04/28/2012 6:38PM

Lone Star Park: Endorsement captures Texas Mile and targets Saratoga

Reed Palmer Photography
Endorsement, ridden by Robby Albarado, captures the Texas Mile.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Endorsement took a step toward establishing himself in the older horse ranks Saturday with an authoritative, two-length win over Canonize in the Grade 3, $200,000 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park. Later this summer, Endorsement could see action in the Whitney or Woodward at Saratoga, said his trainer, Eoin Harty.

Endorsement ($7) was making his first stakes start since winning the Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Park Derby as a 3-year-old in March of 2010. He settled in fourth, racing along the rail as Lydia’s Last Step and Hurricane Ike dueled through fractions of 23.70 seconds for the opening quarter and 46.97 for the half-mile. Endorsement continued to race along the fence to midway on the final turn, when his rider, Robby Albarado, moved him out and went after the leader at that point, Canonize. Endorsement overtook him and covered the distance in 1:36.69. Get in Da House finished third, a length and three-quarters behind Canonize.

Endorsement came into the Texas Mile off a front-running allowance score in track-record time at Gulfstream Park but was farther off the pace than expected after being bothered at the start Saturday.

“I did have instructions to just go on and send him away from there,” said Albarado. “Obviously, circumstances dictated otherwise. A few other ones busted out quicker than him, so at that point I had to call an audible there in the first turn and just be patient, save some ground. I stayed in there a lot longer than I wanted to essentially, but when I got out he responded well and grunted it out to the wire.”

Bill Casner, who races Endorsement, and Harty were both pleased with the effort. Harty said the horse would be shipped back to Keeneland on Sunday, with the longterm plan to target Grade 1 competition at Saratoga. The options are the Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney at a mile and an eighth Aug. 4 and the Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward, also at a mile and an eighth, Sept. 1.

“I would like to choose my spots carefully between now and the summer, and hopefully have him at his absolute optimum for a Grade 1 in the summer,” Harty said.

Endorsement earned $110,000 for his win in the Texas Mile to bring his career totals to four wins from eight starts for earnings of $585,833.