January 30, 2023

Stakes newcomer faces grizzled veterans in Steve Sexton Mile

Rated R Superstar wins the Essex Stakes (Photo by Coady Photography)

The Memorial Day program at Lone Star Park is branded “Lone Star Million Day,” but the track is going above and beyond expectations by offering $1.2 million in stakes purses for the 12-race card that begins at 2:40 p.m. ET.

The signature event and finale is the $400,000 Steve Sexton Mile (G3), in which California invader Shaaz will make his stakes debut. Now under the care of Sean McCarthy, Shaaz has won all three starts in a career that began on Dec. 26. The son of Uncle Mo previously raced for Bob Baffert, who is currently serving a suspension.

Among the proven veterans in the field are the nine-year-old Rated R Superstar, who landed the Essex H. (G3) and Fifth Season S. at Oaklawn over the winter, and multiple graded winner Silver Prospector, runner-up to Olympiad in the Mineshaft (G3) in February.

Other contenders include Flash of Mischief, who captured the Delta Mile and St. Louis Derby last season, and Mine That Star, a multiple stakes winner on the New Mexico circuit.

One race earlier, eight three-year-olds will contest the $300,000 Texas Derby at 1 1/16 miles. A. P.’s Secret takes a significant drop in class for trainer Saffie Joseph after running fourth in the Wood Memorial (G2) last time. The Wood was won narrowly by Mo Donegal, who finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby (G1), over eventual Preakness (G1) victor Early Voting.

Invading from Florida is Strike Hard, who finished a clear second behind Simplification in the Mucho Macho Man S. earlier this term, and Cover Me Up, second best behind Preakness third Creative Minister in Kentucky Derby Day allowance at Churchill.

The most notable performer entered among the four other stakes on Lone Star Million Day is La Brea (G1) heroine Kalypso in the $100,000 Memorial Day Sprint over six furlongs. Kalypso adds Lasix after finishing a distant eighth in the Madison (G1) last time and will face, among others, 2021 Memorial Day Sprint winner Our Iris Rose.