05/27/2007 11:00PM

Bob and John caps sweep for Gomez

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GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Bob and John fought off a surging Sweetnorthernsaint for a neck win in the Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap on Monday, giving his rider, Garrett Gomez, a sweep of the three graded stakes on the annual Lone Star Million Day card.

 The Lone Star was the richest race of the meet and one of six stakes on a program worth more than $1.1 million. Gomez also won the Grade 3, $200,000 Ouija Board with Lady of Venice, and the Grade 3, $200,000 Dallas Turf Cup with Embossed.

 “Not a bad day’s work,” said Gomez, who was in to ride from California. “Now I’ve got to go hop on a plane and get back.”

Bob and John ($4.80) stalked the pace in second for much of the Lone Star, tracking Jonesboro, who led the field through fractions of 24.42 seconds for the opening quarter and 48.53 for the half-mile mark. Bob and John moved to the lead approaching the quarter pole, and was game to the wire, covering the 1 1/16 miles over a track rated muddy in 1:45.02. Bob and John is owned by Stonerside Stable and trained by Bob Baffert

 “My horse was doing it so easy," said Gomez. "At the half-mile pole I eased up to the leader, and then just before we turned for home I said, ‘Let’s go,' and he ran well for us all the way down the lane." 

Sweetnorthernsaint, who was the 3-5 favorite, stalked the pace in third, and put in his bid through the stretch under Mario Pino. He finished 6 3/4 lengths in front of third-place finisher Jonesboro.

“He ran well,” Pino said of Sweetnorthernsaint. “I gave him a nudge around the turn and it was just the two of us at that point. The winner hung on nicely. Those are two nice horses.”

 John Adger, racing and bloodstock manager for Stonerside, accepted the trophy following Bob and John’s win. It was the second Lone Star win for Stonerside, behind Congaree’s victory in the race in 2002.

“I think he really showed today what he’s made of,” Adger said of Bob and John. “This was an important stepping-stone for the rest of the year.”

 Baffert said Bob and John could make his next start in the Grade 1, $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park on June 30.

 The field for the Lone Star was scratched down for four starters with the defection of Silent Pleasure. He was scratched because of swelling in his hind ankle, believed to be the result of a spider bite, said his co-owner and trainer, Howard Scarberry. In his last start, Silent Pleasure won the Grade 3, $300,000 Texas Mile over Bob and John.

 Bob and John earned $240,000 for the win in the Lone Star, which was his fifth career victory from 14 starts. He has now earned $996,330. Bob and John is a 4-year-old son of Seeking the Gold.

Dallas Turf Cup: Embossed comes through

Embossed, who has raced over seven different courses in his last seven starts, found the soft turf at Lone Star Park to his liking Monday, when he closed fast for a three-quarter-length win over Crested and pacesetter Waupaca in the Grade 3, $200,000 Dallas Turf Cup.

Embossed ($3.80) settled in about four lengths behind Waupaca, who moved to lead soon after the start and led the field through fractions of 25.64 seconds for the opening quarter and 51.23 for the half-mile mark. Embossed came into the stretch four wide and closed well to cover the distance in 1:52.68.

“My main concern was no matter how fast they went – unless they were blitzing – was to keep my horse within reasonable striking distance because he’s got a good kick,” said Garrett Gomez, who rode Embossed for trainer Niall O’Callaghan. “When I came off the turn, I uncovered him and he started coming home really well for me. You couldn’t ask for a horse to do any more than he did today.”

Waupaca won a photo for third over More Than Regal. Embossed, who scratched from Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Louisville Handicap at Churchill Downs, earned $120,000 for his win in the Dallas Turf Cup. He came into the race off a close fourth-place finish to On The Acorn in the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano at Santa Anita on April 22.

Embossed races for Gary Tanaka and has now won 5 of 23 starts and $441,233.

Ouija Board: Another win for Gomez

Gomez won the other graded turf stakes on the program when he guided Lady of Venice to an impressive 1?3/4-length victory in the Grade 3, $200,000 Ouija Board for fillies and mares at a mile. Brownie Points won a photo for second over Rich Fantasy.

Lady of Venice ($2.80) trailed the field for much of the Ouija Board, as Rich Fantasy set fractions of 24.03 seconds for the opening quarter and 48.62 for the half-mile. Lady of Venice continued to trail to the top of the stretch, then was angled out five wide and unleashed an explosive rally through the stretch. She covered the distance over soft turf in 1:38.32.

“She’s got a beautiful turn of foot,” Gomez said. “She is just a remarkable filly.”

Lady of Venice is trained by Patrick Biancone, who said earlier this week that the filly would be pointed for the Grade 2 CashCall Mile Invitational at Hollywood Park in July. Lady of Venice races for Martin Schwartz.

USA: Third stakes for Going Ballistic

In the first stakes on the program, Going Ballistic ($8) rallied between horses in the final furlong to win the $100,000 Pin Oak Stud USA Stakes for 3-year-olds by a half-length over Later Gater. It was another three-quarters of a length back in third to favorite Beta Capo. Cliff Berry rode the winner, who closed from seventh to win for trainer Donnie Von Hemel.

“At the half-mile pole when I pulled a goggle down, he grabbed the bit and I said, ‘All right, I’ve got some horse,’” Berry said.

Going Ballistic covered the 1 1/16 miles over soft turf in 1:45.29. He earned $60,000 for the third stakes win of his career and his earnings now stand at $283,242 for Kindred Thoroughbreds.

Valid Expectations: Cintarosa closes

Cintarosa ($16.40) closed with good energy through the stretch for a 1 1/2-length win over Moroccan Rose in the $100,000 Valid Expectations for fillies and mares at six furlongs. It was another head back to Yo Fanci in third.

Cintarosa sat several lengths off the pace set by Moroccan Rose and attended by True Tails and Seekingthereinbow. She unleashed a strong bid in the stretch and covered the distance over a track rated muddy in 1:12.

“She handled the going well,” said Steve Asmussen, who trains Cintarosa for Jack Grunwald. “She ran beautifully on the right day.”

Luis Quinonez rode Cintarosa, who registered her first stakes win in the Valid Expectations.

* Atlanta Highway ($9.20) closed with a flourish to win her third straight race in the $100,000 Stonerside for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs. She won by 6 1/2 lengths over pacesetter and favorite Gallant Dreamer. Richard Eramia rode the winner for DeDe McGehee and trainer Andrew Leggio Jr.