Updated on 09/17/2011 9:24PM

Southern Africa wins derby

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Lone Star Park
Southern Africa rallies to win the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Derby at Lone Star Park on Saturday.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Southern Africa will be considered for a start in the Belmont Stakes after he rallied for a strong, length and a quarter win over Shamoan in the Grade 3, $300,000 at Lone Star Park on Saturday.

Southern Africa became the first California-based horse to win the race since its inaugural running in 1997, when Anet captured the Lone Star Derby for trainer Bob Baffert.

Southern Africa ($16.40), who shipped in from Santa Anita for trainer Mike Puhich, broke a step slowly in the Lone Star Derby and settled in fourth, about two lengths behind dueling leaders, Thor's Echo and General Charley, who led the field through an opening quarter in 22.98 seconds. Southern Africa continued to track those two through a half-mile in 46.88 seconds and six furlongs in 1:11.45.

Southern Africa mounted his bid four-wide on the final turn, and took the lead at the top of the stretch. He went on strong to the wire, and covered the mile and a sixteenth over a track rated fast in 1:41.92. Shamoan, also based in California, held second, finishing a length and three quarters in front of third-place finisher Real Dandy. Awesome Twist, the 8-5 favorite, had a wide trip, bumped some with Yes He's A Pistol, and finished 11th.

Southern Africa was ridden by Jon Court.

"I just basically sat back, knowing there would be some speed in the race," he said. "I just rode the horse in his natural way of running. It seems to be his style to win."

Puhich said a decision on Southern Africa's next start is pending, and will be discussed over the next day or so with owners Al and Saundra Kirkwood.

"We'll see how he comes out of the race, but the Belmont Stakes is definitely one of the races we're going to look at," said Puhich. "It depends on how he's doing, and how the Preakness goes."

Southern Africa began his career in Great Britain, and was purchased privately last year by the Kirkwoods. He won the $100,000 Borderland Derby at Sunland Park in February, and one start prior to the Lone Star Derby finished second to Thor's Echo in the $500,000 WinStar Derby, also at Sunland.

Southern Africa earned $165,000 for the win Saturday, which was his fourth from nine career starts. He has now earned $400,070. Southern Africa is a son of Cape Town.

Rodeo's Castle wins first stakes

Rodeo's Castle, like Southern Africa ridden by Court, took the lead soon after the start and never relinquished it to win the $75,000 Ford Express by a head over Joe Six Pack on Saturday. It was another three lengths back in third to Two Down Automatic.

In winning his first stakes, Rodeo's Castle ran the six furlongs over a good track in a stakes-record time of 1:07.85.

Rodeo's Castle ($16.80) moved up to lead the field by a half-length through an opening quarter in 22.24 seconds. He continued to lead through a half-mile in 44.32 seconds, then gamely held off a stretch bid from Joe Six Pack.

Attendance on Saturday was 8,051 and handle on the 11-race card was $2,951,059.