07/21/2009 11:00PM

Petalino may close out Lone Star meet strong


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Trainer Joe Petalino will be running some of the best 2-year-olds in his barn over the final three days of the Lone Star Park meet. Sophanda is up first in Friday night's third race, a maiden special weight at 7 1/2 furlongs on turf. Lone Star Cowboy is set to run Sunday, in the closing-day $75,000 Middleground Stakes. And sometime in between those two races, Petalino hopes to find a spot for Cosmo Girl.

Cosmo Girl faced males in a maiden special weight here July 4, and was second to eventual stakes winner Big Texas Daddy, the probable favorite for the Middleground. Cosmo Girl set a quick pace and earned a Beyer Figure of 81. She is a daughter of City Zip.

Lone Star Cowboy was a powerful maiden special weight winner here in his last start June 12.

"He looked good in there," said Petalino.

Lone Star Cowboy dueled for the lead and went on to a clear win in the 5 1/2-furlong race. Sunday, he will make his stakes debut in the six-furlong Middleground, which is also expected to draw Churchill Downs maiden winner Grand Slam Andre.

Sophanda appears to have a number of things going for her Friday night, when she makes her second turf route start in the maiden special weight for 2-year-old fillies. She was fifth from post 11 after a wide trip last out, and for this race draws well in gate 5 in the field of 12.

Petalino looks for Sophanda to move forward Friday.

"She ran pretty good," he said. "She lost ground around the turn, then made up some ground. She got a little tired. It was her first time around two turns."

Bryan McNeil has the mount on Sophanda, who is by Yonaguska. The probable favorite in the race is Speedy Spice, who last out was second to future stakes winner Vertical Vision in a maiden sprint at Lone Star on June 26.

Cosmo Girl, Lone Star Cowboy, and Sophanda are all owned by Baccari Racing Stable. Last year, Baccari and Petalino came up with two of the region's better 2-year-olds in Seacrettina, who won the $75,000 Silver Spur at Lone Star, and Kick On, a multiple stakes winner. Petalino said Kick On is getting some time off and is to return to action this fall at Remington Park.

Shorter meet sought for 2010

Lone Star could close its meet about a week earlier in 2010. The track has asked the Texas Racing Commission for a 56-date meet for Thoroughbreds next year, running from April 15 through July 18. Lone Star is in the midst of a 65-date meet, which closes Sunday.

"The biggest reason for the change from previous years is the availability of purse money," said Drew Shubeck, president of Lone Star.

Shubeck said the number of days requested corresponds with what the track projects for purse earnings. He said a 56-date season is expected to give Lone Star the same or a little bit higher average daily purse structure than what has been in place for 2009. The economy and competition from casinos in surrounding states, he said, impact purses for Lone Star.

The track has also asked for a 26-date meet for Quarter Horses next year, from Sept. 10 to Nov. 6.

Date requests from all the state's tracks could be considered at a commission meeting in August. During that session, the panel could also hear a request from Sam Houston to drop three dates from its upcoming winter-spring Thoroughbred meet: Nov. 29, Dec. 26 and Dec. 27.

For years the state's racing industry has tried, without success, for alternative forms of gaming.

Asmussen fillies could head east

Camille's Appeal, who closed with a rush to take the $125,000 fillies division of the Texas Stallion Stakes at Lone Star on July 11, is being considered for a possible start in the Grade 2, $150,000 Adirondack at Saratoga on Aug. 19, said her trainer, Steve Asmussen. She earned a Beyer Figure of 84 in the Stallion Stakes.

Vertical Vision, a dynamite maiden winner at Lone Star on June 26, took the $50,000 Prairie Gold Lassie last Saturday night at Prairie Meadows and has been sent to Churchill Downs with next-race plans still being determined, said Asmussen. She earned a Beyer of 88.

* Patricia will seek her third straight win when she starts in Friday night's fifth race, a $30,000 optional claimer for fillies and mares at a mile on turf. Asmussen has given the mount to Chris Landeros.