Pyc Paint Your Wagon Voted Lone Star's Horse of the Meeting

Pyc Paint Your Wagon, the eye-popping winner of Saturday's $1 million Texas Classic Futurity, was voted Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie's Horse of the Meeting and Champion 2-Year-Old Male for the 2005 Fall Meeting of Champions on Sunday by select media and racing officials.

Pyc Paint Your Wagon, owned and bred by Michael Pohl and trained by Hall of Famer Jack Brooks, dominated Texas' richest horse race with ease under Jacky Martin, covering 400 yards in :19.73, good for a half-length triumph over the promising Automatically. Prior to that, the 2-year-old son of Corona Cartel was the fastest of 120 juveniles in 13 trial races Nov. 12. At the 33-night meet which concluded Sunday, he was a perfect 2-for-2 and earned a meet-best $436,579.

Other champions were Classic Chevrolet Heartbeat of American winner and co-Refrigerator Handicap champ Fredericksburg (Champion Older Male); Texas Classic Derby champ First Comment (Champion 3-Year-Old Male); Rheudasil Handicap winner and Texas Classic Derby third Si Puede (Champion 3-Year-Old Female); Lone Star Park Distance Championship winner Friends Rare Form (Champion Distance Horse); Kool Kue Baby Handicap winner Athena Raquel (Champion Older Female) and Dash For Cash Futurity third Shaken Easy Dash (Champion 2-Year-Old Female). Ima Kat Man and Romping Texas Five, a pair of three-time winners at the meet, tied for Champion Claiming Horse honors.

Acuna, Brooks Lead Trainers, Jockeys; Maddox, Owens Tie for Leading Owner

Jeff Acuna, who conditioned First Comment to a victory in the Grade 1 Texas Classic Derby on Friday night, clinched his first career training title Sunday after finishing the season atop the Lone Star trainer standings with 18 victories. Two-time local training champ Toby Keeton was second (14 wins) and Jesse Yoakum was third (12 wins).

It was a dream meet for 41-year-old Acuna (b. Sept. 9, 1964), a full-time trainer for the past 18 years. He has been a conditioner for First Comment's owner/breeder J. Wes Owens for more than a decade and lives on his farm in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Owens, who tied A.D. Maddox for Lone Star's leading owner title with nine wins each, has been involved in horse racing for 28 years. It's his primary business, but he also dabbles in real estate management.

"Wes and I have been together for about 15 years, and this was definitely a dream meeting together," Acuna said. "Wes is just a great owner; he lets the horse tell you where to run him. The Texas Classic Derby was our biggest win together. We've always had some good horses and done well, but Wes always told me that the 'Big One' was coming. Well, it's here. This was just an awesome meet. It's an honor and it feels really good."

Meanwhile, the leading jockey honors went to "Diamond Jim" Brooks who is apparently chugging from the Fountain of Youth. At age 54 (b. June 24, 1951), Brooks dominated his younger rivals with 47 trips to the winner's circle, 10 more than runner-up Rodrigo Vallejo. It was his second consecutive riding title after taking the championship at Sam Houston Race Park this summer. Prior to that, his only other career title came at Idaho's Les Bois Park in 1973.

Fredericksburg Wins Shake for Champions of Champions Berth

Jim and Marilyn Helzer's Fredricksburg won a shake over Vals Fortune to earn a berth in the Grade 1, $500,000 Champion of Champions on Dec. 10 at Los Alamitos in Cypress, Calif.

"I talked to Mr. Helzer after his horse won the shake and he was very excited," said Los Alamitos Racing Secretary Ron Church, who conducted the shake. "He's looking forward to running his horse in the Champion of Champions."

The Helzers are no strangers to winning the world's most prestigious race for older Quarter Horses. The Helzers campaigned the legendary Refrigerator, the sport's all-time leading money earner and a record three-time winner of the Champion of Champions. The stallion Fredericksburg was purchased privately last week by his new owners.

