05/12/2008 11:00PM

El Gato Malo's plans are for 'a strong summer'


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - El Gato Malo opened some new doors for himself last Saturday at Lone Star Park, when he rallied for a half-length win over Leonides in the Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Derby. The race was his first on dirt after running exclusively on synthetic tracks in California. It was also the first time he shipped out of state, his first start in blinkers, and he caught temperatures in the 90s in Texas.

"He responded really well, especially considering the heat and humidity," said Craig Dollase, who trains El Gato Malo for West Point Thoroughbreds. "There were definitely some obstacles in the way, and he passed the tests with flying colors."

Dollase said El Gato Malo was due to arrive back home in Southern California on Tuesday afternoon. He said the horse came out of the race well, and plans for him are to be determined. The Lone Star Derby was the third stakes win for El Gato Malo, and he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 97.

"We'll get him back home and map out a plan," said Dollase. "We'll have a strong summer with him."

El Gato Malo's other stakes wins came in the $75,000 Gold Rush at Golden Gate Fields in December and the Grade 3 San Rafael at Santa Anita in January. The victory was Dollase's second major stakes win of the Lone Star meet. Last month, he sent Monterey Jazz to town to win the Grade 3, $300,000 Texas Mile.

Dollase said on Tuesday that Monterey Jazz, who earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 118, remains on deck to make his next start in the Grade 1, $600,000 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park on May 26.

Leonides may go to Iowa Derby

Leonides finished a big second to El Gato Malo in what was his two-turn debut Saturday. He came into the race off a runner-up finish to Salute the Sarge in the $78,000 San Miguel at six furlongs at Santa Anita on March 29. Leonides sat in second off a hot pace in the Lone Star Derby, and then dug in to grab second by a nose over pacestter Samba Rooster.

"It was a pretty gutsy performance," said Vladimir Cerin, who trains Leonides. "He was in a drive from the three-eighths pole to the wire and he never gave up."

Cerin said Leonides was due back in Southern California on Tuesday afternoon. He will see how the horse trains before his next start is targeted, but said one race that will be considered is the $250,000 Iowa Derby. The 1 1/16-mile race will be run at Prairie Meadows on June 27.

Services set for Jim Bausch

Jim Bausch, an owner-trainer who long raced in Texas, died Saturday in a Houston hospital. He was 70. Bausch died from complications stemming from pneumonia, for which he entered the hospital over a month ago, according to friends. He twice was the leading owner at Sam Houston Race Park, for meets in 2004 and 2006, and he also was a leading owner at Retama Park.

Visitation for Bausch is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Thursday at the Anderson-Clayton Brothers Funeral Home in Kemp, Texas. The funeral is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday at the home's chapel, located at 1226 South Elm Street in Kemp. The eulogy will be given by Lone Star-based chaplain Sam Spence. Bausch was a native of Rapid City, S.D.

* The new baseball stadium across from Lone Star will host the first home game of the Grand Prairie Airhogs on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. Following the game there will be fireworks. The Airhogs are an American Association League team. Their first home stand runs through May 22.

* Kitty Mambo, who displayed symptoms of heat stroke after crossing the wire in the third race here last Saturday, is doing well, her trainer, Lascelles Wisdom, said on Tuesday. "She recovered good," he said. "She jogged today."

* One Lucky Devil and Rain on Monday should be coming after We Sang Dixie in the later stages in the featured eighth race Thursday night. The $35,000 optional claimer over six furlongs also drew recent Lone Star winners Trouble Now and Mr. Smee.