05/26/2005 11:00PM

High Strike Zone shoots for Texas double


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - High Strike Zone will attempt to become just the second horse to win both the Texas Mile and Lone Star Park Handicap, the two richest races for older horses at Lone Star Park. Dixie Dot Com won both races in 2001.

High Strike Zone accomplished the first half of the double last month, when he won the Grade 3, $300,000 Texas Mile. Monday, he will look to complete the task in the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap, one of six stakes worth $1 million on the annual Lone Star Million Day.

High Strike Zone, whose three career stakes wins have come at one mile, will be traveling 1 1/16 miles for just the second time in his career Monday, and he is suited to the task, said his Lone Star-based trainer, Amos Laborde.

"The first time he ever went a mile and a sixteenth, he just got nosed out," said Laborde. "He was head-to-head in the [Gulf Coast] Breeders' Cup at Delta the last sixteenth of a mile, and they beat me by four inches."

High Strike Zone returned one start later and used stalking tactics for a 1 1/4-length win in the Texas Mile.

"If he runs the same race as last time, I think he'll win, because he could have gone a mile and a quarter the way he was running," said Laborde. "He came back and he wasn't even blowing, and he cooled out real good."

High Strike Zone, to be ridden by Ricky Faul, is a son of Smart Strike who races for Donald Erickson. Laborde said Erickson has just purchased a 2-year-old filly by Smart Strike, and she is now in training at Lone Star.

Beyond the Lone Star Handicap, Laborde said, a summer goal for High Strike Zone is the final stakes of the meet for older horses on dirt, the $75,000 Bob Johnson Memorial on July 17.

Hot jock has hot mounts Monday

Jamie Theriot won 11 races from 28 mounts last week and could be sitting on a huge Million Day, with mounts in all of the stakes. Among the horses he will be riding are Top Commander, the one to beat in the $100,000 Beck Auto Group Turf Sprint, and True Tails, the one to catch in the $150,000 Stonerside.

Theriot's other stakes mounts are Snorter in the Lone Star, My Misty Princess in the Grade 3, $200,000 WinStar Distaff, Munificence in the $200,000 Pin Oak Stud, and Boston Express in the $100,000 Valid Expectations.

Theriot worked the front-running Top Commander on turf Monday.

"It was around the dogs, and he worked in 47 and change just super," said Theriot. "It was a super work."

True Tails has won her two Lone Star stakes starts by a combined 15 lengths, both under Theriot.

"She does everything you want her to do," he said. "All you are is a passenger - just hold on."

Theriot said the most winners he has had in a week is 14, achieved at Evangeline Downs in 2002.

Lone Star-WinStar daily double

Lone Star will offer a special double linking the Lone Star Handicap and the WinStar Distaff, the two graded stakes on the program, which will go as races 8 and 9.

The track will also offer an additional 50-cent pick four, making for three such bets on the 12-race card. There is also advance wagering on the Million Day program on Sunday.

Lion Tamer arrives for Lone Star 'Cap

Lion Tamer was one of eight horses who flew in on Friday. Their flight originated in New York, where Lion Tamer is based at Belmont, then picked up more horses in Kentucky. The horses rolled into the Lone Star backstretch at 1 p.m.

Lion Tamer will start as the highweight in the Lone Star. His stablemate Dubleo is in town for the Pin Oak, while others on the flight were Katdogawn, Marwood, and Tara's Touch for the WinStar; Hot Attraction and Forever Brilliant for the Stonerside; and Savorthetime for the Valid Expectations.

* Hall of Fame rider Jerry Bailey will be making the most out of his time at Lone Star. Not only does he have some top-flight mounts like Lion Tamer on Monday, he also will take time to promote his new book, "Against the Odds: Riding For My Life." Bailey will autograph copies of the book from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the first level of the grandstand at Lone Star.

* The California Horse Racing Board has mandated that horses traveling from Texas to California provide proof of a negative blood test for vesicular stomatitis, with the blood sample drawn while the horse is in Texas. Last week, two trail-riding horses in Travis County, four hours south of Dallas, were the first confirmed cases of vesicular stomatitis his year in Texas. The virus causes blisters around the mouth and hooves.