04/12/2012 3:50PM

Lone Star: Nurse Goodnight taking on older rivals in JEH Stallion


Trainers typically avoid running 3-year-olds against older foes in stakes races until autumn, opting to run them instead in races restricted to their age division. The exceptions come when a 3-year-old has that extra something that suggests they can tackle older foes, or when stakes conditions just fit the 3-year-old too well to give it a pass.

As it applies to Saturday’s $50,000 JEH Stallion Stakes Saturday at Lone Star Park, Nurse Goodnight, a 3-year-old filly, fits both qualifications.

She is maturing and talented filly, trainer Allen Milligan said, and the JEH Stallion Stakes provides an opportunity to race in a stakes for Texas-breds, even if it means matching up with older, more experienced rivals.

“They’re going to have to run to outrun her, I think,” said Milligan. “I wasn’t concerned about facing older mares. I think she can win if she does her job.”

She did her job well this winter and spring at Oaklawn, at least on dry racetracks. She won a maiden race there Jan. 20 and an allowance Mar. 29, with a fourth-place finish in the slop sandwiched in between.

Those races marked a significant improvement upon her 2011 form, when she was twice third in 4 1/2-furlong dashes for 2-year-olds at Lone Star last spring.

Nurse Goodnight, although listed in past performances as owned by Milligan, is actually owned by his fiancée, former Lone Star assistant racing secretary Jeanette Hughes, who selected her at a yearling sale two years ago for $5,500, Milligan said.

Lindey Wade rides.

Slightly favored in the JEH Stallion Stakes is Joy’s Paradise at 7-2, a tick below Nurse Goodnight at 4-1 on the morning line.

Joy’s Paradise is a multiple stakes winner and has made more than $240,000 in winning 10 of 31 starts. She won twice this winter at Sam Houston, including the Yellow Rose Stakes in January. She was fifth in her last race when competing on turf.