07/23/2017 8:31AM

Texas Chrome becomes millionaire with Assault victory

Dustin Orona Photography
Texas Chrome is the second Texas-bred to become a millionaire.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Heart.

It’s the word Danny Keene, trainer Allen Milligan, and jockey Richard Eramia all used when talking about Texas Chrome in separate interviews following his win over Supermason in the $50,000 Assault Stakes on Saturday night at Lone Star Park.

Texas Chrome pushed past the controlling speed in the later stages of the mile race, and with the victory pushed his earnings past $1 million. He is the second Texas-bred in history to become a millionaire, behind champion Groovy, according to the Texas Thoroughbred Association. Groovy retired with earnings of $1.3 million.

The Assault was one of four restricted stakes on the card, and together the races were worth $300,000. Galactica, co-owner of the year’s highest Beyer Speed Figure for a 2-year-old, won the $100,000 colts and geldings division of the Texas Thoroughbred Futurity, while the fillies' side went to Janae. Prada’s Bling was a clear winner of the $50,000 Valor Farm Stakes.

But the focus of the night was Texas Chrome, who needed a first- or second-place finish in the Assault to achieve the earnings milestone. He was cutting back in distance for the race, and facing the task of running down a course-record holder in Supermason. Texas Chrome ($2.80) stalked the pace, took after the leader in the stretch, and moved past him to cover the distance on a fast track in 1:36.59. With the win, Texas Chrome picked up his eighth stakes victory and increased his earnings to $1,020,762.

“I’m glad he did it here at Lone Star, because it's where he won his first race, where he won his first stakes race, and he is a Texas-bred,” Keene said. “There’s other places we could have [gone] with him, but I think he’s got a lot of followers and I think we owed it to them to run here. I was kind of scared to, because I was scared of Supermason. I definitely didn’t like the mile. A mile is a like a glorified sprint to some horses and that’s not Chrome. He needs a mile and an eighth, a mile and a quarter. That horse, he had enough heart to dig in and get there. You saw that. That horse has heart.”

Supermason was in control of the race right from the start, and while his fractional times were not available, he was clear by a length in the stretch. In the end, Texas Chrome reeled in the leader, winning by 1 1/4 lengths. It was another 9 1/4 lengths back to F J Uncle Vic in third.

“He tries so hard,” said Eramia, who rode Texas Chrome for the first time Saturday. “He’s all class. He knew what he was doing. Big heart.”

Milligan, a private trainer for Keene, called the performance from Texas Chrome “awesome.”

“That’s not his distance, but the horse has got a lot of heart,” Milligan said. “He just got it done. That was the only concern. The mile and an eighth, a mile and a quarter, is more his distance.”

Texas Chrome has now won 9 of 20 starts. Keene purchased the son of Grasshopper for $10,000 during the Fasig-Tipton Texas yearling and mixed sale in October 2014 at Lone Star. Texas Chrome has now won stakes at 2, 3 and 4, and has won them for three different trainers: Shea Stuart, J.R. Caldwell, and Milligan, who in June became a private trainer for Keene. Texas Chrome, in addition to Eramia, has won stakes under DeShawn Parker, Iram Diego, and C.J. McMahon.

Keene and Milligan said Texas Chrome will be considered for the $200,000 Downs at Albuquerque Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile race Aug. 5. The horse won his two richest races at the distance, in last year's Grade 3 Super Derby and Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby. He is the reigning Texas-bred Horse of the Year.

“We’ll watch and see how he comes back,” Keene said.

Keene said Texas Chrome would now be based at Remington Park. He said long range, he would like to see the horse make the Clark Handicap this fall at Churchill Downs. Earlier this year, Texas Chrome ran second to eventual Met Mile winner Mor Spirit in the Grade 3, $200,000 Steve Sexton Mile at Lone Star

Texas Chrome was bred by Craig Upham. He is out of the Naevus mare Margarita Mistress.  

Galactica over Aceguitar

Galactica earned a Beyer of 89 when he won a maiden special weight for Texas-breds in his second career start July 4 at Lone Star. The number is tops for a 2-year-old this year, a distinction he shares with Dream It Is. She earned the same Beyer on Friday, when she won the Grade 3 Schuylerville at Saratoga.

Galactica ($4) on Saturday night tracked pacesetter Yours Alone through an opening quarter in 22 seconds and a half-mile in 45.66 before overtaking that rival for a three-quarter length win in the 11-horse division of the Texas Thoroughbred Futurity.

“He broke, showed how athletic he was and got a good spot,” said Brian Hernandez Jr., who was aboard Galactica for trainer Bret Calhoun. “All I had to do was be a good passenger.”

Aceguitar closed with a rush to finish second to Galactica, who covered five furlongs in 58.12 seconds.

“The two horses tonight, they were both running under the wire,” Hernandez said. “I was really impressed with the way they crossed under the wire. They both seem like really nice horses.”

Galactica races for Carl Moore and Brad Grady.

Janae ($14.40) was a neck winner over Ms Classic West in her division of the Texas Thoroughbred Futurity, covering the distance in 59.08 seconds. It was another head back to Patrona Margarita in third, a half-sister to Texas Chrome. Kerwin Clark was aboard Janae for Susan Moulton and trainer Brandon Jenkins.

Prada’s Bling ($13.20) was always prominent for a 1 1/2-length win over Zippit E in the Valor Farm, covering six furlongs for fillies and mares in 1:10.96. Iram Diego was aboard for Adriel Gonzalez and trainer Isai Gonzalez.

Handle on the 10-race program from all sources was $1.2 million. The ontrack crowd was 5,797.