04/25/2004 11:00PM

Handicap may be three-way rematch


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Kela, Supah Blitz, and Yessirgeneralsir, the first three finishers Saturday in the Grade 3, $300,000 Texas Mile, could all meet again in the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap on May 31.

That is the plan for Kela and Yessirgeneralsir, while Supah Blitz is also under consideration for the Grade 3, $100,000 Memorial Day Handicap at his home base of Calder Race Course.

Kela will be attempting to become the second horse to win both of the Lone Star meet's major stakes for older horses. Dixie Dot Com was the first, winning the Texas Mile and Lone Star Park Handicap in 2001.

Dixie Dot Com, who like Kela was based in Southern California, remained at Lone Star between his Texas starts, but Kela will take a different approach, according to his trainer, Mike Mitchell.

"We're going to take him back home and come back," he said.

Kela romped by 5 1/4 lengths in the Texas Mile under David Nuesch. Kela earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 114.

Yessirgeneralsir ran a strong race in his own right, setting a solid pace in the richest race of his career. One start before the Texas Mile, Yessirgeneralsir missed equaling the track record for one mile and 40 yards at Fair Grounds by .01.

"We'll try them again in the next one," said Dallas Keen, who trains Yessirgeneralsir.

Texas Mile day was a wet one, and the race was held in the slop. The inclement weather did not deter patrons, however, as 10,409 attended on Saturday, up 20 percent from the crowd of 8,667 on Texas Mile Day in 2003.

Handle on the 11-race program was $3,564,104. Of that amount, $2.7 million was bet offtrack, up 4 percent from last year, and $835,261 was bet ontrack, up 7 percent from 2003.

Rodriguez settling in

Omar Rodriguez, a native of Puerto Rico who learned racing's ropes from legendary jockey Angel Cordero Jr., is riding his first full meet at Lone Star. His first winner at the meet came on opening night, when he won the second race with Cowgirl Stuff, who paid $22.20.

Rodriguez rode the horse for trainer Martin Lozano, one of several trainers here with ties to Oklahoma. Rodriguez is getting the support of a number of such horsemen in part because his agent, Richard McNaughton, also represents multiple Remington title winner Cliff Berry. After the Lone Star meet, Rodriguez plans to ride at Remington.

Rodriguez's first career winner came in 1994 for Cordero, who at the time was training in New York.

"He taught me a lot," said Rodriguez. "I was working horses for him, and I lived with him and his family for a year."

Rodriguez returned to Puerto Rico after that experience, and was the leading rider at El Commandante in 1995. He traveled extensively after that, and has spent time riding in such states as New Jersey, Maryland, and Ohio.

"I came here in 2001, but the meeting had almost ended and I didn't get the opportunities because it was late," he said. Rodriguez is 30.

Are You Home takes a drop

Are You Home drops in class for Wednesday's featured eighth race, an allowance that carries a $50,000 claiming option. In her last start, Are You Home broke last and finished fourth in a Fair Grounds allowance that carried a claiming option of $62,500.

Are You Home faces six others in the one-mile turf race for fillies and mares, including Titia, a winner over the course; Tyger River, who drops in class from a stakes placing last out; and Hay Costa, a half-sister to seven-time stakes winner Coastalota.

Are You Home is owned by Richard Nip, trained by Steve Asmussen, and will be ridden by Jeremy Beasley.

* Soo Much, who has won three of his last four starts, is a candidate for the Claiming Crown, said his trainer, Kari Craddock.