05/21/2009 11:00PM

Seaspeak seeks an official graded win


By Mary Rampellini

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Seaspeak has proven himself to be of graded quality even though he has not technically won a graded stakes. Monday, he can make it official. Seaspeak is expected to start as a strong favorite in the Grade 3, $200,000 Dallas Turf Cup at Lone Star Park.

The 1 1/8-mile grass race is one of six stakes worth $1.1 million on the Lone Star Million Day card. It is the richest program of the meet, and is headed by the Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap.

Seaspeak finished first in his graded stakes debut in the Grade 3 Bryan Station at Keeneland last October after an intense stretch duel with Cowboy Cal. But after an inquiry into the drive, he was disqualified and placed second for interference. Cowboy Cal has since won three more graded stakes, while Seaspeak was second by a half-length in his one other graded start, the Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf at Churchill Downs in November.

"I think he has the makings of a horse that can be a very nice horse," said Ralph Nicks, who in February began training Seaspeak for John Chandler. "He's a very promising horse."

Seaspeak won a first-level allowance by more than four lengths in his last start April 29 at Churchill Downs. He stalked the pace in the 1o1/16-mile turf race and earned a Beyer Figure of 96. Following the dominant win, the Dallas Turf Cup became an option for Seaspeak.

"He's had a lot of experience," said Nicks. "He's the type of horse you can skip your condition with because he's run seven or eight times, and then there's the competition he's run against. He's been in good company."

Seaspeak is by Mizzen Mast. His dam, Somerset West, is out of the same mare as Grade 1 turf winners Cetewayo and Dynaforce. Julien Leparoux has the mount on the colt, who will be the first Lone Star starter for the Texas-born Nicks. Nicks has been here before, though, to saddle Baptize in a 2001 stakes when working as an assistant to trainer Bill Mott.

Seaspeak could start as the 116-pound highweight in the Dallas Turf Cup. Others officials are expecting are Red Rock Creek (115), Tricky Causeway (114) and Ernesto (111). Song of Navarone, weighted at 117, is under consideration for the Dallas Turf Cup, as well as the Lone Star Handicap.

Final prep for Jonesboro

Jonesboro breezed a half-mile in 48 seconds on Friday for the Lone Star Handicap. He will be looking to sweep the meet's two major stakes for older horses, having accounted for the Grade 3, $300,000 Texas Mile in his last start April 25. Only Dixie Dot Com, in 2001, has won the two races.

Cliff Berry was aboard Jonesboro for his work and has the mount in the Lone Star.

"We just blew him out a little," said Randy Morse, who trains Jonesboro for Michael Langford. "We just wanted to give him a little air."

Jonesboro is one of seven to eight probables for the Lone Star. Other expected starters include It's a Bird, King Dan, Magnum, Song of Navarone, and Z Fortune.

Shippers arrive from all points

Planes were in and out of Dallas all day Friday bringing horses for Million Day. First to arrive was It's a Bird for the Lone Star Handicap, Flibberjibit for the Grade 3, $200,000 Ouija Board, and Pious Ashley for the $100,000 Valid Expectations. The Marty Wolfson-trained trio got in from south Florida around 6 a.m., according to track officials.

Horses from Kentucky rolled into the Lone Star backstretch at lunchtime. Those on the flight were Seaspeak, Z Fortune, Rustic Flame (Ouija Board), and Simplify ($100,000 Cinemine). The flight from California was due in after 6 p.m. Central, and those expected to be on board were Magnum, Sweeter Still (Ouija Board), Taste's Sis (Ouija Board), and Stolen Heart (Valid Expectations.)

* Magnum, who won the Lone Star in 2006, will be ridden by David Flores, said his trainer, Darrell Vienna.

* There will be more than 75 microbrew beers available for sampling at $2.50 each Monday as part of a Microbrew Festival at Lone Star. There will also be a motorcycle giveaway.

* The forecast for Monday is a high of 86 degrees, and a 30 percent chance of isolated thunderstorms, according to weather.com.