05/28/2007 11:00PM

Glimpse of how good Bob and John can be


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Bob and John indicated his intent to make an impact on the handicap ranks this year with a gritty neck win over Sweetnorthernsaint in the Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap on Monday.

"We're hopeful to have one of the better handicap horses in the country this year," said John Adger, bloodstock and racing manager for Stonerside Stable, which owns Bob and John.

The Lone Star was Bob and John's second start of the year following a close second-place finish in the Grade 3 Texas Mile here April 28. The Texas Mile was his first start since September.

"That race, it really woke him up," Bob Baffert, who trains Bob and John, said of the Texas Mile. "When he came back to California, you could see the big difference in him. It really tightened him up.

"We gave him the winter off and let him develop. Hopefully he'll have a great summer and a good fall and be a big force in the Breeders' Cup Classic."

Bob and John stalked the pace in second early in the Lone Star Handicap, 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 ($4.80) moved to the lead approaching the quarter pole, and was game to the wire, covering 1 1/16 miles over a track rated sloppy in 1:45.02.

Sweetnorthernsaint, 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.

Bob and John, who won the Grade 1 Wood Memorial last year, was scheduled to fly back to Southern California on Tuesday. He will be considered for the Grade 1, $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park on June 30, said Baffert. Bob and John gave Baffert his 13th stakes win at Lone Star, and his second in the Lone Star Park Handicap following the Stonerside-owned Congaree in 2002. Baffert, who was inducted into Lone Star's Hall of Fame earlier in the meet, intended to be here Monday but said his 2 1/2-year-old son, Bode, came down with a virus last Friday. Bode landed in the emergency room for three hours on Monday, and was released just prior to the Lone Star.

"He's okay," said Baffert. "They were doing these tests on him. I got home just in time to see the last half-mile, which was the best part. Once Bob and John crossed the finish line, we all felt so much better."

Bob and John was ridden by Garrett Gomez, who won three graded stakes on the Lone Star Million card. Gomez also won the Grade 3, $200,000 Ouija Board Distaff with Lady of Venice and the Grade 3, $200,000 Dallas Turf Cup with Embossed.

Gomez had one other mount on the card, finishing fourth in the $100,000 Pin Oak Stud USA Stakes with Western Prize. All told, his mounts here Monday earned $486,000.

The field for the Lone Star Handicap was reduced to 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 Texas Mile over Bob and John.

Wrenice out until fall

Wrenice, a multiple stakes winner who was being pointed for a start in the $100,000 Stonerside for 3-year-old fillies here Monday, has had a minor physical setback and will resume racing in the fall, said her trainer, Randy Mayfield.

"She pulled a little minor check ligament," he said. "Very minor. She came up sore after a gallop. It's nothing that time won't heal. She'll get a little R and R for 30 days."

Wrenice, who was injured last Tuesday, has been walking the shed row at Lone Star. She has been treated with a counter-irritant solution on the injury site, which is behind her right knee.

"I just put a light blister on her, and I think that helps with the healing process a lot quicker," said Mayfield. "It gets the blood flowing. I do that on a lot of my horses, and it tightens them up, too."

Wrenice was the champion Texas-bred 2-year-old filly of 2006, and has won 7 of 11 starts and $359,346.

Fillies sprint in feature

Nicely Done, Petit Jean Creek, and Tear Jerker are among the top contenders in the featured eighth race Thursday night, a six-furlong, second-level allowance for fillies and mares. All three come out of a May 11 allowance won by Moroccan Rose, who one race later finished second in the $100,000 Valid Expectations Stakes on Monday.

Nicely Done was second to Moroccan Rose, while Petit Jean Creek finished third, and Tear Jerker fourth. The field also includes impressive maiden winner Most Beautiful.

* Ramsey Zimmerman, the leading rider here, has been suspended seven calendar days, beginning Thursday, for a riding infraction. Zimmerman's mount, Imahonkytonkgirl, won a May 24 trial race for the Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity, but was disqualified for interference in the stretch and placed second in the five-furlong race for 2-year-olds.

* Kelsi Purcell won the first race of her riding career with Expect an Echo ($10.20) in Monday's second race, a 5 1/2-furlong maiden claimer.