04/11/2012 1:04PM

Lone Star: Aces N Kings attempts to regain form in turf sprint


There is a perception, whether accurate or not, that when a track is fighting to preserve its purse account, a racing office will do its best to card its cheapest races whenever possible, and avoid using richer allowance races.

Well, no one can say that’s what the Lone Star Park racing office did for its Friday evening program, where three of the nine races are allowances.

The three allowances come in succession in the middle of the evening – beginning in race 4 with a second-level allowance with a $30,000 claiming option, followed by a Texas-bred nonwinners-of-two allowance, and rounded out by a money allowance for turf sprinters that has a $50,000 claiming condition attached.

The latter race, a five-furlong sprint, is the richest race, carrying a $24,000 purse and drawing some horses with stakes experience.

The most accomplished of the seven entrants is multiple stakes winner Aces N Kings, a winner of 6 of 16 starts and more than $227,000. A versatile runner, he has won four races on dirt, and two on grass, managed over a variety of distances.

Although he has never won on the grass at Lone Star Park, Aces N Kings is no stranger to the winner’s circle there. As a 2-year-old in 2010, he finished the meet unbeaten, going 3 for 3 on dirt, capped by a victory in the TTA Sales Futurity.

Later in the summer of his 2-year-old year, Aces N Kings would win the Minstrel Stakes at five furlongs and the Sunny’s Halo Stakes at a mile, with both races coming on grass at Louisiana Downs.

Since then, however, Aces N Kings has gone just 1 for 11, with his one victory coming in the restricted Groovy Stakes for Texas-breds at Sam Houston in January 2011.

Aces N Kings, a 4-year-old gelded son of Jet Phone, was second last out in a seven-furlong allowance at Delta Downs on Feb. 23. Owned and trained by Jimmy Dale Dodwell, he races for a $50,000 claiming price. Larry Taylor rides.

The opposition is headed by 5-2 morning line-favorite Perfect Parker, a five-furlong winner of an optional claiming race at Sam Houston on March 5; veteran turf sprinter Her Man; and Col. Wright, who is returned to his best surface on grass after being soundly beaten in the Maxxam Gold Cup on dirt at Sam Houston on March 3.