Elite Illusion Tops the Field in the $42,900 Sam Houston Maiden Classic at SHRP

(Sunday, August 3, 2003) - Tonight’s card featured the finals of the $42,900 Sam Houston Maiden Classic with ten of the fastest qualifiers from trials run on July 18 returning to the racetrack tonight.

Three fillies squared off against colts and geldings and one of them had the magic touch tonight. Elite Illusion, the fifth fastest qualifier in trials, drew off powerfully under rider Nickey Laws. Bred in Texas by Jerry Windham, the 3-year-old daughter of Relegate, crossed the wire of the 350-yard stakes in a time of :18.138 and picked up the winner’s check for $17,160.

"She did great tonight," said Laws. "She was good in the gate, went to the front and never looked back. She’s nice as she can be."

Trained by Joseph Vacca, Elite Illusion was one of the more lightly raced runners in the field. The Sam Houston Maiden Classic is a stakes written for older horses that were still maidens as of July 1, 2003. She drove to the finish in her trial and replicated that effort this evening.

"We knew she was going to run well tonight," commented Vacca. "We’ll see how she comes out of this race before we see what’s next."

Paloma Sound Dash, the eighth fastest qualifier in trials, ran a game race under Raul Ramirez, Jr. and My Prince of Strides was third by a neck with Eddie Cox, Jr. in the irons.

Fastest qualifier, Treysandtriggers, owned by Trevian Edwards and trained by Wilbert Roberts, broke slowly and finished fourth.

"He just kind of sat down when they opened the gate," said Roberts. "I don’t know why he did that. I’ll see how he is and look for a NW2 allowance later."

Elite Illusion, sent off at odds of 14-1, paid $30.00 to win, $22.00 to place and $22.20 to show. The generous exotic payouts featured a $609.00 exacta and a $6.766 trifecta.

Completing the order of finish were Diamond South, Royal Six Grand, Mr Nokona, Blazing One, Lead By Example and Ima Special Joe.

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