11/10/2011 3:23PM

Lone Star: The Long Knife capable of turning tables in Texas Classic Futurity


There are reasons to believe The Long Knife could turn the tables on fastest qualifier Sixes Streak in Saturday night’s Grade 1, $1,158,941 Texas Classic Futurity for Quarter Horses at Lone Star Park.

The 400-yard race closes out the meet and is the richest stakes in Texas. It will share a program with the $335,631 Texas Classic Derby.

Sixes Streak and The Long Knife emerged as the two fastest horses among the 124 attempting to qualify for the Texas Classic on Oct. 22. They finished a half-length apart in their trial, with Sixes Streak getting 400 yards in 19.22 seconds and The Long Knife, in 19.29. The race was the first since Aug. 18 for The Long Knife.

“That horse came back awful good,” said Sleepy Gilbreath, who trains The Long Knife for Steve Denny. “It had been a while since he’d run and I think he was needing a race and didn’t get away just real, real sharp. The horse that beat him, he beat the gates and he was gone.

“With any racing luck at all, I look for this horse to run big.”

Alex Baldillez Jr. has the mount on The Long Knife, who in July was second in the Grade 1 Rainbow Futurity at Ruidoso Downs.

Sixes Streak, who took last month’s Grade 1, $414,045 Dash for Cash at Lone Star, on Saturday will be seeking his fifth straight win for trainer Heath Taylor.

Llano Teller and Cold Cash 123, who between them locked up the three Grade 1 derbies run this past summer at Ruidoso, clash in the Texas Classic Derby.

Llano Teller sits atop the American Quarter Horse Association’s national poll of 3-year-olds and up for his wins in the All American and Ruidoso derbies. He also was the fastest qualifier among 37 horses seeking a spot in the gate for the Texas Classic, which is expected to be his springboard to the Grade 1, $750,000 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos.

Cold Cash 123 took the Rainbow Derby at Ruidoso, and is a candidate for next month’s Grade 1 Championship at Sunland Park.

◗ Ochoa, who won the $2.4 million All American Futurity, is enjoying some turnout time and will be pointed to the rich derby series next summer at Ruidoso, said Gilbreath.

◗ Martha Claussen, a Q-Racing Ace with the AQHA, will be conducting a pre-race seminar with Lone Star handicappers Rick Lee and John Lies at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Claussen will also be handing out $2 betting vouchers while supplies last.

◗ Lone Star will hold drawings for $50 betting vouchers and gift cards Saturday as part of fan appreciation night. Registration closes at 7 p.m.