04/30/2013 3:02PM

Lone Star: Different approach helps Master Rick capture Texas Mile

Reed Palmer Photography
Master Rick earned a career-best 105 Beyer Speed Figure for his win in the Texas Mile.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – The Grade 3, $200,000 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park last Saturday was a defining race for Master Rick and a productive one for his stablemate, Prayer for Relief. The Steve Asmussen trainees finished a respective one-two, with Master Rick earning a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 105, and Prayer for Relief a 103 in his first start since September.

Master Rick stalked the pace and rallied for a 1 1/4-length win in the Texas Mile, his first graded score and second in a stakes behind last year’s Northern Spur at Oaklawn. It was in the Northern Spur that Master Rick gave a glimpse of his promise, as he defeated a field that included Grade 1 winner Drill while earning a Beyer Figure of 99. But Master Rick would not win again until a February allowance at Oaklawn, a race he dominated and one that set him up for the Texas Mile.

“Last year I made a mistake at Oaklawn,” Asmussen said. “I got ambitious. He did not have enough time off a fast race in the Northern Spur when he went to the Peter Pan, and then the Matt Winn. It was too much too soon.

“This year, we got back winning at Oaklawn, and when we [saw what we had] the obvious spot was the Texas Mile.”

Master Rick closed with a rush to win in 1:36, over a distance owner Richard L. Davis and Asmussen say is the horse’s best. Master Rick’s next move is to be determined, said Asmussen.

“He’ll stay here for the immediate future,” he said.

As for Prayer for Relief, the Texas Mile served as his springboard to the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on May 27. He tracked the pace in second in the Texas Mile, a race in which the multiple Grade 2 winner was favored in his first start since finishing sixth in the Washington Park Handicap at Arlington on Sept. 1.

“He was steady, stayed on to the end,” said Asmussen.

Asmussen said the ideal comeback race for Prayer for Relief would have been an allowance that was to be run Tuesday at Churchill Downs, but rather than risk the race not filling, the decision was made to enter in the Texas Mile. With the start Saturday, he remains on course for the Lone Star Handicap.

“This gives us a month,” Asmussen said. “As the races stretch out, with his running style, he’s so effective at a mile and a sixteenth, a mile and an eighth.”

Prayer for Relief races for Zayat Stables.

Master Rick gave Asmussen his second win in the Texas Mile behind Thiskyhasnolimit in 2011.

Plans pending for Good Lord

Good Lord, who finished third in the Texas Mile after setting the pace to the later stages, is back home at Churchill with plans for his next start to be determined, said his trainer, Forrest Kaelin.

“He ran a good race, came out of it in real good shape,” Kaelin said. “Right now, we’ll play it by ear, find a spot, see if there’s something coming up here at Churchill Downs.”

Good Lord was making a rare start around two turns in the Texas Mile and is not likely to return for the Lone Star Handicap.

“I think he’s best at seven-eighths,” Kaelin said. “He will go a mile, if it comes up right. He’s won going a mile before. But I think he’s at his best seven-eighths of a mile, and at a one-turn mile, he’d be good, too.”

Good Lord, a 6-year-old by Greatness, is a multiple stakes winner of $498,609.

Abbreviated card Thursday

Lone Star, which has been unable to use its turf course, has carded just eight races for Thursday night’s program. The track will revert to its typical nine-race program for Friday.

Lone Star’s course has not experienced the growth anticipated due to cooler-than-normal temperatures this season. Officials said the track expects to be back racing on turf May 9.

◗ Carve, the third-place finisher in the Arkansas Derby, is being pointed for the $100,000 Matt Winn at 1 1/16 miles at Churchill Downs on June 15, said his trainer, Asmussen.