05/26/2006 11:00PM

In deep field, Magnum has good shot


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - There are eight stakes winners, including Preachinatthebar, Cosmonaut, Texcess, and Real Dandy, in the field of 10 for Monday's Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap. But the starters of greatest interest might be the two members of the field who are stakes-placed, Magnum and Stockholder.

The Lone Star has drawn its deepest field in 10 runnings, coinciding with this year's $100,000 purse boost. The 1 1/16-mile race is the richest of six Monday stakes worth a total of $1 million. The Lone Star Million Day program includes the Grade 3, $200,000 WinStar Distaff and is the richest day of racing in Texas.

Magnum is a rising star following recent runner-up finishes to two of the top-ranked older horses Lava Man and Buzzards Bay. He was second by three-quarters of a length to Lava Man in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap in March. A month later, Magnum finished second by 6 1/2 lengths to wire-to-wire winner Buzzards Bay in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap in his last start April 8.

"He didn't really have the best of trips," Vienna said of the Oaklawn. "He persevered after getting kind of hampered, and really having no place to run. I'm taking nothing away from the winner, but it would have been interesting if we had a free run."

The Oaklawn has proven to be a productive race. Gouldings Green, who finished third, returned in his next start to win the $114,000 Alysheba at Churchill. Master Command, who was fourth, came back and won the Grade 3, $100,000 Schaefer at Pimlico. Purim, who was seventh, won the $100,000 Avers Wexler one start later, at Arlington.

Magnum will break from the rail Monday under Patrick Valenzuela.

Preachinatthebar will spot his rivals from four to eight pounds as the 121-pound highweight. He is in the sharpest form of his career, having captured the Grade 3 Tokyo City Handicap at Santa Anita on April 1, then the Grade 3, $300,000 Texas Mile here April 29. Both wins came under Jon Court, who again has the call for trainer Bob Baffert.

Stockholder closed furiously for second, beaten a neck, in the Texas Mile after he broke tardily, seventh of 11.

"I think he'll be a lot closer," said Steve Asmussen, who trains Stockholder and has given the mount to Luis Quinonez.

Cosmonaut ran a career race two starts ago in the Grade 3 Golden Gate Fields Handicap, when he romped by 4 1/2 lengths and earned a Beyer of 104. He invades for "400,000 reasons," said his trainer, Patrick Biancone.