Saturday, October 1, 2011

From Lone Star to National Fame

Awesome Gem
Photo by Mary Cage

Usually the Lone Star Park Handicap (GIII) isn’t a very productive race on the national scene, but it was extremely productive this year. The top three finishers all went on to be very successful throughout the rest of the year, especially this weekend.
The winner of the LSP Handicap was eight-year-old Awesome Gem.  The hard-knocking gelding went on to finish second in the Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (GIII) and after a disappointing fifth in the Hollywood Gold Cup Handicap (GI), Awesome Gem won the Longacres Mile Handicap (GIII) before flying to finish an impressive second in the Goodwood Stakes (GI) on Saturday.
Flat Out
Photo by Mary Cage
The horse that closed rapidly to finish second in the LSP Handicap was Flat Out. In his next race after the LSP Handicap, Flat Out finished sixth in the Stephen Foster Handicap (GI). He rebounded with a jaw-dropping victory in the Suburban Handicap (GII). The son of Flatter has since become one of the top-rated horses in the nation, having finished second in the Whitney Handicap (GI) and Woodward Handicap (GI). On Saturday, he impressively won the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (GI). He is expected to be one of the favorites in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI).

Game On Dude
Photo by Mary Cage

He had won the Lone Star Derby (GIII) as a three-year-old. As a four-year-old, Game On Dude came into the LSP Handicap with a win in the Santa Anita Handicap (GI) and a second-place finish in the Charles Town Classic Stakes (GIII). In the LSP Handicap, Game On Dude became tired in the Texas heat and finished third. He rebounded with a terrific nose loss to stablemate First Dude, who has since been retired, in the Hollywood Gold Cup. After the big race at Hollywood, Game On Dude faded in the TVG Pacific Classic Stakes (GI) to finish fourth. However, he rebounded on Saturday to take the Goodwood under Chantal Sutherland in his final prep for the Breeders’ Cup.
The top three finishers will all be at Churchill Downs on the first weekend in November for the Breeders’ Cup and will most definitely not be at high odds. It’s not often that horses from Lone Star go on to be some of the top horses in the nation, but I must say that I’m very proud of the Grand Prairie track for attracting such wonderful horses. I’m mostly definitely looking forward to seeing these three in person for the second time this year, this time at the World Championships.

Note: Dean's Kitten, who won the Dallas Turf Cup on the same day as the Lone Star Park Handicap, was a very close second to Cape Blanco in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes (GI) and looks to be one of the top horses for the Breeders' Cup Turf.

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