Lone Star Park Picks & Pick 5 Analysis for Memorial Day: Steve Sexton Mile Day
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The biggest day during the Lone Star Park Meet is capped by the annual renewal of the Steve Sexton Mile. This Grade III contest normally brings together a good group of older runners. It anchors a Pick 5 sequence that should offer numerous angles.
Today, we have a strong group of races that mix in routes with sprints, and grass events with those on the dirt. It should be a fun one to handicap, wager, and cash some tickets!
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LEG 1: (Race 7: Dirt, 6F, Memorial Day Sprint S., $100k, F&M 3+)
The 1st Leg of this P5 sequence witnesses the arrival of Brad Cox’s heavy favorite, Mundaye Call #3. At 1/1, it is hard to imagine that this daughter of Into Mischief is going to remain any higher on the tote. It is probably deserved, especially since she has competed in some strong races in the past. The Grade 1 Madison at Keeneland was her 4-yr-old debut off the shelf, and though she finished 5th behind Ward’s excellent Kimari, it was a good start to the year. Now, on the drop down, she gets Joel Rosario in the irons. He should be able to get her home 1st, kicking off the ticket with a “Single.” Cox reigns supreme, as he invades Grand Prairie.
Selection: 3 (Single)
LEG 2: (Race 8: Turf, 5F, Chamberlain Bridge S., $100k, 3+)
Coming into this contest, the 2nd Leg of the P5, we are going sprinting on the LS grass. Significant rainfall over the past week has made this sod nice and green. A pair of co-favorites will do battle on the odds chart, and either of them could win.
Steve Asmussen’s Archidust #3 gets Ricardo Santana aboard, and the 5-yr-old is coming off an ALLW freshening back on May 7th. The HOF trainer specifically spotted this race on the calendar, and prepped accordingly. I am a little concerned about some of his races back at the Fair Grounds in “Non-G” competition. Although he won the first 75k in the cycle, the next 2 were significant misses. Santana is not a turf jockey, even though he plays one on tv. The other “fave” that will garner some attention is Peter Miller’s venerable Texas Wedge #6. A veteran of many foreign turf wars, this gelding out of Colonel John has been on the bench since running 4th in the Joe Hernandez (G2) back Santa Anita on January 1. How cranked will he be is anyone’s guess, but the money is going to be rolling in when bettors see the rider is … Rosario.
I like these 2, but I do not think they offer much value overall. The same could be said for Chaos Theory #7 from the barn of Bob Hess. The trainer took this one from John Sadler, and it is good to see him come to Texas. The 6-yr-old has 2 halves to him. He can be sharp and dangerous or dull and uninspiring. I do not care for his price either. Instead, I am pretty keen on David Cabrera’s mount, Tempt Fate #4. I do not normally support runners that are devoid of turf experience, but I am willing to make an exception when it comes to this Carl Deville entry. This speedster has been with him before, and if you look at his races prior to running in Texas they are all wins on the dirt at Oaklawn (one was a 200k). If he can take that power-style of his and make it work in this spot, then he could be a player.
Including all of these runners is probably the best bet, since this is turf racing. It can go in so many directions, that I would not leave anything to chance.
Selections: 3/4/6/7 (4-Deep)
LEG 3: (Race 9: Dirt, 1 1/16th, Texas Derby, $300k, 3)
The recently added Texas Derby is a 300k affair that really makes this Lone Star card inviting. When it comes down to it, I see this as a 3-horse race between Brad Cox’s Warrant #5, Peter Miller’s Get Her Number #9, and Steve Asmussen’s Super Stock #10.
Cox’s charge is class elevating, after running a game 2nd back at Oaklawn in a 300k similar. Recall, that OP events are tough, and they turn out to be similar to “Graded” races that are easily of the G3 ilk. With Rosario in the saddle, the connections could be looking at a nice win. It will not be easy because a couple of Rebel S./Arkansas Derby alums are drawn in here. Miller’s runner skipped the KY Derby, and he was thinking that Belmont might be on the horizon. This race seems way more logical for the colt out of Dialed In. Gary Barber is an owner who dreams big, but lowering the sights here was smart.
This race is not without a celebrity, because Asmussen is bringing his father’s horse to LS. Keith watched with joy as his colt got home for the upset win in the Arkansas Derby (G1). Ricardo Santana timed out the win perfectly, and it was an impressive victory. Though he did not make much of an impact at Churchill in 147, that doesn’t mean his ability is in question. This could be the perfect entry point for another strong win.
I want to include each of these runners who are coming into Texas from some top barns. Each of them could win.
Selections: 5/9/10 (3-Deep)
LEG 4: (Race 10: Turf, 1 Mile, Ouija Board Distaff S., $200k, F&M 3+)
It is time to speak to the mystics and get the cards out because this race is going to test our handicapping skills. The mile on the grass is always a challenge because sprinters can stretch out, and deep routers can cutback. This makes for a series of tough decisions that must be made. I have a number of opinions because while although I like presumptive favorite Laura’s Light #1, she is vulnerable. Despite that her last race at Santa Anita was a victory in an OC62.5k grass mile, it was not a particularly tough field. Rarely traveling outside of SoCal, if ever, she may not be up for the trip to the Lone Star State. Accepting 1/1 is hardly a steal of a deal. I would rather take a miler like Tom Proctor’s Summering #5. Last out at Tampa, the mare out of War Front rated well, and was able to get up just in time. Proctor is a seasoned conditioner, who has enjoyed much success in the past, even if his current stable size is not what it once was.
I will want to include some others, especially because we have room in the budget. Let’s add Joe Sharp’s Summer in Saratoga #2, Brad Cox’s Raven’s Cry #6, and Graham Motion’s Tuned #7. Wait … what? Motion in Texas? Yes, indeed … Each of these have upside, as their turf experience should shine through. It will be interesting to see if Rosario can give Cox’s filly 3 wins in-a-row. That field she faced in Houston at Sam in a 75k event was not the greatest. That makes me think Motion’s mare is the one to go with. She faced a tough crowd at Keeneland last time in an ALLW83k contest, including the excellent Pocket Square. I am hoping one of these higher priced grass specialists can get home because that will help out when it comes time to cash this ticket! Hope springs eternal …
Selections: 1/2/5/6/7 (5-Deep)
LEG 5: (Race 11: Dirt, 1 Mile, Steve Sexton Mile (G3), $400k, 3+)
Here it is … straight from me to you! C Z Rocket #8 wins the Steve Sexton. I am not worried about the stretch out because this runner has the ability to exhibit some nice versatility. Peter Miller has brought him along well, and there is a reason why he deserves to be in the NTRA Top Ten Poll. Taking on Whitmore and besting him 2x @OP continue to be part of the highlights of this year. There is certainly more to come.
With Florent Geroux coming to town to ride him once again, this should be an easy “Single” with By My Standards’ connections choosing to send him to the Met Mile at Belmont. Class matters, and there are a few in here that even come close to this one’s ability. He has run in the Breeders’ Cup and at Oaklawn Park. That matters! The way is clear for Miller’s ace to take the day!
Selection: 8 (Single)
.50 P5 TICKET COST: $30.00
It is Steve Sexton Mile Day from Grand Prairie, Texas! Lone Star Park is ready for action!