04/12/2013 12:13PM

Lone Star: Triumph and Song headed to Kentucky


Triumph and Song didn’t literally run himself out of Texas in winning the Premiere Stakes on Thursday night at Lone Star, but he did earn himself a van trip up to Kentucky.

A day after Triumph and Song won the Premiere by 4 1/4 lengths, blitzing 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.45, trainer Bret Calhoun said the gelding would soon join him at Churchill Downs, where he bases his top horses. Once there, Calhoun said he would begin looking for another stakes race for Triumph and Song, although he said he would be reluctant to bring him back in the Grade 2, $400,000 Churchill Downs on Derby Day going seven furlongs.

“I don’t know if we want to throw him to the wolves right away,” he said.

Nevertheless, Calhoun remains excited about Triumph and Song’s year, which has resulted in three consecutive sprint victories, all in fast time. As a result of that short-distance success, Calhoun said he would be inclined to keep Triumph and Song in one-turn races, making a quick return appearance in the April 27 Texas Mile at Lone Star going two turns highly unlikely.

Triumph and Song’s victory in the Premiere gave Calhoun his second consecutive victory in the race following Gold Element’s score in 2012, and his third since 2010, when Coyote Legend won the race.

Eramia shuffling between tracks

With the Louisiana Downs meet not set to begin until May 3, the Lone Star jocks’ room is a bit more crowded than it will be later this spring and summer, with jockeys Richard Eramia and Jamie Theriot competing at Lone Star before heading to Louisiana Downs.

Each rider won a race Thursday night, with Theriot riding Triumph and Song to victory and Eramia riding High Lover to victory in the day’s third race, a maiden claimer.

Eramia will be bouncing from track to track in the coming days. He was set to ride Illusion Confusion in the last race at Oaklawn Park on Friday, before heading to Keeneland to ride Gantry in the Commonwealth at Keeneland on Saturday, and then returning back to Lone Star to ride longshot Philogyny in the fourth race Sunday.

Eramia will then have a couple days to catch his breath before riding at Evangeline Downs on Wednesday and Thursday.

Opening night handle down

A sizable crowd of 8,515 attended Thursday night’s opening at Lone Star, although attendance was still down 4 percent from last year’s opening day, according to Equibase figures.

Last year 8,874 attended the meet opener, betting $382,515 ontrack. Handle was $328,051 Thursday night, more than a 14 percent decline from last year.

No turf racing and relatively short fields – which averaged 8.1 starters per race opening night – likely contributed to the drop in ontrack handle.

Evans, Flores poised to make impact

Two newcomers to Lone Star, trainer Justin Evans and jockey Eswan Flores, could make a splash in the co-featured eighth race Sunday, a first-level allowance for Texas-breds at seven furlongs.

They team up with Jax’s Daddy, a 4-year-old gelding claimed by Evans for owner Judge Lanier Racing for $15,000 at Sunland Park on Feb. 10. Last time out, he was second in a nonwinners-of-three allowance first time off the claim for Evans on March 5.

Evans, a regular on the New Mexico circuit, is the eighth-leading trainer in the country by victories with 47 heading into Friday.

Flores, meanwhile, shifted his tack from California after winning just five races in 2013. In 2012, he had been the leading apprentice rider on the Southern California circuit before landing a 60-day suspension.

His suspension was a result of testing positive for metabolites of cocaine, according to a California Horse Racing Board ruling issued in September. Flores vehemently denied that he took cocaine.

Flores rode four horses Thursday night, with two of his mounts finishing third, including one for Evans, who had a single starter.