06/09/2011 12:49PM

Lone Star Park: Lil Cherokee hot off debut victory


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – Lil Cherokee could become the latest stakes winner for his dam, Western Lil, on Saturday, when he starts as the probable favorite in the $100,000 colts and geldings division of the Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity at Lone Star Park.

The five-furlong race will share a card with the $100,000 fillies division of the TTA Sales Futurity. This is the first year there were no trials, and had there been overflow entries, first preference would have been gone to horses with the highest earnings. As it stands, each field drew nine runners.

Lil Cherokee won his career debut in dominant fashion May 12, when he dueled and went on to a 3 1/2-length win in that maiden special weight at Lone Star. He now seeks to become the fourth foal from Western Lil to experience stakes success, and he does share some of his family’s traits.

“He is a big-bodied horse . . . a big, strong, beautiful horse,” said Bret Calhoun, who trains Lil Cherokee. “I’ve trained most of his siblings – at least three of them: Valid Lil, Be a Resident and Western Forum. He is a strong, good-looking colt, probably the best mover out of that group.”

Be A Resident won the TTA Sales Futurity in his second career start in 2006. Western Forum was fifth in the 2009 running, but during the same Lone Star meet ran second in the $125,000 Texas Stallion Stakes and third in the $67,000 Middleground. Valid Lil, meanwhile, was a multiple stakes winner at 4.

Ed Few bred all three horses, as well as Lil Cherokee, who is a son of Cherokee Run.

“I know Ed’s loved this colt since he was a baby,” Calhoun said. “We’ve really liked him, too.”

Cliff Berry has the mount from post 6.

The chief threat could be Bucktown, who invades for trainer Bernie Flint. He won his debut in a $50,000 maiden claiming sprint at Churchill Downs on May 3, and since then two horses he defeated have come back to win maiden races.

In the fillies division, Shocktime will attempt to build off her nine-length debut win at Lone Star on April 23. “I thought she was very impressive,” said Calhoun.

Trainer Steve Asmussen, who has won the fillies division eight times, will counter with Magic Moondust, who was third in a maiden special weight at Churchill in her debut May 27.