Mighty Invictus Powers Home in $147,400 Dash For Cash Derby; Si Puede Wins Seventh Straight in Rheudasil Handicap at Lone Star Park

(Friday, October 21, 2005) - Mighty Invictus kicked home powerfully and surged past even-money favorite First Comment in the final yards to win Friday night's $147,400 Dash For Cash Derby by a neck in front of 4,024 at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Mighty Invictus, ridden by Juan Vazquez and trained by Jack Brooks, paid $6.80 to win after running 440 yards in :21.52 - the third fastest time in eight runnings of the Grade 1 race. It was the Mr Jess Perry colt's first stakes win.

For Brooks, it was the third time the Hall of Fame horseman has won the Dash For Cash Derby. He won the inaugural running in 1997 with champion Dashing Perfection and the 2002 renewal with champion filly First Regards. In addition, Vazquez has ridden three of the last four winners in the race.

First Comment broke quick from the inside post position and had about a length advantage over Mighty Invictus, a notoriously sluggish starter, according to Vazquez. "Mr. Brooks took the blinkers off a couple starts back and I think that's made him break a little better lately," Vazquez said. "I knew we'd be fine because he's always got that other gear late. He's really a runner."

"If he could just leave [the starting gate], I don't know how good he could be," Brooks said. "He's been that way all year long and was the same way as a two-year-old. His first jump is usually good, but he lets them run away from him. Then he kicks it in and says 'Hey, it's time to go catch 'em.' He's got as much talent for a horse as I've had over the years. If he could just break like Dashing Perfection, he could be a great, great horse."

Mighty Invictus, an Oklahoma-bred, spent most of the summer chasing top 3-year-old DM Shicago in the Ruidoso, Rainbow and All American derbies. Saturday's triumph was his sixth in 15 career starts. The $58,960 winner's share of the purse boosted his career earnings to $293,183.

Earlier this year, Jim Helzer of Arlington, Texas bought a share of Mighty Invictus from You & Me Partners' Terry Bell of Lawton, Okla. and "Bud" Hill of Dimmett, Texas. "Those guys selected the horse; I bought him to go to the breeding farm (in 2006 at JEH Stallion Station in Pilot Point, Texas)," Helzer quipped.

At least two more starts are in the plans for Mighty Invictus - the Texas Classic Derby trials on Nov. 11, which could lead to a berth in the Grade 1, $400,000-estimated final on Nov. 25.

One horse that Mighty Invictus could meet in the Texas Classics is 3-year-old filly Si Puede, who captured her seventh win in a row with a neck victory over top 4-year-old filly Bullions N Garters in the Grade 3, $20,000 Rheudasil Handicap earlier on the program.

Si Puede ran 350 yards in :17.47 under jockey Jose Vega and paid $3 to win. For San Antonio-based owner-breeder Lukin Gilliand, the father of the former Texas Racing Commissioner, it was her 10th win in 15 career starts. Her earnings now total $171,040.

Trainer Dave Correll opted to bypass the Dash For Cash Derby trials and final and run against her own sex instead.

"I wanted to give her a little rest because she was campaigned pretty hard this summer," Correll said of Si Puede, the Horse of the Meeting at Sam Houston Race Park this summer. "This sets us up nicely for the Texas Classic Derby. She beat a field of really nice horses tonight. She just steps up every time. You can't ask for more."

DOWN THE STRETCH - Southwest Racing Partnership's flashy juvenile gelding Make A Secret, who zipped 400 yards in :19.759 two weeks ago, will start from post position No. 7 in Saturday's Grade 1, $310,770 Dash For Cash Futurity. Make A Secret, who will be coupled in the wagering with Cotton Nash as the 6-5 morning line favorite, is the horse to beat. The California-bred son of Raise a Secret recorded the fastest time among 87 horses in nine trial races at Lone Star on Oct. 8. Prior to that race, the Firecracker Futurity champ was fourth as the favorite in Quarter Horse racing's coveted $1.9 million All American Futurity when the Ruidoso Downs racing strip came up muddy. Make A Secret, a three-time winner and earner of $220,210 in seven starts, is one of four stakes winners in the field. All American Winner, the 7-2 second choice trained by Alex Villarreal, prevailed in the Grade 1 Sam Houston Futurity last month. This Candys Red Hot, a "Sleepy" Gilbreath trainee at odds of 10-1, is a winner in five of six starts including the Grade 1 Speedhorse Gold and Silver Cup Futurity at Fair Meadows in July. One Special Shade, an 8-1 shot also trained by Gilbreath, was victorious in the Grade 3 Ford New Mexico Juvenile Challenge at Ruidoso in August. Here's the complete Dash For Cash Futurity field from the rail out (with jockey and morning line odds): Fast Results (Tony Bennett, 20-1); All American Winner (Rodrigo Vallejo, 7-2); Racing Zone (Roy Baldillez, 5-1); Cotton Nash (Joe Martinez, 6-5); Shaken Easy Dash (Larry Payne, 12-1); Sixes Glass (Juan Vazquez, 20-1); Make A Secret (Ortiz, 6-5); This Candys Red Hot (Alex Baldillez Jr., 10-1); Ida Snow Man (Jacky Martin, 15-1); and One Special Shade (G.R. Carter Jr., 8-1). The Dash For Cash Futurity will goes as Race 12 at approximately 9:57 p.m. CT on Saturday's 13-race program that begins at 5 p.m. CT...Lone Star Park will host its 10th annual Breeders' Cup Preview Party on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Post Time Pavilion. There'll be in-depth analysis and video review of contenders in the eight Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championship races by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Gary West, The Dallas Morning News' Rick Lee and Daily Racing Form's Vance Hanson. Plus, the first 200 attendees will receive a complimentary edition of the Breeders' Cup Advance Edition, featuring lifetime past performances for all horses pre-entered in the Oct. 29 Breeders' Cup.

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