05/25/2006 11:00PM

Sweet Talker has eye on big girls

Email
Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Sweet Talker, winning the Dahlia, seeks her sixth stakes victory Monday in the WinStar Distaff.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Sweet Talker can be a player in the filly and mare turf division this year, and her path toward major races later in the season goes through Texas.

Sweet Talker, the winner of last year's Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup, is expected to be the 120-pound starting highweight for the Grade 3, $200,000 WinStar Distaff. The one-mile turf race for fillies and mares is one of six stakes worth a total $1 million at Lone Star Park on Monday.

Texas turf has been good to Sweet Talker's trainer, Graham Motion, the Maryland-based horseman whose first local starter came in 2004.

"I haven't been back to Lone Star since the Breeders' Cup, so I'm kind of looking forward to it," said Motion, who sent out Better Talk Now to win the $2 million Breeders' Cup Turf here in 2004.

Sweet Talker has won 6 of 8 starts on the grass, with five of those wins coming in stakes. Her biggest win was in the Queen Elizabeth, when she proved a nose best at 18-1 at Keeneland in October.

Sweet Talker won that race under the tutelage of trainer Helen Pitts, then was sold at auction at Keeneland last November and purchased for $1.1 million by Courtlandt Farms. She has made one start for Motion, winning the $60,000 Dahlia at Laurel on April 15.

"It was a good effort," said Motion. "She set a track record that day."

Sweet Talker covered the mile for fillies and mares on turf in 1:34.17. The race was her first against older rivals, and her first since capturing the Queen Elizabeth.

"She's just an extremely honest, competitive filly," said Motion. "It seems like she runs her race every time."

Ramon Dominguez, who rode Sweet Talker for the first time in the Dahlia, will be aboard again in the WinStar. The race should serve as her springboard to some of the bigger races in the division.

"Obviously, you'd like to think down the road she can run in some of the [Grade] 1 races over the summer or the fall," said Motion. "That's kind of what we're hoping, and we just want to take it one step at a time."

Don Adam, who is a resident of Texas, races as Courtlandt Farms.

Baffert perfect this year at Lone Star

Trainer Bob Baffert, who will start Preachinatthebar in the Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap and Downthedustyroad in the $100,000 Stonerside, has won both of the graded stakes already run here this meet. From two starters, Baffert has won the Grade 3, $300,000 Texas Mile, with Preachinatthebar in April, and the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Derby with Wanna Runner in May.

Preachinatthebar on Monday will attempt to become only the second horse since Dixie Dot Com to win both of the biggest dirt races of the meet for older horses. Dixie Dot Com swept the Texas Mile and Lone Star Handicap in 2001.

Baffert was at Lone Star earlier this month to watch Wanna Runner romp in the Lone Star Derby. He knows his away around north Texas well and has won 12 stakes here since 1997.

Jon Court is scheduled to ride both of Baffert's starters on Monday. Like Baffert, he is perfect this meet at Lone Star. He won the Texas Mile on Preachinatthebar in his only mount here this meet. Court won five stakes here last year, and overall has seven stakes wins at Lone Star.

Horses ship in for Million Day

A plane bringing horses for Million Day was to arrive in Dallas around 4:30 p.m. Central on Friday. The plane was scheduled to arrive earlier in the afternoon, but it experienced a weather-related delay, according to an official with Lone Star. The flight was to have originated in New York and picked up horses in Kentucky.

Those on board for Monday stakes here were Sweet Talker and Katdogawn for the Winstar, Nakayama Kun for the Lone Star Handicap, Beholden (Stonerside), and Born to Dance (Valid Expectations).

* Shezmorethanready, a nine-length maiden winner in her last start, moves into the first-level allowance ranks Sunday. She will go in the eighth, a six-furlong race restricted to fillies bred in Texas. Shezmorethanready was stakes-placed last year. Trainer Bubba Cascio has given the mount to Glen Murphy.

* Advance wagering on the Million Day program will be available ontrack at Lone Star on Sunday.