06/30/2008 11:00PM

Storm Mesa targets N.Y. stakes


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Storm Mesa parlayed a stakes win at Lone Star Park in May into a graded score at Prairie Meadows last Friday night, and now she could be headed to Grade 1 company in New York. The Test or Alabama might be the next stop for the filly, who put up a Beyer Speed Figure of 108 in the $100,000 Cinemine at seven furlongs this spring at Lone Star. From there, Storm Mesa won at 1 1/16 miles in the Grade 3, $200,000 Iowa Oaks.

"There's a lot of options out there for her," said Bret Calhoun, who trains Storm Mesa for Richard L. Davis. "We're thinking Saratoga. She could either end up in the Test, shortening up to seven-eighths. Or she could end up in the Alabama, at a mile and a quarter.

"I've also worked her on the grass. She went good, and there's a turf race at Del Mar and there's a turf race or two in New York."

Calhoun said plans would be mapped out when Davis returns from a trip to Rome. He said the owner has always been partial to running in the Alabama, a $600,000 race on Aug. 16. The $250,000 Test is set for Aug. 2.

Storm Mesa has won her last four starts, beginning with a maiden special weight score at Fair Grounds in March. In the Iowa Oaks, under Lone Star regular Eddie Martin Jr., she was with the pace throughout for a one-length win. Storm Mesa overcame a tough start to win last Friday.

"She stumbled hard away from there," Calhoun said.

Storm Mesa earned a 96 Beyer. The 108 she earned in the Cinemine has been one of the top numbers put up by a 3-year-old filly in 2008. Her connections were thrilled with the win in the Iowa Oaks.

"I think the main thing with getting by that race is the fact that we knew she was going to regress off those big numbers coming back in 30 days," Calhoun said. "We thought and hoped that she could regress and still win, and she did. So, I really look for her to move forward again her next race."

Storm Mesa is based at Churchill Downs.

First winner for Estate of Jim Bausch

No win has meant more to Robin Powers in her 40-year racing career than Wish Again's victory in a $15,000 claimer on turf at Lone Star on June 22. It was the first win for the Estate of Jim Bausch, the stable that represents the longtime owner and trainer who died May 10.

After Bausch's death due to complications stemming from pneumonia, Powers took over the training of the 20 horses Bausch had been racing this meet at Lone Star. She called Bausch, who was 70, her "partner in life." A longtime trainer, Powers, 64, was introduced to Bausch about 15 years ago at Sam Houston Race Park.

"We were so close," she said. "It was more special than even a husband and wife. We enjoyed each other's company so much. We hated to be apart, really. We were just that close. I have all those great memories, special moments. Even when we watched TV, we always just sat together and held hands."

Powers said the win by Wish Again meant "everything . . . He's watching over us."

Bausch was the leading owner at Sam Houston for meets in 2004 and 2006, and he also won the owner title at Retama Park. A graduate of Sul Ross State University in Texas, he was a top-ranked competitor in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in the 1960s. Bausch, a native of Rapid City, S.D., also worked for 18 years as a commercial pilot with a small company that became Continental Airlines.

Apprentice to miss eight weeks

Apprentice Dusty Shepherd suffered four fractured vertebrae in a one-horse spill Saturday and is expected to be out for eight weeks, according to his brother, jockey Justin Shepherd. Dusty Shepherd was treated at Dallas Methodist Hospital and made a visit to Lone Star on Sunday, according to track officials. His mount, Sheza Texnnow, did not appear to suffer serious injuries in the spill. Shepherd won his first career race here June 13.

* Apprentice Erik McNeil won his first race Saturday, aboard Swamp Gator ($8.40).

* There will be an early post of 5op.m. Central on Thursday and Friday nights this week, with fireworks to follow both cards at Lone Star.