05/24/2013 3:37PM

Lone Star Park Handicap has Isn’t He Clever as major threat

Coady Photography
Isn’t He Clever shows a bullet five-furlong work in 59 seconds May 12.

Isn’t He Clever, who set a track record in his most recent start, appears to be the chief threat to the Steve Asmussen-trained pair of Prayer for Relief and Master Rick in Monday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap. The 1 1/16-mile race was drawn on Friday, with the five-horse field completed by Formaggio and Battle Hardened.

Isn’t He Clever last raced on March 24, and established a Sunland Park record for 6 1/2 furlongs when he won the $75,000 Bill Thomas Memorial in 1:13.45. Following the race he was pointed for the Grade 3, $200,000 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park, but he missed the race and was rerouted to the Lone Star Park Handicap.

“We skipped the Texas Mile,” said Henry Dominguez, who trains Isn’t He Clever for J. Kirk and Judy Robison. “He had a little issue come up, and we thought it was best not to run him in there and wait for this race. He’s done really well. He’s been training at Lone Star.”

Isn’t He Clever shows a bullet five-furlong work in 59 seconds May 12 in one of his final preps for the Lone Star Park Handicap. He will break from post 2 under jockey Jamie Theriot.

“We prefer to have an outside post, but you can’t have everything you want,” Dominguez said. “He’s got tactical speed, and I’m sure Theriot will put him where he needs to be.”

Theriot’s familiarity with the track at Lone Star is one of the reasons he will be teaming with Isn’t He Clever with the first time Monday.

“He rides that racetrack well,” Dominguez said. “He knows it.”

Master Rick won the Texas Mile in his last start April 27. He earned a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 105, and is the 118-pound starting highweight on Monday. Ricardo Santana Jr. has the mount for Richard L. Davis and Asmussen.

Prayer for Relief was second in the Texas Mile in his first start since last September. He is weighted at 117. Brian Hernandez Jr., who won last year’s $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic aboard Fort Larned, has the mount for Zayat Stables and Asmussen.

The complete field from the rail with riders and weights is: Formaggio, Roman Chapa, 111; Isn’t He Clever, Theriot, 116; Master Rick, Santana, 118; Prayer for Relief, Hernandez, 117; Battle Hardened, Cliff Berry, 113.

Battle Hardened, who in 2012 won the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs, is now owned by Lane Seliger and trained by Justin Evans. Evans was four wins from his 1,000th career Thoroughbred training victory heading into Friday night’s card at Lone Star.

The Lone Star Park Handicap will go as the 10th of 11th races, with a scheduled post of 5:47 p.m. Central. The forecast for Monday is partly cloudy skies and a high of 87 degrees. The race is the richest offering of the meet at Lone Star.

Arapahoe: First stakes of meet

The stakes program at Arapahoe Park in Aurora, Colo., gets underway on Sunday with the $40,000 Inaugural. The six-furlong race for 3-year-olds drew a field of 11.

Clone will be cutting back to one turn following a runner-up finish in the $35,000 SunRay Park Casino Handicap May 4. He was hung wide in the one-mile race one start after taking a maiden special weight at 5 1/2 furlongs at Sunland Park.

Kelly Bridges has the mount for Richard Lueck and trainer Gary Cross.

A Drop Dead Diva will be taking on colts in the race. She won a $30,000 maiden-claiming sprint at Santa Anita in her career debut March 1, and after running second and third in a pair of $40,000 starter allowances at the Southern California track made her way to Turf Paradise. She enters the Inaugural off a runner-up finish in a nonwinners-of-two allowance there May 4. Russell Vicchrilli has the mount for William Matthews and trainer Kevin Eikleberry.

◗ Louisiana Downs on Friday began offering a 50-cent minimum on pick three wagers, according to track officials. The previous minimum had been $1. The track received approval for the change on Thursday from the Louisiana Racing Commission.

◗ Taptowne, the Oaklawn Handicap runner-up, had been nominated to the Lone Star Park Handicap but is instead being pointed for the $250,000 Mountainview at Penn National on June 1, said his trainer, Tim Glyshaw.

◗ Jockeys and exercise riders based at Louisiana Downs will be riding camels and ostriches in two exhibition races at the track Monday. The exotic animals will run after the third and sixth races and the events will be simulcast, said Louisiana Downs director of operations, Trent McIntosh.