GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas -- Wanna Runner indicated he will be a force in next month's $1 million Queen's Plate when he rolled to a commanding, five and a quarter length win in the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Derby at Lone Star Park on Saturday.
It was the second straight dominant derby win for Wanna Runner, who last month captured the $600,000 WinStar Derby at Sunland Park by four and three quarter lengths. His margin of victory Saturday was the largest in the 10-year running of the Lone Star Derby.
"He looked like Barbaro down the stretch," said Bob Baffert, who trains Wanna Runner and who won the inaugural Lone Star Derby in 1997 with Anet.
Wanna Runner ($3) broke well and held his position along the rail as he raced with Rain On Monday, who led the field through fractions of 23.33 seconds for the opening quarter, and 47.14 for the half-mile mark. Wanna Runner moved to the lead through six furlongs in 1:11.03 and was in hand through the stretch, covering the mile and a sixteenth in 1:43.71.
"He finished very well," said Victor Espinoza, who rode Wanna Runner. "He finished strong."
Baffert said provided Wanner Runner is doing well, he will make his next start in the Queen's Plate, which will be run at Woodbine near Toronto on June 25. The gelding is a Canadian-bred son of El Corredor and he races for Mike Pegram. Wanna Runner earned $185,000 for his win Saturday, which was his fourth career victory in eight starts. He has now earned $566,950.
Wait In Line rallied for second in the Lone Star Derby at 46-1. It was another five and a half lengths back in third to Admiral's Arch, who was followed under the wire by Mr. Pursuit, Rain On Monday and Red Raymond.
There were two other stakes on the card supporting the Lone Star Derby. In the $125,000 fillies division of the Texas Stallion Stakes, Open Meadows ($10.60) was a two and three quarter length winner over pacesetter Shesabigcat. Open Meadows was making her two-turn debut off a wire-to-wire maiden win at Lone Star on April 13.
"That's quite a jump, from a three-quarter maiden race to a mile and a sixteenth stakes, and today, she just settled like an old pro," said Casey Lambert, who rode the winner for trainer Jack Bruner.