GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – Texas Bling is scheduled to return to the track Monday at Lone Star Park to begin serious preparations for the Grade 3, $400,000 Oklahoma Derby. He has been freshened since Oaklawn’s meet ended in April after finishing second in the $150,000 Smarty Jones, fourth in the Grade 2, $600,000 Rebel, and eighth in the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby.
The Oklahoma Derby is on Sept. 29 at Remington Park, where last winter Texas Bling won the $300,000 Springboard Mile. Danele Durham, who trains the horse for Hall’s Family Trust, said Texas Bling will have a start before the Oklahoma Derby, with an Aug. 22 allowance at Remington the target to be his first race since the Arkansas Derby on April 13.
Texas Bling has been “shed rowing” the past 60 days, jogging and trotting under tack in Durham’s barn at Lone Star.
“Texas Bling has come back a matured, filled-out horse,” Durham said. “He’s put on a lot of muscle in the shoulder and hip. I see a lot of muscle definition. I see a maturing horse now.”
While Texas Bling was freshened, another 3-year-old for the barn, He Has Bling, stepped up for Hall’s Family Trust and Durham by winning a division of the $75,000 Texas Stallion Stakes at Lone Star in May. He Has Bling is now being pointed for the $50,000 Assault for 3-year-olds and up bred in Texas on Lone Star’s closing day card July 6.
“He’s training out of the bridle,” Durham said of He Has Bling. “He worked in 59 and change last Saturday and was just under wraps. We’re going to face older horses, just because there’s nothing else left here for us. He’s training so well right now.”
Durham said He Has Bling will work on Saturday for the Assault. Fabio Arguello Jr. will be aboard for the move, and he has the mount in the one-mile stakes. He Has Bling will be seeking his third straight win when he runs in the Assault, having also won an allowance this meet at Lone Star.
Friday night’s seventh race at Lone Star could produce starters for the Assault. Meme Jo is among the top contenders in the second-level allowance for 3-year-olds and up bred in Texas. It will be run at 6 1/2 furlongs. Meme Jo was second to He Has Bling in the Stallion Stakes.
Goldikova sibling shines
Ocean Seven, a half-brother to retired international superstar Goldikova, barreled through the stretch at Lone Star on June 14 to win a first-level allowance. He proved more than two lengths best in the 1 1 1/16-mile turf race, and the start will set him up for either a stakes at Colonial Downs or an upcoming race at Lone Star, said his trainer, Steve Borunda.
“I was really pleased with his performance because this horse wants distance,” said Borunda, who trains Ocean Seven for the Southfield Management stable of David Chudnow. “A mile and a sixteenth, he’s won there before, but he is so much better going further, so it was very impressive the way he won going that mile and a sixteenth. The way he finished that last sixteenth of a mile was very impressive.”
Borunda said Ocean Seven will be considered for the $75,000 Kitten’s Joy at Colonial on July 13, but is more likely to run at home, in a 1 1/8-mile turf allowance at Lone Star. From there, Ocean Seven will be considered for the $75,000 Edward J. DeBartolo Memorial Handicap at Remington Park on Aug. 24.
Ocean Seven is not the first Goldikova sibling to win in Texas. Back in 2007, Gold Sound won the Buffalo Bayou at Sam Houston Race Park in Houston in his second start in the United States. Goldikova earned more than $7 million during her career, racing from 2007 to 2011. She is 8. The 6-year-old Ocean Seven was purchased privately by Chudnow. Ocean Seven was also a winner last meet at Lone Star.
“I used to gallop Mocha Express and he was very, very classy and this horse is the same way,” Borunda said. “This horse is just a pleasure to be around.”
Goldikova’s youngest sibling to race, Anodin, is a 3-year-old who won a Group 3 stakes in France in June. Ocean Seven is by the Green Dancer stallion Green Tune, while all of the siblings are from the Blushing Groom mare Born Gold.
◗ Ken Carson, the general manager of Valor Farm in Pilot Point, Texas, was elected president of the Texas Thoroughbred Association during the organization’s Saturday board meeting at Lone Star. He will serve a one-year term, said Mary Ruyle, the executive director of the TTA.