05/22/2009 11:00PM

Ouija Board field a mix of speed and class


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - There is a flavor for every handicapping taste in Monday's Grade 3, $200,000 Ouija Board Distaff at Lone Star Park, making the one-mile turf race for fillies and mares perhaps the most attractive betting proposition on a six-stakes card worth $1.1 million. The Million Day program is the richest day of racing in Texas.

Class handicappers will be drawn to Rustic Flame, Flibberjibit, and Superior Storm, who have run well against high-quality competition of late. Speed players figure to side with the front-running Hotlantic, who last out turned in one of the year's best Beyer Speed Figures for a filly or mare, or Sweeter Still, a fresh horse in from Southern California.

Rustic Flame met the best of her division two starts ago when she ran fourth to champion Forever Together in the Grade 2 Jenny Wiley at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Keeneland. One start later, she was fourth to the streaking Tizaqueena in the Grade 2 Distaff Turf Mile at Churchill.

"Her last two races were on soft turf, and she likes it much better on firm ground," said Eddie Kenneally, who trains Rustic Flame.

"And the mile, this is probably the best distance for her."

Robby Albarado will ride Rustic Flame, who will be making one of the final starts of her career, as she is in foal to Henrythenavigator.

Superior Storm is making her turf debut after finishing second to Seventh Street in the Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom. One start earlier, she upset champion Proud Spell in the Proud Spell's comeback in an Oaklawn allowance March 12. For her turf debut, Superior Storm breezed five furlongs around the dogs in 1:01.20, on a Louisiana Downs turf course rated good May 9.

"I think she's going to handle the turf just fine, from what I've seen from her," said trainer Richard Jackson. "The one thing about her, she shows up. If she handles the turf, I think she'll give a good account of herself."

Luis Quinonez will ride Superior Storm, a winner of 11 of 17 starts and a half-sister to turf stakes winner Taffy.

Flibberjibit was second to Grade 2 winner Raw Silk in the $50,000 South Beach at Gulfstream in her last start April 11. That race came at 7 1/2 furlongs on turf, a half-furlong shorter than the Ouija Board.

"She's 4 for 5 in her past performances going a mile," said trainer Marty Wolfson. "She's real strong at the distance."

Hotlantic won the $50,000 Irving Distaff here with a Beyer Figure of 103, the second-best number for the division behind a 104 put up by Ventura in March.

Dallas Turf Cup: Seaspeak stretching a bit

The Grade 3, $200,000 Dallas Turf Cup could be a showcase race for Seaspeak, a promising colt who was a dominant allowance winner at Churchill at 1 1/16 miles on turf in his last start April 29. He will be making his first start at 1 1/8 miles Monday.

"I don't think it will be a problem," said Ralph Nicks, who trains Seaspeak. "He's a big, strong horse, very athletic.

"He works and does his job like he has a chance to be a good horse."

The chief threat could be Song of Navarone, a winner of his past four starts who is also cross-entered in the Lone Star Park Handicap.

Valid Expectations: Invaders abound

Pious Ashley is in from Florida for the $100,000 Valid Expectations, a six-furlong race for fillies and mares that also drew shippers from Southern California and New Mexico. She comes into the race off a sharp $62,500 optional claiming win at Gulfstream.

"Her last race was really, really strong," said Wolfson, her trainer. "She ran in 1:09 and change over at Gulfstream. The track was fast, but the way she did it, she overpowered a really nice filly who was 1-5."

Stealth Cat is the defending champ and is trained by Steve Asmussen, who has won 5 of 12 runnings of the Valid Expectations.

* Simplify, whose company lines are littered with top-flight fillies like Rachel Alexandra and Mani Bhavan, looks like she has a class edge in the $100,000 Cinemine. To be run at seven furlongs, the stakes for 3-year-old fillies was a launching pad last year for Storm Mesa. Albarado has the mount for Asmussen.

* Asmussen has two strong entrants for the other 3-year-old stakes on the card, the $100,000 USA at 1 1/16 miles on turf. He will send out Southern Region and Har D Boy, who finished a nose apart in first and second in the local prep, the $50,000 Grand Prairie Turf Challenge.