07/07/2012 5:59PM

Lone Star Park: The Drifter dominates male division of Texas Stallion Stakes


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - The Drifter has been one of the most impressive maiden winners at the current Lone Star Park meet, and when he made his second career start Saturday he backed up his form by rolling to a seven-length win in the $75,000 colts and geldings division of the Texas Stallion Stakes.

The Stallion Stakes, a 5 1/2-furlong sprint for 2-year-olds, was the first of four restricted stakes on the penultimate card of the Lone Star meet. The races were worth a cumulative $300,000.

The Drifter ($4.60) was part of a three-way battle with Worldventurer and Estrickator, with the trio going through fractions of 22.32 seconds for the opening quarter and 45.58 for the half-mile. In the stretch, The Drifter darted clear to cover the distance on a track rated fast in 1:03.78.

“He shot away from them,” said Cliff Berry, who was aboard The Drifter. “I was impressed with him.”

Cody Autrey trains The Drifter for Charles Fletcher, who earlier this meet purchased the horse privately from Gilbert Ciavaglia, the horse’s original owner and trainer who died in June after a four-year battle with leukemia. Autrey said Saturday’s win was bittersweet. 

“Something unfortunate happened for us to be fortunate,” he said.

“It’s one of those things it’s enjoyable [to win], but I just as soon like to see Gilbert win with this horse. Gilbert was a friend of mine.”

Ciavaglia sent out The Drifter to a 1 1/2-length maiden special weight score May 6, and for the effort the horse earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 76. He was later flattered, when the third-place finisher from the race, Desert Ransom, came back to win his maiden with one of the year’s higher Beyers for a 2-year-old, an 86, then also captured the $50,000 Minstrel at Louisiana Downs.

Autrey said next-race plans for The Drifter are to be determined. With the Lone Star meet ending, the horse will head to Autrey’s division at Remington Park in Oklahoma City.

Berry also won the second stakes on the card Saturday, the $50,000 Assault, with Coyote Legend. It was the horse’s eighth career stakes win, and he comfortably held off a determined stretch bid from Safe Range for a 1 1/4-length win. It was another 11 lengths back in third to Cool Hand Val, who edged fourth-place finisher Skip a Smile.

Coyote Legend ($3) moved to the lead soon after the start of the one-mile race for 3-year-olds up bred in Texas, and set fractions of 24.23 for the opening quarter and 48.16 for the half-mile while pushed along by Cougar Hollow. Coyote Legend shook his pace foe into the final turn, opened up on the field, and then held a comfortable advantage while pursued by Safe Range. Coyote Legend covered the distance in 1:36.79.

Bret Calhoun trains Coyote Legend for breeder Clarence Scharbauer Jr. 

** Platinum Song ($21.40) won her maiden in the $75,000 fillies division of the Texas Stallion Stakes when she caught Falling Star near the wire for a neck score. It was another five lengths back in third to Thibodaux. Platinum Star rallied from off a hot pace set by Thibodaux and Falling Star to cover the 5 1/2 furlongs for 2-year-olds in 1:05.32. Glen Murphy rode the winner for Scott Brown and trainer Danny Pish.

** Early M ($53.60) won her fourth straight race and first off the claim when she held off Dixie Dust by a neck in the $50,000 Valor Farm for fillies and mares bred in Texas. The winner, ridden by Jose Medina, covered six furlongs in 1:11.52. Early M was an $8,000 claim on June 17. She was making her first start for the partnership of Kathy L. Stephens and Frank Nieschwietz and trainer Ralph Arnold Jr.