Flying Avalanche Wins 6666 Ranch Handicap at LSP

(Saturday, November 8, 2003) - Sylvia Shaw Pitman’s Flying Avalanche won Saturday’s $20,000 6666 Ranch Handicap at Lone Star Park by a narrow nose over Valors Gold in front of 4,233 fans who braved rain and 50-degree conditions in Grand Prairie, Texas. The 4-year-old Strawfly Special colt, ridden by Larry Payne, covered 400 yards on a main track labeled “sloppy” in a :19.74 – a stakes record for the fifth running of the race for 3-year-old and up American Quarter Horses.

Flying Avalanche, trained by the red-hot John Buchanan, collected $11,800 for the victory and improved his record to six wins and $46,564 in 14 starts. Sent postward as the 5-1 third wagering choice in the field of eight, the Oklahoma-bred paid $12.20 to win.

“He just ran a good race,” Buchanan said. “This horse gets better with age. We didn’t do much with him as a two-year-old. Larry was the first person who ever worked him for us…and said he could run.”

The victory was Buchanan’s fourth stakes win of the 22-night meeting. The 33-date season concludes Nov. 29 with eight more stakes to be run. Buchanan – winner of the Red River Handicap with Run And Pray, the Rheudasil Handicap with Go You Must and Classic Chevrolet Heartbeat of America Handicap with Gone Celebrating – is in pursuit of the late Steve Van Bebber’s record for stakes wins in a Lone Star Park meeting, which is six in 2000.

Payne, meanwhile, bagged his third stakes win this season. He rode Run And Pray in victory the Red River for Buchanan and was aboard Graham Paint Futurity winner Bold Bucephalus.

“He got away [from the starting gate] pretty good,” Payne said. He was just about a half [length] behind the horses in the middle of the racetrack…I’ve seen this horse close real well two or three times and that’s the kind of race he usually runs – finishing real strong on the end. He did it again, today.”

Iowa Gold, involved in a tight three-way photo finish for the win, was another neck back in third. Friday 123, Midnitraintogeorgia, Burrs Warrior, High Strideing Hero and Dashin Prince Henry completed the order of finish. Famous Signature was scratched.

Dashin Prince Henry, the mild 2-1 favorite over Iowa Gold, lost all chance when he stumbled at the start.

Flying Avalanche’s final time of :19.74 narrowly eclipsed the old stakes record of :19.75 set by 1999 winner Pack of Memories.

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