic West (Willie Martinez, 117, 3-1)
3. Kela (David Nuesch, 121, 6-5)
4. Maysville Slew (Cliff Berry, 115, 20-1)
5. Saint Buddy (Tyler Baze, 115, 9-2)
6. Yessirgeneralsir (Omar Figueroa, 114, 10-1)

Three-time Grade II winner Katdogawn is the mild 3-1 early choice in the $200,000 WinStar Distaff (gr. IIIT) at one mile on turf, the second graded stakes race on the Texas Million card.

The deep dozen includes Janeian, who upset eight-time stakes champ Bedanken in the traditional WinStar prep, the $75,000 Irving Distaff on April 17. Another California invader, Super High, boasts six stakes wins and $669,668 in career earnings, tops in the field. Meanwhile, Louisiana-based five-time stakes champ Due To Win Again hasn't finished worse than third in her last six starts.

$200,000 WinStar Distaff Handicap (gr. IIIT), fillies & mares 3 & up, 1 mile on turf
1. Cherylville Slew (Berry, 115, 20-1)
2. Katdogawn (E.J. Perrodin, 120, 3-1)
3. Fudge Fatale (Tyler Baze, 116, 12-1)
4. Titia (Roman Chapa, 115, 20-1)
5. Breach of Promise (Jeremy Beasley, 112, 30-1)
6. Due To Win Again (Kirk LeBlanc, 118, 8-1)
7. Academic Angel (Shane Sellers, 115, 12-1)
8. Bedanken (Don Pettinger, 119, 7-2)
9. Cat's Cat (Ted Gondron, 114, 20-1)
10. Mexican Moonlight (Willie Martinez, 114, 12-1)
11. Janeian (Eddie Martin Jr., 119, 4-1)
12. Super High (David Nuesch, 116, 12-1)