05/29/2013 2:43PM

Lone Star Park: Master Rick a force to be reckoned with after Lone Star Handicap victory

Reed Palmer Photography
Master Rick is on a three-race winning streak: a one-mile allowance at Oaklawn, the Grade 3, $200,000 Texas Mile, and on Monday the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – Master Rick has developed into an older horse of note over the past several months, and on Wednesday his connections were still determining the next move to be made with the horse, who knocked out his third straight win in Monday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap.

“We’ve made no decision whatsoever,” said Steve Asmussen, who trains Master Rick for Richard L. Davis.

Master Rick began his streak in February, in a one-mile allowance at Oaklawn. His connections then awaited the Grade 3, $200,000 Texas Mile in April, and he dominated, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 105. From there, Master Rick won the Lone Star Handicap, driving to a one-length win over millionaire and stablemate Prayer for Relief.

“That’s three big races in a row, so we’ll definitely evaluate where we’re at with him, and what’s best for him,” Asmussen said.

“We’ll evaluate how much this took out of him.”

Asmussen said Master Rick was tired following his win Monday, but noted the local weather has been a plus for the horse, who for the past few months has been based in Texas.

“We’ve been very, very fortunate this year with how cool it’s stayed,” Asmussen said. “I remember when Thiskyhasnolimit won the Texas Mile and we ran back in the [Lone Star] handicap, you could tell he was a little dry because of how hot it had been. Just a little bit.

“And I know they’re two different horses, but Master Rick, I think the cooler temperatures we’ve had this late in the spring has definitely helped. His weight looked great in the paddock [Monday]. Off of his lifetime-best [race], I thought his weight looked excellent.”

Thiskyhasnolimit in 2011 was fifth to Awesome Gem in the Lone Star Handicap, annually the richest race of the meet and one Asmussen, the all-time leading trainer at Lone Star, won for the first time Monday. In the winner’s circle the trainer was flanked by his wife, Julie, their sons, and Asmussen’s mother, Marilyn.

“Those are the things that matter a lot,” Asmussen said of the family time he had at his home track Monday.

Prayer for Relief to Cornhusker

Prayer for Relief, who was making his second start off a layoff in the Lone Star Handicap, will head to Prairie Meadows for his next start, Asmussen said Wednesday. The horse is being pointed for the Grade 3, $300,000 Cornhusker at 1 1/8 miles June 29.

Down the line, Prayer for Relief, as well as Master Rick, will be considered for the $200,000 Governor’s Cup, a 1 1/8-mile race to be held at Remington Park in August.

“I think that both horses are a possibility for the Governor’s Cup,” Asmussen said.

Prayer for Relief was second by a nose in last year’s Governor’s Cup, which was won by Alternation.

The Governor’s Cup is the final leg of the second annual Global Gaming Triple. The bonus series links the major stakes for older horses at Lone Star and Remington, which are both owned by Global Gaming. The horse who earns the most points for his finishes in the three races will reward his connections with a $15,000 bonus to be split equally between owner and trainer. A horse must compete in all three legs to earn the bonus.

Master Rick, with 10 points, and Prayer for Relief, with six, are the lone horses eligible for this year’s bonus by virtue of their starts in the Texas Mile and Lone Star Handicap. Last year, the bonus was won by Get in Da House.

◗ Omnitap, a 12-length maiden special weight winner at Lone Star on April 14, advances to a first-level allowance for Friday night’s eighth race. It will be run over 1 1/16 miles on turf. Omnitap is a 3-year-old half-sister to turf stakes winner Classify.