05/30/2006 12:00AM

Magnum takes Lone Star Park 'Cap

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Lone Star Park
Magnum wins the Lone Star Park Handicap on Monday at Lone Star Park.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Magnum indicated his intent to be a player in the handicap division this year when he rallied for a length and a quarter win over Texcess in the Grade 3, $400,000 at Lone Star Park on Monday.

The mile and a sixteenth race was the richest of six stakes on the card worth a cumulative $1 million. The program is called Lone Star Million Day and it is the richest day of racing in Texas.

Magnum ($4.40) appeared poised for a winning effort off consecutive runner-up finishes in graded stakes. He was second by three-quarters of a length to Lava Man in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap in March, and followed that race up with a runner-up finish to Buzzards Bay in the Grade 2, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap in April.

The performances sent him to post as the 6-5 favorite in the Lone Star, and he did not disappoint. He broke well from his rail post and settled in fourth behind Watchem Smokey, Texcess and Stockholder, who raced through an opening quarter in 23 seconds and the half-mile in 46.34.

Magnum was moved off the rail down the backside by jockey Pat Valenzuela, and picked up steam heading into the final turn. Texcess continued to lead the field through six furlongs in 1:10 as Magnum moved closer to the leader, then overtook him in the stretch and went on to win over a muddy track in 1:42.88.

"What a ride," said Darrell Vienna, who trains Magnum. "What a perfect ride by Patrick."

Vienna said Magnum is an improving horse, and plans are to point him for the Grade 1, $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park on July 8.

"He's been progressing," said Vienna. "He's a horse I don't think we've seen the top of."

Magnum earned $240,000 for the win, which was his first in a stakes and his fifth overall from 17 career starts. He has now earned $618,414. Magnum, an Argentine-bred, races for Herrick Racing.

Texcess earned $80,000 for finishing second, and with the victory he went over $1 million in earnings. He finished four and a quarter lengths clear of third-place finisher Real Dandy. The remaining order of finish was Cosmonaut, Nakayama Kun, Dominguin, Stockholder, Preachinatthebar, Watchem Smokey and Wishingitwas.

Attendance ontrack was 12,508. Handle on the 11-race card from all sources was $3,802,720. Of that amount, $979,673 was bet ontrack at Lone Star.