05/27/2013 7:36PM

Lone Star Park: Master Rick prevails in Lone Star Park Handicap

Reed Palmer Photography
Master Rick wins the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap to extend his winning streak to three races.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – Master Rick keeps getting better. He won his third straight race Monday in the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap when he stepped outside his comfort zone and conquered 1 1/16 miles. The race was the richest of the meet at Lone Star Park.

Master Rick established himself as a miler of note this spring, beginning with a powerful allowance win at the distance in February at Oaklawn Park. He advanced to the Grade 3, $200,000 Texas Mile at Lone Star on April 27 and popped a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 105 when winning over comebacking millionaire and stablemate Prayer for Relief.

On Monday, Master Rick trumped himself, said his trainer, Steve Asmussen. 

“I think the Texas Mile set up perfectly for him,” Asmussen said. “He got a dream trip at his exact distance, coming off a win. But I think it’s a completely different thing to beat Prayer for Relief at a mile and a sixteenth when he’s got a race in him. I mean, that’s running.

“I did think he was going to have trouble beating Prayer for Relief today. He had to run that good to do it.”

Master Rick ($4.20) raced in third in the early stages of the Texas Mile, as Isn’t He Clever set the pace, carrying a tracking Prayer for Relief wide into the first turn. Isn’t He Clever doled out fractions of 24.05 seconds for the opening quarter and 47.31 for the half-mile before Prayer for Relief came to him through six furlongs in 1:10.96.

At the top of the stretch, Master Rick moved to the lead with authority and went on to a one-length win over Prayer for Relief, who was coming back on at the end. Master Rick covered the distance on a fast track in 1:42.09 under regular rider Ricardo Santana Jr.

Master Rick gave Asmussen, the all-time leading trainer at Lone Star, his first victory in the meet’s most lucrative race. The win was the biggest career score for Master Rick, who picked up a first-place check of $195,750 for owner Richard L. Davis. Master Rick has won 5 of 17 starts and earned $547,113. He is a 4-year-old by Master Command and was bred in Florida by English Ranch Farm.

Formaggio finished third, 14 1/2 lengths behind Prayer for Relief. Isn’t He Clever was fourth in the field that shrunk to four following the scratch of Battle Hardened.

Attendance on Monday was 10,089.