Catherine Wills' and Peter Karches' Dynever has been installed as the 7/5 favorite for Saturday's $500,000 Lone Star Derby (gr. III) over nine furlongs. The son of Dynaformer is coming of an impressive win in the $250,000 Aventura Stakes at Gulfstream Park, and will face a dozen foes in the Lone Star contest.
Trainer Christophe Clement hopes to use the Lone Star Derby as a steppingstone to the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I). "The horse is doing great," said Clement, "and this is a good spot to try some more distance before we try a mile and a half. People say this is a fair track, not favoring just speed, and that is good for us."
James Vreeland's Mr. Technique ships in from the west coast and is the second choice on the morning line. The three-time stakes winner captured the $100,000 California Derby at Bay Meadows three weeks ago in the slop. Mr. Technique has bagged three wins from seven starts. Most Feared, a multiple-stakes winner a year ago, winds up here after a disappointing run in the Coolmore Lexington (gr. II) last out. He won the Arlington-Washington Futurity (gr. III) last year and was sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). Owner Tom Durant is thinking Belmont Stakes, but Most Feared will need a strong effort in Texas to take that step. "He got bumped around in the Coolmore," said Durant. "Other than that, we're kind of scratching our heads over that race."
The field for the Lone Star Derby, in post position order with riders (all carry 122 pounds):
1) Desert Spirit (Roman Chapa)
2) Gentlemen JJ (Bobby Walker Jr.)
3) Crowned King (Chandra Rennie)
4) Defrere's Vixen (Eddie Martin Jr.)
5) Dynever (Edgar Prado)
6) Grendel (Larry Melancon)
7) Leo's Last Hurrahy (Kevin Cogburn)
8) Most Feared (Shane Sellers)
9) Crowned Dancer (E.J. Perrodin)
10)Mr. Technique (Roberto Gonzalez)
11)Commander's Affair (Gerard Melancon)
12) Mauk Four (Jamie Theriot)