05/23/2008 11:00PM

Zanjero faces none to fear


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Zanjero chased a monster in his last start. On Monday, he's the one who can instill fear. Zanjero looks like a solid choice in the Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap, which drew a field of eight including graded stakes winners Giant Gizmo and Cowtown Cat, and California invader Stella Mark.

The 1 1/16-mile race is the richest of six stakes worth a total $1.1 million at Lone Star Park on Monday.

Zanjero made his first start since October in the Grade 3, $300,000 Texas Mile on April 26, and closed for second to Monterey Jazz. Monterey Jazz drew off to win by eight lengths and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 118, the second-best number run this year in North America. As for Zanjero, 4, he equaled his best Beyer, a 103.

"I was pleased with the race from a starting point," said Steve Asmussen, who trains Zanjero for Winchell Thoroughbreds. "I think that he was no match for Monterey Jazz at a mile on that day, but with that being said it was nice to get him back running and him show quality.

"I think that this is an excellent distance for him. I think the timing is good. There's a lot of positives."

Shaun Bridgmohan will ride Zanjero, a winner of $1.2 million who closed out his 3-year-old season with a win in the Grade 2 Indiana Derby at 1 1/16 miles at Hoosier Park. He and Giant Gizmo share high weight of 118 pounds.

Giant Gizmo is a four-time winner at 1 1/16 miles, his latest score at the distance coming in the Grade 3 Alysheba at Churchill Downs on May 2. He came from farther off the pace than usual for a 3 3/4-length win.

"I liked that he settled back and came with a good run," said Bobby Frankel, who trains Giant Gizmo.

Garrett Gomez will ride.

Stella Mark rallied for a 1 1/2-length win in the $150,000 Tiznow for California-breds at Hollywood Park in his stakes debut April 27. He earned a career-best Beyer of 99, and the strong race, coupled with the manner in which he has trained since, are reasons for the start in the Lone Star.

"And I do like how all of the California shippers have been running over this racetrack," said his trainer, Ted H. West.

Monterey Jazz came in from California, as did the first four finishers in this year's Grade 3 Lone Star Derby.