A shake was needed after Fredricksburg and Vals Fortune finished in a dead-heat for first in the 440-yard Refrigerator Handicap at Lone Star Park on Friday night. The Refrigerator awards its winner a berth into the Champion of Champions. Since there was a dead-heat, Champion of Champions rules state that a shake had conducted. If the winner of the shake opts to bypass the Champion of Champions, that berth will go to Texas Chatterbox, who posted the sixth fastest time in the Z. Wayne Griffin Director's Trials.

As it stands, here's the Champion of Champions field: Apollitical Time, Apollos Favorite, Catchmeinyourdreams, DM Shicago, Fredricksburg, Lds Dash For Dylan, Like Frankie And Me, Ocean Runaway, Righteous Brother and Whosleavingwho.

Try Putting a Horse Under the Tree This Christmas

Can't decide what to buy friends and family for Christmas? How about a racehorse? Two horse sales are scheduled at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas before the Christmas holiday.

On Saturday, Dec. 3 at noon, the Eclipse Sale Company will stage its first Eclipse Fall Mixed Sale, featuring more than 150 American Quarter Horses, Thoroughbreds and Paint horses, ranging from weanlings to broodmares to stallions and horses of racing age.

A week later on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 10 a.m., Fasig-Tipton will conduct the final North American Thoroughbred sale of the year with a catalogue of 277 for the Texas Mixed Sale, mainly comprised of broodmares, weanlings and yearlings.

Horses featured at the Texas Mixed Sale include daughters of sires such as Black Tie Affair, Carson City, Deputy Minister, Notebook, Riverman, Runaway Groom, Silver Deputy, Time for a Change and Tom Rolfe. The covering sires are an equally qualified list of stallions and include Congaree, Ecton Park, Magic Cat and Valid Expectations. Weanlings and yearlings will be offered by nationally-noted sires Grindstone, Honour and Glory, Lost Soldier, Langfuhr, Millennium Wind, Richter Scale and Talk Is Money. There is also strong representation from Southwest stallions such as Afternoon Deelites, Captain Countdown, Exciting Story, Gold Legend, Magic Cat, Open Forum, Seneca Jones, Storm Day, Time Bandit, Touch Tone and Valid Expectations.

Early entries to the Eclipse Fall Mixed Sale include horses by mares bred to such stallions as Chicks Beduino, Streakin Six, Takin On The Cash, Leaving Memories, Southern Cartel, Feature Mr Jess, This Snow Is Royal, Truxton King, Rare Form, Magic Dozen, Splash Bac, Raise A Secret, Strawfly Special, Heza Fast Man, Invisible Injun, Fishers Dash, Sixarun, Easily Smashed, Royal Sovereign, Easy Winning Jet, Texas Hero, First Down Dash, Mr Eye Opener, Reckless Dash, Dash Thru Traffic, Toast To Dash and Seperatist.

Live Racing Returns to Lone Star Park Thursday, April 13, 2006

Live horse racing will return to Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie and North Texas on Thursday, April 13, 2006 for the 10th annual Spring Thoroughbred Season, a 66-date season over 15 weeks through July 23.

The Spring Thoroughbred Season will feature live racing five days a week for the first six weeks of the meeting (Wednesday through Sunday through May 20), then just four days a week for the remainder of the meeting (Thursday through Sunday starting May 25). There will be special holiday racing on Monday, May 29 (Memorial Day), Monday, July 3 and Tuesday, July 4 (Independence Day). Because of those holiday programs, there will be no live racing on Thursday, June 1 and Thursday, July 6.

The ninth Fall Meeting of Champions for American Quarter Horses will be a 32-date meeting from Friday, Oct. 6 through Saturday, Dec. 2. Racing will be staged for nine weeks every Wednesday through Saturday night. There will be no live racing on Wednesday, Nov. 22 and Thursday, Nov. 23 due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

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