Costume, Brownie Points in Ouija Board clash
GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas -- Costume is in the best form of her career and Brownie Points is at her physical peak, setting the stage for an explosive matchup Monday in the Grade 3, $200,000 Ouija Board Distaff at Lone Star Park. The one-mile turf handicap for fillies and mares is one of six stakes worth a cumulative $1.1 million on the annual Lone Star Million Day.
Costume invades from Southern California, where she won Grade 2 turf races in her last two starts. She was prominent throughout for a neck win in the Buena Vista at a mile on Feb. 18, then led throughout for a head win in the Santa Ana at 1o1/8 miles in her last start March 23.
"She's a game little filly," said Bobby Frankel, who trains Costume for Juddmonte Farms. "She's a fighter, so when they come to her, she keeps on running."
Garrett Gomez has the mount. Luis Quinonez will ride Brownie Points, who figures to sit within striking distance of the leader. The Ouija Board will be her first start since she finished second in the Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn on April 5. She was beaten 4 1/4 lengths by Zenyatta after rallying past 2007 champion older female Ginger Punch.
"It turns out Zenyatta is probably the best mare in the world right now, and we just didn't know it before the race," said Donnie Von Hemel, who trains Brownie Points. "But, we went by Ginger Punch with some authority, and Zenyatta went by us with authority."
Brownie Points, a stakes winner on dirt and turf, was second to Lady of Venice last year in the Ouija Board. She is now a 5-year-old mare, and is a dappled, filled-out picture of health for Pin Oak Stable. Prior to the Apple Blossom, she was second to Grade 1 winner Hystericalady in the Grade 3 Azeri at Oaklawn in March.
"If you look at her performances at Oaklawn and the weight she's carrying, the look of her, I do think she's as good or better as she's ever been right now," said Von Hemel.
The Ouija Board drew 11, with Costume in gate 10 and Brownie Points in gate 11.
Turf Cup: Storm Military stretches out
Storm Military, a two-time Group 1 winner in his native Argentina, and Church Service, who invades from Southern California, take on two of the region's best grass horses in Going Ballistic and Scrappy Roo in the Grade 3, $200,000 Dallas Turf Cup. Storm Military finished seventh on the Keeneland Polytrack in the Grade 2 Commonwealth in his last start. He will be moving back to the grass and stretching out from seven furlongs to 1 1/8 miles.
"I think he's all right at a mile and an eighth," said trainer Bobby Frankel, who twice has won the Dallas Turf Cup. "Anywhere from a mile to a mile and a quarter, I think he's okay."
In his last two starts on turf, Storm Military ran fourth in the Grade 1 Kilroe at Santa Anita in March and won the Thunder Road there in February.
Gomez has the mount, while Brice Blanc will ride Church Service, who was second by a nose in the Grade 3 Tokyo City Handicap at Santa Anita in his last start March 29. Scrappy Roo and Going Ballistic finished one-two in the Grade 3, $200,000 Connally Cup at Sam Houston Race Park. Eighteenthofmarch closed for third in the 1 1/8-mile turf race April 5.
"He had no pace to run at," said John Good, who trains the closer Eighteenthofmarch.
Cinemine: Euphony's first stakes
Euphony zipped through her conditions at Oaklawn, where she won her three career starts at distances ranging from six furlongs to a mile between January and April. Monday, her stakes debut in the $100,000 Cinemine for 3-year-old fillies comes right smack dab in the middle of those distances, at seven furlongs. She has used front-running and off-the-pace tactics in her races, and will break from the rail under Cliff Berry.
"I think she'll put herself in a good position, and be ready to go when they say run," said Von Hemel, who trains Euphony for Pin Oak.
Euphony, a daughter of Forest Wildcat, owns the field's best last-race Beyer Figure, a 92. Her chief rivals appear to be Sky Mom, a multiple stakes winner, and Storm Mesa, a winner of her last two starts by a combined 10 lengths.
* Boss Lafitte, who won the Grade 3 Transylvania at Keeneland, will meet multiple stakes winner Golden Yank in the $100,000 USA Stakes. The 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-olds also drew the promising Trackerman.
* Tres Dream figures to have her sights set on Wrenice in the stretch of the $100,000 Valid Expectations, a six-furlong race for fillies and mares. She used her closing kick to win the $100,000 Esplanade at Fair Grounds in December.