04/20/2011 3:58PM

Lone Star: Texas Mile has tough California invader

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Gladding, with Rafael Bejarano riding, wins the San Antonio at Santa Anita.

Continuing a trend seen throughout the country this year of short fields in races for older, male dirt route horses, Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park drew only five when entries were taken Wednesday.

As expected, among the lineup are the Steve Asmussen-trained duo of Friesan Fire and Thiskyhasnolimit, whom will break alongside each other as uncoupled wagering interests in posts 4 and 5.

Joining them, from the rail out, are Kate’s Main Man, the Essex Handicap winner at Oaklawn Feb. 13; 3-year-old Dreaminofthewin, runner-up in the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Jan. 17; and Southern California invader Gladding, who won the Grade 2 San Antonio at Santa Anita Feb. 6 before finishing 10th in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap on Mar. 5.

Gladding has history on his side. California shippers have won three of the last five Texas Miles – first with Preachinatthebar in 2006, then by Monterey Jazz in 2008, and most recently Mythical Power last year.

Gladding’s trainer, John Sadler, expects a top effort from his horse, who has recorded three bullet works from his last four drills at Hollywood Park.

“I like this horse a lot,” John Sadler said. “Hopefully we can go over there and do some damage.”

Gladding will carry high weight of 123 pounds under the race’s allowance conditions. Jon Court rides.

Other Texas Mile rider assignments are Cliff Berry on Kate’s Main Man, Luis Quinonez on Dreaminofthewin, Gabe Saez on Friesan Fire, and Justin Shepherd on Thiskyhasnolimit.

Supporting the Texas Mile on Lone Star’s 10-race Saturday card are a pair of $50,000 stakes on the grass: the $50,000 Grand Prairie Turf Challenge and the $50,000 Irving Distaff.

The one-mile Grand Prairie drew attracted seven, led by Baltimore Bob and Skip A Smile. Besides those two, other stakes winners in the Grand Prairie include Deputiformer and Lee’s Spirit.

The deepest of the three stakes is the Irving Distaff at 7 1/2 furlongs, which drew 12 fillies and mares, including a three-horse coupled entry of Slide On Bye, Ava Mae and Sugar Added, all trained by Francisco Bravo.

Sheer Beauty, a graded-placed Mizzen Mast filly coming off an open allowance victory at Delta Downs, should vie for favoritism with the three-horse entry.

As of midafternoon Wednesday, the weather forecast called for partly sunny skies Saturday in Grand Prairie, with a 30 percent chance of isolated thunderstorms. The high temperature is expected to be in the upper 80s.