05/05/2009 11:00PM

Red Lead, trainer, step up


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Brandon Bridges took a year off from training back in 2007 to sell cars at a dealership down the street from Lone Star Park. Saturday, the 25-year-old will send out Red Lead in the Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Derby.

Red Lead is one of six probables for the 1 1/16-mile race. Mythical Power and Mayor Marv, both trained by Bob Baffert, arrived on a flight from Kentucky late Wednesday morning. Others officials consider probable are Cape Truth, Galloping Gulch, and Uno Mas.

Bridges has been involved in racing most of his young life, with his first win as a trainer coming at Delta Downs in 2005. He has a 12-horse stable on the grounds, and will be making his graded stakes debut Saturday, as will Red Lead.

"This has been a passion of mine ever since I started, from the ground up, mucking stalls," Bridges said.

His journey in the sport continued with galloping horses for trainers Steve Asmussen, H.B. Johnson, and Bret Thomas in Louisiana, and serving as an assistant to trainer Howard Scarberry.

"About two years ago I took a break and sold cars at Grand Prairie Ford," Bridges said. "I told my wife I would do that for a year, put a little money aside. But every day, I'd be looking at the Form, going over results. It was killing me."

Bridges got back into racing last year, training horses on a farm owned by Joe Davis, among them Red Lead. The horse won a maiden special weight at six furlongs at Will Rogers Downs in his career debut March 24, covering the distance in a quick 1:10.20. Red Lead has made one other start, finishing second by a neck to Galloping Gulch in a first-level allowance at a mile at Lone Star on April 24.

"That was a real test for him, coming back for his second start, going two turns, and he didn't disappoint us," Bridges said. "I look for him to improve a bit more."

Bridges said he liked Red Lead's strong gallop-out following the allowance at Lone Star. Red Lead is a son of Red Bullet.

The field for the Lone Star Derby has been fluid all week, with possible starters Big Drama and Terrain opting for the Preakness in the wake of Mine That Bird's 50-1 upset in the Kentucky Derby. In addition, Kelly Leak, the probable Lone Star Derby favorite off his win in the $800,000 Sunland Park Derby, defected Tuesday because of a minor physical setback. In his absence, favoritism could shift to Mythical Power, the runner-up in the Sunland Derby under Garrett Gomez.

Two stand out in feature

There are a host of options in Friday night's ninth race, a 1 1/16-mile turf allowance for fillies and mares that drew multiple stakes winner Nice Inheritance. She is moving back to the overnight ranks after having raced in stakes, as are Wasted Tears, Formal Flyer, and Taptam. But the sharpest fillies in the field are recent allowance winners Emma Grace and Approved Bluff.

Emma Grace is returning to turf following a 4 1/2-length win in a 1 1/16-mile allowance at Will Rogers on March 24. She has put up her highest Beyer Figures on the grass, with her last turf start resulting in a romping optional claiming win and an 83 Beyer at Remington Park on Dec. 5. Glen Murphy has the mount for trainer Bobby Burress.

Approved Bluff has won turf allowance routes in her last two starts, both at Remington.