02/28/2008 12:00AM

Real Appeal using Texas Heritage as prep race


Real Appeal, Hello From Heaven, and Texas Fever, who are each nominated to the Triple Crown, appear to be the major players in Saturday night's $50,000 Texas Heritage at Sam Houston Race Park. The one-mile race for 3-year-olds drew a full field of 12.

Real Appeal is making his first start since finishing fourth, beaten 1 3/4 lengths by Kentucky Derby candidate Anak Nakal, in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs. He shows a series of works at Fair Grounds for his return.

"We were trying to find something for him that would serve as a prep for maybe a large derby trial race," said Tom Amoss, who trains Real Appeal for Roulette Racing. "There weren't a lot of options, and we wanted a traditional mile surface. Unfortunately, this [race] is only a mile. He's a late-running type and certainly wants to utilize more distance. But this is where we are, and we're hoping for the best."

James Graham has the mount on Real Appeal, who will break from post 5.

Hello From Heaven owns the field's best last-race Beyer Speed Figure, an 84 earned for a second-place in the $150,000 OBS Championship in Ocala, Fla., on Feb. 11. He shipped from Sam Houston for the 1 1/16-mile race. Hello From Heaven had a wide trip and closed from eighth to finish 2 3/4 lengths behind race winner Halo Najib.

"He ran a good race at Ocala," said John Locke, who trains Hello From Heaven.

Martin Escobar has the mount for Locke, the leading trainer at Sam Houston.

Texas Fever, the winner of the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Juvenile last September, was fifth last out in the $50,000 WEBN at Turfway. Paul Nolan has the mount for trainer Michael Stidham.