Apollos Darlin Captures the First Stakes of the 2003 Quarter Horse meeting at SHRP

(Friday, June 27, 2003) - Racing fans and followers of the Honky Tonk country music artist, Jerry Jeff Walker packed Sam Houston Race Park as the 2003 American Quarter Horse meeting kicked off tonight. Ten live races were carded including the feature, the $14,000 Harris County Stakes.

A field of eight runners went to the gate and under a confident ride from Randy Edison, Apollos Darlin captured the first stakes of the 43-day meeting. Owned and bred by the Mitchell Ranch and trained by Janet Van Bebber, the 3-year-old filly completed the 350 yard distance in a time of :17:710.

"Janet told me she would be happy if we ran third," said Edison. "The filly broke well and I stayed after her and she came through and ran a good race."

Trainer Van Bebber was the leading trainer at Sam Houston Race Park in both 2001 and 2002. She was thrilled to win the stakes for longtime owner Gober Mitchell and his family.

"Our biggest objective with this filly was to get her black-typed," said Van Bebber. "The Mitchell family is involved in breeding and they keep their horses for several generations, so we tried to do everything we could do to improve their pedigree. We’re thrilled with this result; we wanted to run in the top three and she’s honest. It just goes to show that being an honest athlete makes you keeps you capable of getting the job done anytime."

Dashin La Jolla, trained by Dave Correll for owner Bob Weik, rallied for second. She was making her first start since last August and ran a nice race under rider Jerry Lee Yoakum.

"She really needed the race," admitted Yoakum. "She had not ran since she won the (TQHA Sires' Futurity) last year. This was just to get her ready for her next race. She ran a good race. I feel confident she will run big next time."

Apollos Darlin, was sent off as the fourth betting choice at odds of 9-1 and paid $20.40, $7.80 and $3.60 across the board. The 6-7 exacta returned $68.20 and the trifecta with favorite, Mj Gold paid $127.80.

Jiffy Lube Opening Weekend continues on Saturday, June 28 with ten races beginning at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, June 29 with a 5:00 p.m. post time. There will be a special holiday live race card on Friday, July 4 beginning at 5:00 p.m. Following the races, Sam Houston Race Park will present its popular Foley’s & The Fourth Fireworks Extravaganza.

Shiney Sign Fastest Qualifier for the Bayer Texas Challenge Championship

Trials were held on Friday, June 27, for the Bayer Texas Challenge Championship (G1). Fifteen Quarter Horses competed in two trials and Shiney Sign, owned by Mac Cavasar was the fastest qualifier. The 3-year-old colt completed the 400-yard trial in a time of :19.850. Trained by Duane Hartsell, Shiney Sign won the 2002 Sam Houston Futurity and was honored as Sam Houston Race Park Champion Texas-bred and 2-Year-Old of the Meeting.

The finals will take place on Saturday, July 12. The complete list of qualifiers is as follows:

Bayer Legend Derby Trials
Trials: Friday, June 27, 2003
Finals: Saturday, July 12, 2003

Horse Jockey Trainer Qualifying Time
Shiney Sign J. R. Ramirez Duane Hartsell :19.850
Shakem Elvis Manuel Garcia James Harris :19.891
Boot Scootin Task Juan Vazquez John Buchanan :20.053
Jess Maid Magic Gilbert Ortiz Heath Taylor :20.065
Thompson Gin Matt Casebolt Charles Moore :20.088
Shake Em White Manuel Garcia James Harris :20.160
Athena Raquel Rodrigo Vallejo Joe Garza :20.178
Sailing Winner Bill McClaran Jeff Acuna :20.318
Lovetostrawfly Tram Telg Sheila Klein :20.353
Congregate J. R. Ramirez Duane Hartsell :20.371
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