-photo by Coady Photography

High Stridin Lady Tops the Field in the $53,100 Sam Houston Maiden Classic at SHRP

Houston, Texas (July 10, 2004) - Tonight's card featured the finals of the $53,100 Sam Houston Maiden Classic with ten of the fastest qualifiers from trials run on June 25. Three fillies squared off against colts and geldings, and one of them had the magic touch tonight. High Stridin Lady, the fastest qualifier in trials, drew off powerfully under leading rider Danny Lavergne.

Trained by Benny Pennington and co-owned by Pennington and Eugene Savage, the 4-year-old daughter of Fishers Dash, crossed the wire of the 350-yard stakes in a time of :17.809. She is undeafeated in 2004 and earned $21,240 for the win.

The stakes victory capped a busy day for Lavergne, who had just returned from his 25-year-old son, Joshua's wedding.

"I may interrupt his honeymoon to tell him I won," quipped Lavergne. "This has been a great meet for me. My wife (Ann) is my agent and she's done a great job."

Pennington was a very happy man in the winner's circle tonight, noting the progress High Stridin Lady has made over the last two years.

"She didn't run as a 2-year-old at all," explained Pennington. "It took her all of last year to finally put it together. Now she's coming into herself and showing all this maturity."

Longshot Katrina Duncan ran second for trainer Joseph Vacca, who saddled the winner of the 2003 Sam Houston Maiden Classic, Elite Illusion. Nothin Bugs Jessie, the second fastest qualifier in trials, was third.

ESPN anchor Kenny Mayne, in Houston for the All-Star Game, presented the trophy to the winning connections.

"We're playing softball as part of the All-Star Celebration," said Mayne, who filmed a feature at Sam Houston Race Park during Super Bowl week. He asked that a race be named the "He Hate Me Classic" in honor of Rod Smart of the Panthers. He enjoyed live American Quarter Horse racing and made the following comment as part of the post-race interview.

"This was bigger than the 'He Hate Me Classic,'" said Mayne. "The time was faster than Secretariat's time in the Kentucky Derby in 1973. I think that says a lot."

High Stridin Lady, went off as the favorite and paid $5.80 for the win. The 3-5 exacta returned $149.60 and the trifecta paid $589.20.

Mr Ike Dot Com, Mysterious Streaker, A Classy Cartel, Ima O Toole, A Little Beduino, Lucky Whirl and Cash N Fly completed the order of finish.

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