05/01/2012 2:08PM

Lone Star Park: Endorsement, Canonize could clash again in Lone Star Handicap

Reed Palmer Photography
Endorsement earned a 102 Beyer Speed Figure for his win in the Texas Mile.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – Endorsement and Canonize are both being considered for a start in the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap on May 28. The horses finished a respective one-two last Saturday in the Grade 3, $200,000 Texas Mile, a race Endorsement won by two lengths with a career-high Beyer Figure of 102.

Endorsement returned to his Keeneland base on Sunday, with his next course of action still being determined, said Eoin Harty, who trains the horse for Bill Casner. But the Lone Star, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and up that serves as the richest stakes of the meet, is in the conversation.

“It’s definitely a consideration,” said Harty.

And while immediate plans are still being formed, Harty said the summer objective for the horse remains a Grade 1 at Saratoga, the options being the Whitney or Woodward. Each race is run over 1 1/8 miles, with a purse of $750,000. The Whitney is on Aug. 4, and the Woodward, Sept. 1. Harty said as a long-term objective, he would like to see Endorsement develop into a candidate for next spring’s Dubai World Cup, a race the trainer won in 2009 with Well Armed, who was co-owned by Casner.

In the Texas Mile, the front-running Endorsement showed a different dimension when he rallied from off the pace after being bothered at the start. He stalked the leaders along the inside, then angled off the rail on the final turn en route to covering the distance on a fast track in 1:36.60.

“I was really, really impressed with how he kicked it in,” Harty said. “It’s hard to sit down inside and take dirt like that and then come wide and run them down. More horses get beat than win that way. And Canonize got the jump on him. So he really had to dig down and find what good horses find.”

The Texas Mile was the second stakes start for Endorsement, who won the Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Park Derby in March 2010. He was sidelined following that race, and returned to action last December at Gulfstream Park.

“We took a year and a half to rehab this horse. He had a condylar fracture,” said Casner. “We just gave him the time that he needed to come back. It’s been a long, slow path. But the time is worth it. He ran an incredibly gritty race.”

Canonize was the favorite Saturday off a sharp win in the $71,000 Santana Mile at Santa Anita. He stalked the pace in the Texas Mile, took the lead in the stretch, then was overtaken by Endorsement. Canonize earned a Beyer of 98.

“Post eight cost us,” said Ron Ellis, who trains Canonize for Jay Em Ess Stable. “He had a pretty wide trip the whole way. He was three wide on the first turn and four wide on the second turn.”

Ellis said Canonize flew back to Southern California on Sunday, with next-race plans to be determined. He said the Lone Star Handicap would “certainly be a consideration” for the horse, whom he feels has stepped up his game since moving to dirt in February.

The Texas Mile was the first leg of a new triple that is completed by the Lone Star Handicap and the $200,000 Governor’s Cup at Remington Park. There is a $20,000 owner-trainer bonus available to the connections of the horse who earns the most points for finishes in all three of the races. The stakes are at tracks owned by Global Gaming.