Texas Mile Hopefuls

Coady Photography
Donoharm, shown winning the Essex at Oaklawn Park, had a strong recent workout over the Lone Star surface.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – Donoharm will be looking to start a new win streak on Saturday in the Grade 3, $200,000 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park. He is part of an anticipated cast of six to eight older horses for the race that serves as the first major stakes of the meet. Others expected include Get in Da House, Isn’t He Clever, Majestic Harbor, and Master Rick. The list of possible starters includes Warren’s Knockout.

Donoharm had won five straight races prior to his last start, when he finished a troubled eighth in the Grade 3, $150,000 Razorback at Oaklawn on March 9. Donoharm was farther back than usual in the race won by Cyber Secret, who one start later captured the Grade  2, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap. As for Donoharm, he has thrived since, and in his major work for the Texas Mile breezed five furlongs in 1:00 on April 17 at Lone Star.

“The horse worked brilliantly the other morning,” said Bret Calhoun, who trains Donoharm. “He’s adapted to that surface very well. He breezed extremely well, galloped out very strongly. It was the kind of breeze you would want leading up to the race.”

Donoharm’s win streak began last August at Monmouth, in an allowance. He proceeded to win another allowance at Delaware Park, the Sam’s Town at Delta Downs, and the Fifth Season and Essex at Oaklawn.

“He’s been extremely consistent since we castrated him, from when he broke his maiden in his first race after the castration,” Calhoun said of a May effort at Churchill Downs. “He’s been very sharp since that point. I think castrating him made all the difference in the world. He’s been very consistent, very gutty and gritty.”

Cliff Berry has the mount, said Calhoun.

The Texas Mile is the first leg of the Global Gaming Triple, which links the three major races for older horses run at Lone Star and sister track Remington Park in Oklahoma City. The series continues with the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap on May 27, and the Governor’s Cup at Remington in August. The series features a bonus to the owner and trainer of the horse who accumulates the most points for finishes in the races. To be eligible, a horse must compete in all three legs of the Global Gaming Triple.

Donoharm is a candidate for the series, said Calhoun.

So is Get in Da House, according to trainer Wes Hawley. The horse earned a $20,000 bonus for his connections last year after running third in the Texas Mile, second in the Lone Star Park Handicap, and third in the Governor’s Cup.

Get in Da House, like Donoharm, has worked strongly for the Texas Mile. In his final prep he went five furlongs in a bullet 1:00.60 at his Louisiana Downs base April 19. Don Simington, who returns to action Friday night at Evangeline Downs after being sidelined with a broken collarbone, worked the horse and has the mount in the Texas Mile. Hawley said Get in Da House galloped out six furlongs in “1:13 and change.”

“I’d backed off the horse since his last start, hadn’t trained him hard, played with him, and when he worked the other day he worked better than he’d ever worked in his life,” Hawley said. “I’d never had the horse work like that and he did it with plenty in the tank.”

Get in Da House will ship early Saturday morning, said Hawley.

Majestic Harbor, an allowance winner at Fair Grounds who was sixth last out in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap, is scheduled to arrive early Thursday morning from Churchill Downs, according to his trainer, Paul McGee. The horse will be the first Lone Star starter for McGee, who said there were a couple of different reasons to target the Texas Mile.

“He’s doing really good right now, came out of his Fair Grounds race real good, and we were just kind of shopping for a spot,” he said. “I think the Lone Star race makes a lot of sense.”

Lindey Wade has the mount.

Lone Star off turf Thursday

Lone Star has four races scheduled for turf Thursday night, but all of them will be run on the main track, according to track officials. The decision was made after entries were drawn. The turf races carded at 7 1/2 furlongs are to be run at a mile on the main track, while the program’s lone five-furlong turf sprint will be held at the same distance on dirt. Lone Star does not plan to card turf races until at least May 4.

The turf course is not ready for use. The grass is dependent on warmer weather for growth and is coming along at a slower pace this season, according to officials.