Fast Talkin Val Captures the $107,190 MBNA America Texas Challenge Championship at SHRP

(Saturday, July 9, 2005) - No trials were needed for the Grade 1 $107,190 MBNA America Texas Challenge Championship, one of seven stakes on the stellar Saturday, July 9 card at Sam Houston Race Park. Fast Talkin Val made the evening truly memorable for trainer Heath Taylor and owner Lynda Hickman of Flat Get It Farm, Inc. Bred in Florida by Hickman, Fast Talkin Val ran impressively under Gilbert Ortiz and defeated an outstanding field of ten older American Quarter Horses. The 4-year-old chestnut gelding crossed the wire of the 440-yard Grade 1 stakes in :21.536 and will represent Texas in the $300,000 MBNA America® Challenge Championships on Saturday, November 5 at Los Alamitos Race Course.

"When I rode him in the 250 handicap at Delta, he ran a great race,” said Ortiz. “Coming back for the second effort, he ran second to Vals Fortune. Today he didn't leave as sharp, but he made a pretty good run at the end of the race. He was running fourth and then just accelerated."

"This has been a great year and a lot of fun for us,” acknowledged Taylor, who is second in the nation in Quarter Horse wins in 2005. “We've had tremendous success at a lot of places and I want to express my appreciation to the owners for their confidence and my staff for getting the horses running at all the tracks. We have a tremendous team and we all strive to win. Everybody is really clicking right now. We'll look at some races and might go to Los Alamitos; I think to win a Grade 1 there its imperative to have an out on their track. We might start him in the Go Man Go or the Los Al Classic."

G.R. Carter, Jr. was in the lead aboard Country Chicks Man, but could not hold off the late charge from Fast Talkin Val.

“That colt ran a really good race,” said Carter. “He just got beat by a horse that run a little better. He wound up good and broke from the gate beautifully. He ran a strong race, but just flat got outrun. Whenever the one I rode gives that good of a performance, all you can do is take your hat off for the winner, because he just ran a little bit better.”

Taylor saddled three horses for the MBNA Texas Challenge and Fashion N Flashin rallied for third under Jerry Lee Yoakum.

"This is the first time I rode this horse and he ran a hell of a race,” stated Yoakum. “He got away real good. For a real short, fat horse you wouldn't think he would run that far but he can! He ran a super race."

Fast Talkin Val left the gate as the post time favorite and returned $6.60, $4.20 and $3.20 across the board. The 7-11 exacta paid $49.40 and the 7-11-5 trifecta returned $961.40. Frostys Money Man, Gray Invasion, Fredericksburg, Will to Win 123, Splendid Sam Perry, Special Task Force and Run With It completed the order of finish.

Texas Chatterbox Upsets in the $35,460 John Deere Texas Distaff Challenge

Texas Chatterbox, owned by William A. Orr, Jr. of Sweeny, Texas and trained by his son William “Bubba” Orr, III, won the $35,460 John Deere Texas Distaff at Sam Houston Race Park. The 4-year-old filly was the third fastest qualifier in trials and defeated the field of nine in :20.142 under regular rider, Michael D. Phillips.

“She's a real nice filly,” said Phillips. “ She had some breathing problems earlier in the year, but Dr. Hayes and "Bubba" got her fixed up. I thought she had a good effort in the trial, but tonight, she was on automatic pilot."

Sent off at 12-1, Texas Chatterbox paid $26.20 for the win. A Rare Cartel ran second and La Torch, the fastest qualifier in trials, was third.

Little Kool Barbie Victorious in the $58,770 Bayer Legend Texas Derby Challenge

Little Kool Barbie ($4.80) with Gilbert Ortiz aboard dominated the field of ten in the $58,770 Bayer Legend Texas Derby Challenge. Trained by Heath Taylor, the daughter of Kool Kue Baby was the second fastest qualifier in trials, but ran like a champion in the final, winning the 400-yard stakes in :19.820.

"This filly ran today just like her mama (Kool Kue Baby),” commented Ortiz, who rode Kool Kue Baby to many of her 34 lifetime wins. “She was a hard filly to get along with and not easy to break, but she had some surgery last year and they got her mind right. Now she goes to running; her last three outs, she has run tremendous races and runs them easy."

Man With Money outran his odds of 23-1 to complete the exacta and Cartel Leader ran third. Fastest qualifier in trials, Kathys Star Quest, was fourth.

My Prince of Strides Scores the Upset in the $28,350 MD Barns Texas Distance Challenge

Eight distance specialists led by defending champion Run And Pray competed in the $28,350 MD Barns Texas Distance Challenge. Trainer Matt Baker scored a big upset as My Prince of Strides gunned from the gate and held on under rider Mark Page. Run And Pray, who was voted 2004 AQHA Distance Champion, dueled briefly, but could not keep pace with the winner.

"Mark rode a great race,” said Baker. “He left good and took advantage of his inside post. He had always been hung four or five wide, so I give Mark a lot of credit keeping him close to the rail. When that horse pressed us, being the World Champion he is, I thought, we were beat. Somehow Mark kept him going; it was a really nice win for us."

My Prince of Strides, sent off at 13-1, paid $28.80 for the win and crossed the wire of the 870-yard contest in :45.338. Run An Pray was second and Kaydena ran third.

$28,980 Professional’s Choice Texas Claiming Challenge

A field of ten went postward for the $28,980 Professional’s Choice Texas Claiming Challenge and fastest qualifier, Love My Dash rendered an effortless performance for owner Jackie Sessions and trainer Janet Van Bebber. Regular rider John Hamilton was aboard and notched the fourth consecutive win for the sorrel 3-year-old who was bred in Texas by Sessions.

"One of the most rewarding things for a trainer is when you are able to take a horse and maximize his potential,” commented Van Bebber. “He was not an easy baby - kind of a 'Dennis the Menace' and would try something on you every time. This year he is so professional and has matured into a nice, stakes-level horse."

Love My Dash went off as the heavy betting choice and paid $3.20 for the win. He completed his 350-yard sprint in :17.883 over Moon Pie Special and Dashin Quick.

News and Notes

Live handle for the ten-race card was $737,174, the highest of the 2005 Quarter Horse Meeting at Sam Houston Race Park. Live racing resumes on Sunday, July 10 with a post time of 1:30 p.m. The 2005 Quarter Horse Meeting will continue through September 11.

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