04/26/2006 11:00PM

Yes He's a Pistol cocked for Texas Mile


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Yes He's a Pistol is a hot horse from a hot barn. A runner on the rise for trainer Doug O'Neill, he will seek his third straight win on Saturday in the Grade 3, $300,000 at Lone Star Park.

A field of 11 was entered in the first major stakes of the meet, and it is littered with shippers.

Preachinatthebar and Texcess join Yes He's a Pistol from California. Florida is represented by Halos Sailing Sain and Dominguin. Kentucky flavor comes courtesy of Nakayama Kun. The state of New Mexico has Mr. Trieste. And defending champion High Strike Zone invades from Louisiana.

Yes He's a Pistol was claimed for $80,000 in October, selected by co-owner Steve Kenly. O'Neill, who won two stakes last weekend when he clinched the training title at Santa Anita, has sent the horse out to win his last two starts: a 6 1/2-furlong optional claimer Feb. 5, and the $85,000 Santana Mile on March 12. Both races were at Santa Anita.

"His last race was a surprise to a lot of people, but Steve and I have had a lot of confidence in this horse, so we'd obviously be pretty excited to see him repeat his last effort," O'Neill said. "I think a repeat of his last effort will put him right there."

Yes He's a Pistol won the Santana in a field that included Preachinatthebar, who finished fourth that day but returned in his next start to win the Grade 3 Tokyo City at Santa Anita. Yes He's a Pistol will break from post 8 under Garrett Gomez.

"He's a horse that if he's in the mix early, he's usually in the mix late," said O'Neill.

Preachinatthebar and Texcess will both cut back from 1 1/8 miles after finishing a length apart in the Tokyo City on April 1. Preachinatthebar will be making his third start of the year. Trainer Bob Baffert has given the mount to Jon Court.

Texcess encountered trouble in the Tokyo City and is looking to close the gap on Preachinatthebar.

"A little better trip, it could have been a lot closer," said Mike Mitchell, who trains Texcess.

Halos Sailing Sain split graded stakes winners Bandini and Wanderin Boy in an optional claimer at Gulfstream on March 1. He will be ridden by Joe Bravo, who won with both of his comeback mounts Wednesday night at Atlantic City Race Course. Bravo sustained fractured vertebrae in a spill in January.