It's the first edition of Friday Night Lights where we head to Lone Star Park for their nine race card beginning at 6:35pm Central time. Lone Star runs races on their one mile dirt main track and a 7.8 mile turf course. The track offers rolling $0.50 Pick 3s and a $0.10 Fortune 6.
Let's jump right in the action:
Oh, wonderful. Lone Star kicks off their Friday night card with a five furlong turf sprint, otherwise known as the "bane of my existence". It's always nice to start a card off with a winning ticket but given my propensity to stink at picking winners in these kinds of races, I'm not holding my breath on this one.
The first race is a $15k Claimer/N3L with a field of nine fillies and mares. 2-Slamming (8/5) takes a big price cut ($20k) and drops from opening company to a conditioned event. She's shown flashes of talent in her the past, specifically in a turf sprint at Churchill last November. Not much value but clearly the classiest filly in the field.
3-Elusive Wildcat (3/1) has won at this trip in the past and put forth a decent effort last time out in an off-the-turf event at this class level. Her best races have been turf sprints and a return to that form would put her right in the mix with the favorite.
The second race contains another heavy favorite (4-Freya's Blessing, 4/5) in a spot that looks pretty tough for the rest of the field. Freya's Blessing caught a wet track in her last two efforts against N1X competition and is taking a big drop into $12.5k/N2L company.
Two-year-old fillies take center stage in the third race, a Maiden Special Weight at 4 ½ furlongs on the main track. It's tough to get away from the two Calhoun-trained fillies - 2-Final Song (2/1) and 6-Bluejoy (7/2) - as he's hits at a high percentage with juveniles and first timers.
Keep an eye on the odds of 8-Legal Mind (6/1) when the betting opens; trainer Jack Bruner is off to a scorching start at the Lone Star meet and he's also pretty good with juveniles and debut runners. Legal Mind, a daughter of Bellamy Road, could be the value of the field.
A low-level optional claiming event ($6.5k) with a complete standout in the 4-Youcannotbeserious (6/5), a filly coming in off back-to-back blowout wins at the track. If we're looking for a little more in terms of price, the 1-Playgirl Prospect (8/1) could get involved late if things break down on the front end. She was claimed last time out and is moving from a low-hit barn to a high-hit one.
The fifth race is an open company $5k claiming race at six furlongs that appears to set-up well for 6-Casey's On Call (3/1), a winner in his first race at Lone Star last time out. Casey's On Call ran well at Oaklawn against $5 and $6.5k company all winter and has been a consistent money earner during his entire career (27-10-5-2, $184k). He should be able to secure a perfect stalking trip en route to a second straight score.
State-bred N1Xers and another heavy favorite from the Calhoun barn: 7-Tamnation (Even), a debut winner at Lone Star in April of 2011. As good as Tamnation was in her debut (and her numbers tower over this field), the year-long lay-off has to concern you, especially given the short odds on the morning line. Calhoun tends to dominate at Lone Star but he's not as strong with horses racing after an extended time on the bench. If you're going to be a low-priced horse from the Calhoun barn, this might the kind of race to take a shot.
4-Primal Jones (10/1) looks to be a bit deficient in class compared to most of this field but he's moving to the barn of Dallas Keen follow a claim in his maiden win in mid-April. He got jostled around a bit at the start of that last race, so there's reason to believe he'll improve in this spot.
A big class drop for 1-Leoncita (8/1) after trying Maiden Special Weight company her first two times out. She faded in each race against better horses but she did show some speed and she's facing a much weaker group; she should be a lot better in this spot.
6-Mo Lady (4/5) just missed last time against Maiden Special Weight (non-state bred) but she hasn't raced since July of 2011. Similar to the Calhoun horse in race 6 - it's hard to take low odds on a filly coming off a long lay-off for a trainer that is just so-so in those races. I'll play against the ML chalk.
The feature race on the card is an OC $18k/N1X affair at six furlongs. 3-Drunk Dial (8/5) [great name] is coming off a huge effort last time out when she posted a 91 Beyer while defeating similar. He's been good at the track (4-2-2-0 at Lone Start) and at the distance (6-3-2-0) and is a deserving favorite in this spot. Tough to see him losing in this spot.
We wrap up the night in Texas with a $25k Maiden Claimer at one mile on the turf course. 5-Dazzletown (8/5) takes a price cut from $40k to today's price after finishing well back in a race over the Poly at Keeneland in his last effort. She's a dangerous filly running for a trainer that's winning everything in sight at Lone Star right now.
I'm going to stay away from the ML favorite and instead go for 3-Southern Spice (3/1). Her first try over grass in her last race was her effort in her brief career. There is absolutely no speed in this race which should give this filly the ability to control the race from the outset. Worth a shot at 3/1.