Chipeyed Charlie Wins the First Stakes of the 2005 Sam Houston Quarter Horse Meeting

(Friday, June 24, 2005) - Live American Quarter Horse racing returned to Sam Houston Race Park this evening. The well-attended opening was bolstered by Biker Night and Jerry Jeff Walker performing in the first of eight Bud Light Texas Music Explosion concerts.

In tonight’s feature, the $14,000 Stephen F. Austin Stakes, Chipeyed Charlie ran one of the best races of his career, defeating his seven rivals in the accredited Texas-bred stakes. Mark Page had the mount for trainer John Buchanan and guided the 5-year-old gelding to victory from the far outside post. Chipeyed Charlie closed powerfully, covering 350-yards in a final time of :17.850. This was the first stakes win for the 7-year-old gelding, bred in Texas by Jimmy and Karen Powell.

“I rode him last year and he finished in a dead-heat for the win,” said Page. “He tried to get in the last time I rode him. Today, he left better. John did an awesome job with this horse; he was a superior gate horse today.”

“He had a little better part of the racetrack,” commented Buchanan, who also saddled second-place finisher, Lil Bit Rowdy. “This horse ran a good race; he’s never had much confidence in himself, but we ran him in some cheaper races and he showed his heart tonight.”

Rider Alex Baldillez, Jr. was able to overcome some bumping out of the gate and finished second on 16-1 longshot, Lil Bit Rowdy.

"He's a lot better horse now,” said Baldillez. “They took the blinkers off of him tonight and he ran the first time without them. He ran real big tonight."

Ronas Wind Dancer, ridden by 2004 Sam Houston Race Park leading rider, Danny Lavergne, ran third. He was the betting favorite, but may have been compromised by the delay in the start of the race when Eyes Moving Easy became agitated and had to be backed out of the starting gate and reloaded.

“He stood okay in the gate even with the commotion,” said Lavergne. “He broke hard and took the lead about mid stretch. When the five (Lil Bit Rowdy) went by, he took a deep breath. He was just a little tired at the end.”

Chipeyed Charlie, sent off at 5-1, returned $12.40 to win. The 8-5 exacta returned $197.40 and the trifecta paid $780.40. Eyes Moving Easy, Rowdy O Toole, Sir Speedy Duncan, Ima Streakin Val and Fancy Maple Sugar completed the order of finish.

Live racing continues at Sam Houston Race Park on Saturday, June 25 with 11 trials for the TQHA Sale Futurity. Post time is 7:00 p.m. Opening weekend will wrap up with live racing on Sunday, June 26 with a special 1:30 p.m. post time. The 2005 American Quarter Horse meeting at Sam Houston Race Park continues through September 11.

News and Notes

Trials were held for two MBNA Challenge races earlier in the evening. In the John Deere Texas Distaff Challenge for fillies and mares, La Torch ridden by Danny Lavergne was the fastest qualifier, completing her 400-yard trials in :20.183. Trained by

Roy Roberts, La Torch will return to Sam Houston Race Park on July 9 for the finals. A Toast To Lightning with John Hamilton riding for trainer Janet Van Bebber was the second fastest qualifier, crossing the wire in :20.423

Kathys Star Quest, winner of the 2004 Manor Downs Futurity, was the fastest qualifier in trials for the Bayer Texas Derby Challenge. Trained by Frank Ramirez and ridden by Rodrigo Vallejo, the 3-year-old filly cruised to victory in a time of :20.137. Little Kool Barbie with Gilbert Ortiz aboard was the second fastest qualifier, winning her trial in :20.141.

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