Amor Lijero Returns to the Winner's Circle in the $14,000 Gulf Coast Stakes at SHRP

(Saturday, July 5, 2003) - Amor Lijero returned to the winner's circle tonight at Sam Houston Race Park, winning tonight’s feature, the $14,000 Gulf Coast Stakes.

The 3-year-old sorrel gelding is owned and bred by Orlando Rodriguez of Elgin, Texas and trained by Bobby Martinez. Ridden by Sam Houston Race Park leading rider, J. R. Ramirez, Amor Lijero left the gate cleanly and drew off, completing the 350-yard stakes in a time of :17.770.

Rodriguez, who is 15-years-old, was pleased to see his charge return to his winning ways. Last summer Amor Lijero won the trial and final of the $45,500 Dixie Stallion Stakes Futurity.

"Bobby has just helped me a lot with him," said Rodriguez. "We had a great rider and did good today. He will come back for the TQHA Sires’ Cup Derby (on August 8)."

"He raced great," commented Ramirez. "He stood in the gate perfectly and he left there in front. He tried to get in a little on me, but I whipped him left-handed and after that, he just kept getting better and better."

Hesa Lil Bit High, trained by Jesse Yoakum and ridden by his son, Jerry Lee, ran second. Owned and bred by Gordon Haslam, the 3-year-old colt has hit the board in ten of his fourteen career starts.

"I was bumped a little bit in the start, but he ran his race," said Yoakum. "He got up there in the front like he usually does, but they catch him. He is a nice horse. If we could get him to run the last part of the race like he does the first, we'd make a lot of money."

Vivid Velocity, who earned a speed index of 109 in his last race at Delta Downs, ran third for trainer Ron Gilmer. Jockey Eddie Cox, Jr. was in the irons and believes that the son of Strawfly Special is stakes material.

"He’s a good one," stated Cox. "He started at Ruidoso last year for the All-American and hurt a shin. Then they tried him in California. I said let’s bring him back home and let him win a race here. He just blew them away at Delta. He proved tonight he belongs with these kind and they’ll be talking about him as this meet goes on."

Amor Lijero, the fourth betting choice in the eight-horse field, returned $11.00 to win, $5.00 to place and $3.20 to show. The 2-6 exacta paid $48.60 and the trifecta returned $263.80. Completing the rest of the field were Chads The Winner, Neon Dasher, Mr Gatti, Lookin Good Bug and Be Be O Toole.

News and Notes

On Friday night, there were two trials run for the $15,000-added Professional's Choice Texas Claiming Challenge. Redgaf, owned by Dallas Blakely and R. P. Stuart, was the fastest qualifier of the sixteen American Quarter Horse entered. The 3-year-old son of First Place Dash broke his maiden last summer at Sam Houston Race Park and ran a solid race for trainer Ronald Gilmer. Eddie Cox, Jr. rode Redgaf to victory, crossing the wire of the 350-yard trial race in a time of :17.792.

Redgaf and nine additional qualifiers will return for the finals of the $15,000-added Professional's Choice Texas Claiming Challenge at Sam Houston Race Park on Sunday, July 20.

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