Illegal Memories Wins Closing Night's $1 Million Texas Classic Futurity at Lone Star

(Saturday, December 1, 2007) - Illegal Memories made a strong case to be named Lone Star Park's Horse of the Meeting with a hard-fought neck victory over Pool and Red Storm Cat in Saturday's $1,069,297 Texas Classic Futurity on closing night of Lone Star Park's Fall Meeting of Champions. Pool and Red Storm Cat finished in a dead heat for second.

Illegal Memories, with Roy Baldillez in the saddle, ran 400 yards in :19.645 - the fourth fastest time in 15 editions of Texas' richest horse race. He paid $5.20 to win as the 8-5 favorite in the field of 10 two-year-old Quarter Horses.

"Sure enough, he showed his potential tonight and we're all very proud," declared winning trainer Doug McMullen. "I'm just grateful to be a part of this horse."

Earlier in the meeting, Illegal Memories, a $5,500 purchase by owners Tim Lange and Charlie Forbes, finished second to Rock Solid Jess in the Grade 1 Dash For Cash Futurity. He also was the fastest qualifier to both futurities.

The $475,837 winner's share of the purse boosted Illegal Memories' earnings to $577,916, including $553,493 at Lone Star this season.

Seasonal champions, including Horse of the Meeting, will be announced Monday morning (before 12 p.m. CT).

The adventurous juvenile gelding had a history of shying from the photo finish light beam at the wire, but Illegal Memories was professional as could be Saturday . . . almost. A Texas-bred gelded son of Illegal Runaway out of the Leaving Memories mare Good Ole Memories, Illegal Memories collected his first stakes victory with a determined effort, despite drifting out late in the race.

"He warmed up great," Baldillez said. "He just walked right into the gate and when it opened he had his mind on his business. [Coronas Leaving You] was in front but midway down the lane I caught him and [Pool] ran at him late. He's just an exceptional horse, he's a great horse. The light at this finish didn't bother him tonight. He was in a battle and running game, and he didn't pay any attention to it."

Red Storm Cat finished on terms with Pool with a late charge from the outside. Those two finished a half-length in front of Swingin Jess, who gave trainer Heath Taylor his best finish with a record six starters in the race.

Previously unbeaten Coronas Leaving You (vanned off after the race with "muscle spasms, nothing serious" according to Taylor), Rebas in the House, Eyesa Jumpn, Captain Courage, Separatist Baby and Always Cumminatcha completed the order of finish.

Illegal Memories' triumph came before a crowd of 5,843 on the season finale (the second largest crowd of the meet only behind the 7,282 on Breeders' Cup Day), which featured a trio of stakes events.

In the Grade 1, $395,476 Texas Classic Derby, longshot Reba Cleata bobbled a bit at the start from the inside post, but dug in gamely to edge Remember Me Rose by a neck to provide a one-two finish for 3-year-old fillies. Trained by Steve Garrison, Reba Cleata ran 440 yards in :21.376 under jockey Edgar Baca.

It was the Texas-bred's fifth win in 13 starts and first stakes triumph. The $175,987 first prize jumped her career bankroll to $208,126 for owner G.P. Jerry Hernandez. She paid $28.80 to win.

"She knows how to dig in deep when she gets challenged," Garrison said. "I have to give a lot of credit to the owner and her handlers. It might be my name in the program, but I'm just a small part of the team."

The $20,000 Rheudasil Handicap - sandwiched between the Derby and Futurity - went to Los Ladrilleros Horse Racing Co.'s This Candys Royal. Like Illegal Memories and Reba Cleata, 4-year-old gelding This Candys Royal collected his first stakes win.

This Candys Royal, who paid $17 to win, clocked 350 yards in :17.53. Ramon Sanchez rode the winner for trainer Frank Mendez. His record is now 17-6-2-0-$50,262, thanks to the $11,440 first prize.

"Diamond" Jim Brooks, 56, won three races Saturday to collect his third straight Lone Star Park riding title, with 32 wins, two more than Arturo Puga. Judd Kearl repeated as top trainer with 24 wins, three more than Bobby Touchet's 21. A.D. Maddox won eight races for his third leading owner title in a row.

Live racing returns to Lone Star Park in 2008 with a 65-date Spring Thoroughbred Season that will cover 16 weeks from April 10-July 27. The 31-date Fall Meeting of Champions will be held over 10 weeks from Sept. 26-Nov. 29.

Next year's fall schedule will be slightly different than this year's meeting. Instead of running Wednesday-Saturday, the 2008 season will open one week earlier than usual and feature Thursday-Saturday racing in October and a Wednesday-Saturday schedule in November.

Until then, simulcast wagering will continue daily in Lone Star's Post Time Pavilion (except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).

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