04/23/2008 11:00PM

Barbette should be flying in stretch


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – Monterey Jazz should start as a strong favorite in the Grade 3, $300,000 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park on Saturday, but determining favorites for the three undercard stakes supporting that race will take some nose-to-the-grindstone effort.

The Irving Distaff, Grand Prairie Turf Challenge, and the Richland Hills Farm Stakes all drew full, competitive fields. Each race is worth $50,000, and serves as a prep for one of the six divisional stakes to be run on the Lone Star Million Day program here May 26.

Barbette could be a slight favorite in the Irving, a 7 1/2-furlong turf race for fillies and mares that should produce starters for the Grade 3, $200,000 Ouija Board Handicap. She ran a close fifth in the Ouija Board last year behind winner Lady of Venice, and earned the first stakes win of her career last out, when she closed with a rush to win the $50,000 Jersey Lily by a neck at Sam Houston Race Park on April 5.

“She’s got that big late kick, which I think really is invaluable in grass races,” said Danny Pish, who trains Barbette. “If they can sprint home that last eighth, it’s a way to win a lot of grass races.”

Barbette will be shortening up from 1 1/16 miles on Saturday.

“At seven and a half, there ought to be a little lick in the race, and it should lend itself to her style,” said Pish, who has given the mount to Quincy Hamilton.

Others top contenders include Elliecat and My Three Sisters.

Timely Reflection cuts back

Timely Reflection will cut back to one turn in the Richland Hills, a six-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies that should produce starters for the $100,000 Cinemine here May 26.

In her last start, Timely Reflection was second to the undefeated Littlemiss Allison in the $50,000 Sam Houston Oaks at a mile on March 8, a race in which Littlemiss Allison ran her record to 5 for 5. In her final prep for the cutback in distance, Timely Reflection worked a half-mile in 48.60 seconds here last Saturday.

“She’s done everything,” said Bret Calhoun, who trains Timely Reflection. “She’s gone short, long, dirt, turf. I really don’t think it matters.

“She’s been running in nothing but stakes, and she’s been there every trip.”

Timely Reflection won her career debut at 5 1/2 furlongs at Lone Star last July, and one start later won the $75,000 Donnie Wilhite Memorial at two turns on turf at Louisiana Downs. Bobby Walker Jr. has the mount on Timely Reflection.

Her rivals include multiple stakes winners Miss Missile and Valid Lilly.

Red Birds Magician likes the trip

Red Birds Magician, who already is a stakes winner at the one-mile turf trip of the Grand Prairie Turf Challenge for 3-year-olds, will start as a top contender in the 12-horse field.

He won the $50,000 Centennial at a mile on turf at Remington Park in his last start, on Dec. 1. Since then, Red Birds Magician has turned in some strong works at Lone Star, his latest a five-eighths move over the local turf course last Sunday. He covered the distance, around the dogs, in 59 seconds. Bruce Jackson trains Red Birds Magician, who will be ridden by Richard Eramia.

Celina Slew will be looking to expand his resume in the Turf Challenge. He won his maiden on Polytrack at Arlington Park last June. He also is a winner on dirt, having taken a first-level allowance at Oaklawn Park in March. Celina Slew is making his turf debut Saturday. Luis Quinonez has the mount for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Others of interest in the field include Pursue a Dream, the runner-up in the Centennial for trainer John Locke.

* Lone Star will offer $1 admission, hot dogs, and sodas on Saturday.