04/25/2012 2:52PM

Lone Star: Endorsement steps up for Texas Mile

Barbara D. Livingston
Endorsement will step back into stakes company for Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – Endorsement will be returning to graded stakes competition for the first time since 2010 on Saturday, when he runs in the Grade 3, $200,000 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park. The race for 3-year-olds and up drew a field of 10 when entries were taken Wednesday. Endorsement will break from post 3, under Robby Albarado.

“I think it’s a great spot,” trainer Eoin Harty said of the draw. “Going a mile, you don’t want to be too far out, don’t want to be hung wide into the first turn. I’ve got no complaints at all.”

The Texas Mile will be Endorsement’s first stakes start since he won the Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Derby on March 28, 2010. The horse has raced three times since, finishing second in pair of second-level allowances at Gulfstream Park this past December and January before winning at that level in his most recent start Feb. 1.

“His last race was his best race to date for me,” said Harty, who began training Endorsement in 2011. “He set a track record. He was very game. He’s a very nice horse, very competitive, and he’s talented. That makes a big difference.”

Endorsement won the1 1/16-mile allowance at Gulfstream in 1:42.35, the fastest time for the distance since the track brought back races at the trip in 2011. The horse then came under consideration for a handful of different stakes.

“We had him nominated to several spots that came up pretty salty,” Harty said. “Obviously, this is a step up in class from the allowance, but we’re still not throwing him to the wolves just yet.

“It just seems to be the perfect race at the right time.”

Harty said it didn’t hurt that owner Bill Casner is a resident of North Texas.

“It’s his home track,” Harty said.

Endorsement was to van in from Keeneland on Thursday. He is part of a diverse Texas Mile field as the race drew runners who last competed in Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Texas.

The complete field from the rail with riders is Lydia’s Last Step, Bryan McNeil; Fifteen Love, Junior Chacaltana; Endorsement; Get in Da House, Don Simington; Oak Motte, Lindey Wade; Moonshine Mullin, Luis Quinonez; Hurricane Ike, James Graham; Canonize, Victor Espinoza; Coyote Legend, Cliff Berry; and Omniscient, Roman Chapa.

Moonshine Mullin will remove blinkers. The Texas Mile will go as the eighth race, with a post of 4:51 p.m. Central. The high Saturday is forecast to be 85 degrees, with a 30 percent chance of isolated thunderstorms, according to weather.com.