05/28/2011 2:59PM

Lone Star: Wasted Tears has tough assignment seeking three-peat in Ouija Board


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – The odds would seem to be against a mare trying to win the same graded race for the third year in a row following a six-month layoff. But when the mare is Wasted Tears, the task seems doable Monday in the Grade 3, $200,000 Ouija Board Distaff.

The Ouija Board, at a mile on turf for fillies and mares, is part of a card of six stakes worth $1 million at Lone Star Park. The Million Day program has been a Memorial Day staple for years, and Wasted Tears has been part of Texas’s richest Thoroughbred day of racing since 2009.

That’s when she won her first Ouija Board in a stakes-record time of 1:32.80. She delivered again in 2010, scoring a month and a half after defeating champion Forever Together in the Grade 2 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland. But this year, Wasted Tears won’t have recency in her favor. The Ouija Board will be her first start since Nov. 26, when she was second in the Grade 1 Matriarch at Hollywood Park. However, the long layoff is not new territory for Wasted Tears, who was freshened after the ship from her Texas base to California. Last season, she did win a race off an eight-month layoff.

“If you look back, she didn’t run from the 2009 Ouija Board to Gulfstream, from May to January,” said Bart Evans, who owns and trains Wasted Tears. “She is a year older. Is that going to have an effect? I can’t answer that. I am happy with the way she’s training. And she has never lied to me.”

Wasted Tears is 5 for 5 over the turf course at Lone Star. She draws well for her latest local appearance Monday, to the outside of perhaps her main pace rival, Sheer Beauty. Julien Leparoux has the mount from post 4.

Changing things up with Expansion

Expansion, a multiple graded stakes winner who has banked more than $500,000 on the grass, will make his first start over the Lone Star turf in the $150,000 Dallas Turf Cup. He comes into the race off a rare off-the-board finish in the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Churchill Downs. His trainer, Steve Asmussen, said it was the second time Expansion did not fire over the course in Louisville.

“I’ve run him twice at Churchill, and I’m just hoping he didn’t like the track,” he said. “He’s kind of an older, knows-what-he-wants or doesn’t-want kind of horse.

“I’m just trying to make him happy.”

Gerard Melancon will be reunited with Expansion, whom he guided to a close second-place finish in the Grade 2 Mervin Muniz at Fair Grounds in March. Other top contenders in the 1 1/16-mile race are Dean’s Kitten, winner of last year’s Grade 2 Lane’s End, and Schramsberg, who in January won the Grade 3 Connally Cup at Sam Houston.

Aide in sprint mode

Aide will be making her second straight sprint start in the $75,000 Cinemine. She comes into the seven furlong race for 3-year-old fillies off a fourth-place finish to Eclipse Award finalist Turbulent Descent in the Grade 2 Beaumont at Keeneland.

For that race, Aide cut back from a front-running effort in the $59,000 Mardi Gras at Fair Grounds, a two-turn race in which she was edged late at 4-5.

“She laid really close and was overly aggressive going long, so we decided to shorten her up,” said Al Stall Jr., who trains Aide.

Aide has a chance at a stalking trip, with three front-runners situated to her inside. Leparoux has the mount from post 6.

◗ Irish Gypsy can become a stakes winner in the $75,000 Valid Expectations after placing in three straight stakes in California.