TEXAS MILE STAKES | PURSE: $200,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS & UP | GRADE 3 | 1 MILE
Endorsement made a name for himself when taking the Grade 3 Sunland Derby by three lengths in 2010 but an injury sidelined the son of Distorted Humor until December 2011. Following three conditioning starts at Gulfstream Park, the Casner Racing colorbearer returned to stakes competition on Saturday and easily went two-for-two against black-type company with a two-length victory in the Grade 3, $200,000 Texas Mile Stakes at Lone Star Park.
Jockey Robby Albarado settled Endorsement down on the rail just in behind the leaders through splits of :23 3/5, :46 4/5 and 1:11 2/5. Canonize was the first to make his move in the 10-horse field, taking command rounding the turn while Endorsement found himself trapped behind a wall of runners on the inside. Albarado angled his five-year-old mount to the outside and the Eoin Harty trainee took off after Canonize, easily passing the even-money favorite and pulling away to finish the eight-furlong, fast-track contest in 1:36 3/5.
Endorsement was the 5-2 second choice in the field and paid $7, $3.40 and $2.80 for the win. Canonize was best of the rest, 1 3/4 lengths in front of Get in Da House, while Coyote Legend, Moonshine Mullin, Oak Motte, Omniscient, Lydia's Last Step, Fifteen Love and Hurricane Ike completed the order under the wire.
Endorsement is relatively lightly raced thanks to his injuries, now owning a 4-3-0 mark from just eight career starts. His lone off-the-board placing came when he made his career debut at Churchill Downs in November 2009. The chestnut ran himself into Kentucky Derby consideration the next year with his nice win in the Sunland Derby, but suffered a non-displaced condylar fracture in his right front leg during a workout the week before the Run for the Roses.
Sidelined for more than a year, Endorsement returned to training last June but didn't start in a race until December 10, when he finished second in an optional claimer. Another second against similar rivals came on New Year's Day, but the five-year-old finally found his way back to the winner's circle with a front-running optional claiming win on February 1. Traveling to Lone Star Park for this score, Endorsement boosted his career earnings to $585,833.
Bred in Kentucky by Kilroy Thoroughbred Partnership, Endorsement sold for $450,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. He is out of the multiple Grade 3-placed A.P. Indy mare Charmed Gift, making him a half-brother to Mexican champion Vistoso, and his second dam is Argentinean champion Potridee. Endorsement's female family also includes another Argentinean champion in Potrizaris, who was named the 1998 Mare of the Year in Argentina, as well as multiple Grade 2 hero T. H. Approval.