News and Notes for May 4, 2018

Texas has two connections running in the $1-million Kentucky Oaks today, starting with Craig Upham’s homebred Patrona Margarita (Special Rate – Margarita Mistress) in post position 12.   Patrona Margarita kicked off the Road to the Kentucky Oaks with a 3 ¾-length upset victory in the September 17 Pocahontas (G2) at Churchill Downs. The filly returned as a 3-year-old with a fourth-place effort in the Feb. 17 Rachel Alexandra (G2) at Fair Grounds prior to her third in the April 7 Ashland (G1) at Keeneland. The half-sister to two-time Texas Horse of the Year Texas Chrome is trained by Bret Calhoun and has odds of 30-1.

Calhoun will also saddle Kentucky-bred Classy Act for fellow Texan Carl Moore.  She has odds of 15-1.

Steve Asmussen will send out Mia Mischief in the $200,000 Eight Belles S., owned by a partnership including Bill & Corinne Heiligbrodt of Houston, and Hence in the $400,000 Alysheba Stakes for Calumet Farm.

Restless Rambler will compete in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint S.   He is trained by B. S. Flint and is owned by a partnership including Miles Childers of Amarillo.

Calhoun and Moore team up again on Saturday, with Finley’sluckycharm in the $300,000 Humana Distaff S. 

In the $500,000 Churchill Downs S., Calhoun will saddle Awesome Saturday for owner Chuck Hovitz.  Also in the race is Chief Cicatriz, bred and owned by Roy Gene Evans of Dallas.

Running in the $300,000 Pat Day Mile S. is New York Central, trained by Steve Asmussen for WinStar Farm LLC and partners, and Mask, owned by Lane’s End Racing (W. S. Farish).

Mike Stidham will send out Synchrony in the $500,000 Old Forester Turf Classic for owner Pin Oak Stable LLC (Josephine Abercrombie).

There are three connections in the $2-million Kentucky Derby: Magnum Moon, bred by Texan Ramona S. Bass; Free Drop Billy, bred by the Helen K. Groves Rev. Trust, and Combatant, trained by Steve Asmussen.

Best of luck to all!

There is a competitive field of seven for the $200,000 (Gr. III) Steve Sexton Mile on Sunday at Lone Star Park.  Steve Asmussen will saddle 9-5 favorite Kentucky-bred Bee Jersey for owner Charles Fipke, and 12-1 Florida-bred South Beach for Woodford Racing LLC and Robert V. LaPenta.

Joe Sharp trains 2-1 Girvin, who is making his return to racing after a long layoff. He won both of Louisiana’s Kentucky Derby preps last year, the Grade 2 Risen Star and the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby. Those efforts put him atop the Kentucky Derby point’s leaderboard, but he unfortunately was dealing with an unresolved quarter crack at race time and finished 13th. With the foot issue out of the way, he came back strong finishing second by a nose to Irap in the Ohio Derby in June before his victory in the Gr. 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational a month later. 

Girvin’s owner, Brad Grady, is from Covington just south of Cleburne. He has several horses stabled at Lone Star Park with trainer Bret Calhoun, which he races there each year including local fan favorite Supermason who just marked his third consecutive victory in Lone Star’s opening stakes.

TTA’s Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon is scheduled for Saturday, June 23rd at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie. We look forward to meeting new friends, renewing acquaintances and enjoying some great Texas racing, including the 7th annual renewal of the Lane’s End Danny Shifflett Scholarship Stakes.

During the awards ceremonies, the Texas Champion “Horse of the Year” and the owners and breeders of the champions of each racing division will be honored, along with the recipients of the Allen Bogan Memorial Award for TTA Member of the Year and the T. I. “Pops” Harkins Award for Lifetime Achievement.  Current Texas Thoroughbred Educational Fund scholarship recipients will be introduced, along with an update on the activities of The Paddock Foundation, a non-profit corporation dedicated to the lifelong welfare of the Thoroughbred horse.

While the Texas breeding and racing industry’s many challenges will be subjects of discussion during the weekend, we will focus on the positive results generated through our initiatives and programs, celebrating the accomplishments of Texas youth, Texas horses and their owners and breeders.  We hope you will be able to join with us in doing so; invitations are in the mail.

NOTES: The deadline to accredit foals of 2017 at the member rate of $75 is May 31.  If you do not have a copy of the Jockey Club Certificate, send in the application and appropriate fee by that date, and send a copy of the Certificate when available.