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Lone Star: Donoharm, Majestic Harbor enter Texas Mile off tough races
GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – Donoharm and Majestic Harbor appear to have a slight edge in a competitive edition of the Grade 3, $200,000 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park on Saturday, based on the company they kept in their most recent starts.
Donoharm hooked eventual Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap winner Cyber Secret in last month’s Grade 3 Razorback, while Majestic Harbor lined up against Graydar and Mark Valeski in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap.
The Texas Mile drew a field of six older horses, including millionaire Prayer for Relief and six-time stakes winner Good Lord. The race anchors the best card of the young Lone Star meet. There also are five allowances on the program, and they have drawn such stakes winners as Coyote Legend and Sister Ginger.
Donoharm had won five straight races heading into the Razorback at Oaklawn on March 9, a race in which he finished eighth. Cyber Secret, the winner, came back to take the Oaklawn Handicap with a Beyer Speed Figure of 108, while Atigun, who was third in the Razorback, was making his second start since running third in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Marathon.
“My first thought watching the race was, ‘Maybe he’s a tired horse,’ ” said Bret Calhoun, who trains Donoharm. “He’d run two huge races up there.”
But Calhoun said after talking with the horse’s regular rider, Cliff Berry, that he felt better about the Razorback. Donoharm was farther back than usual in a trip that was uncomfortable from the start after a pair of horses to his outside dropped in on him.
“He ate dirt for about five-eighths of a mile,” Calhoun said, also noting that horses on the front end fared better that day at Oaklawn. “On top of that, it was a very legitimate race.”
Calhoun said he’s drawn a line through that performance from Donoharm, who in his preceding two starts had won the Fifth Season and Essex stakes at Oaklawn.
“He’s been very sharp since then, trained very good, and I feel good about how he’s coming into this race,” he said.
Majestic Harbor was sixth in the New Orleans Handicap, won by Grade 1 Donn hero Graydar. Majestic Harbor set the pace to the later stages in the March 30 race and was beaten six lengths at 64-1. For the effort, he earned one of his best Beyers, a 93.
“For running sixth, it was a real good sixth, if that can make any sense,” trainer Paul McGee said. “I thought he ran a strong race. He didn’t chuck it late, and it was obviously a very solid race, with Graydar and Mark Valeski. He’s coming out of what I would have to think is a key race.”
Majestic Harbor came into the New Orleans Handicap off a sharp allowance win at Fair Grounds on March 1. The horse will break from post 2 under Lindey Wade.
“My guess is he’ll be on or close to the lead,” McGee said.
Prayer for Relief comes out of a key race, the Grade 3 Washington Park, in which he finished sixth last September at Arlington. Following the race, the winner, Middie, took a $100,000 optional claimer at Keeneland, and third-place finisher Pool Play won the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup. As for Prayer for Relief, he shows a smart series of works for his return Saturday.
“I expect him to show some speed,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “I think he’ll be very sharp off the layoff.”
Asmussen also will send out Master Rick, who enters off a dominant allowance win at Oaklawn.
“I think it was a much-needed confidence-builder,” Asmussen said. “And I loved the way he did it. He did it with style.”
Oaklawn leading rider Ricardo Santana Jr. was aboard Master Rick and has the mount again Saturday.
The Texas Mile is the first race in an owner-trainer bonus series that is tied to next month’s Lone Star Park Handicap and the Governor’s Cup at Remington Park in August.
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