04/21/2011 4:33PM

Lone Star's Texas Mile a shot at redemption for Gladding


Coming off a victory in the Grade 2 San Antonio, Gladding started in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap on March 4 as the third choice at 11-1 odds. But as he headed into the first turn of the 1 1/4-mile race, most of his backers probably knew they might as well tear up their win tickets.

Breaking from post 3 in a deep field, Gladding fell behind as horses from the inside came crashing down on him early to secure position. Placed in tight, he became eager behind horses and ultimately grew discouraged, fading to 10th.

Matched against four horses in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park, Gladding has his chance for redemption. He faces Kate’s Main Man, Dreaminofthewin, Friesan Fire, and Thiskyhasnolimit.

A poor trip shouldn’t be an excuse. If Friesan Fire and Kate’s Main Man show their customary speed, Gladding should secure a more favorable, outside pressing position.

Trainer John Sadler said his horse has trained superbly in recent weeks at Hollywood Park after coming out of the Big Cap “a little crampy, a little stiff.” Before being shipped to Lone Star this week, Gladding, a 4-year-old gelded son of Zarava, worked six furlongs at Hollywood Park on April 17 in a bullet 1:11.

Kentucky-based Jon Court − who won the Texas Mile in 2006 on Preachinatthebar, one of three California-based horses to win this race over the last five years – comes in for the mount. Court teamed with Sadler to win the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby last year with Line Of David.

Gladding is the 6-5 favorite on the morning line, and right behind him is Thiskyhasnolimit at 7-5. He also wintered at Santa Anita, where he was sixth in the Grade 1 Malibu and fourth as the favorite in the Grade 1 Malibu. He then shipped to Oaklawn, where he ran second to stablemate It Happened Again in the Grade 3 Razorback on March 12.

Justin Shepherd rides Thiskyhasnolimit, who, in two highlights from last year, won the $300,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx Racing and ran second in the Grade 2 Indiana Derby to Lookin At Lucky.

Uncoupled entrymate Friesan Fire, the 2009 Louisiana Derby winner, is one of the two principal speed horses, along with Essex winner Kate’s Main Man.

Returning from a layoff March 12 in a money allowance going a mile and 70 yards at Fair Grounds, he dueled on the lead through a swift half-mile in 46.97 seconds, a demanding pace that took a toll late. He finished third, beaten 1 3/4 lengths and is a candidate to improve

The longest shot on the board is expected to be Dreaminofthewin, a 3-year-old facing elders, a matchup that happens infrequently in stakes races at this time of year. His trainer, C. R. Trout, said the race is at his summer base at Lone Star, and he wanted to prep his colt for the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs on June 18.

Runner-up in the Jan. 17 Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn and later second in an allowance there Feb. 21, he has been out of action for a couple of months because of a quarter crack in his left front hoof. He will wear a bar shoe, Trout said.

Grand Prairie, Irving Distaff also on card

Saturday’s 10-race card at Lone Star includes two other stakes, both on turf: the $50,000 Grand Prairie at a mile and the $50,000 Irving Distaff for fillies and mares at 7 1/2 furlongs.

Ten-time winner Baltimore Bob comes off a money allowance victory at Fair Grounds and is the likely favorite in the Grand Prairie. The race also includes Skip a Smile and Snow Drift.

The Irving Distaff is more contentious, with Sheer Beauty, an open allowance winner at Delta Downs on March 20 perhaps holding a slight edge. As a younger filly, she was third in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks last year, and she won the Caressing Stakes on turf at Churchill Downs in 2009 over eventual Grade 1 winner Check The Label.

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