My Prince of Strides Returns to the Winner's Circle in the $42,500 Governorsí Cup Marathon at SHRP

(Saturday, September 3, 2005) - A field of seven top distance horses took center stage in tonight’s feature at Sam Houston Race Park, the $42,500 Governors’ Cup Marathon. The stakes runners included 2004 AQHA World Champion Run and Pray, but for the second time this meeting, it was My Prince of Strides who prevailed, winning the 870-yard stakes in a time of 45.95.

This was the second stakes win of the meeting for My Prince of Strides as he captured the $28,350 MD Barns Texas Distance Challenge on July 9. Bred and owned by Warner Croft of Austin, Texas and trained by Matt Baker, the 5-year-old gelding was ridden to victory by Mark Page.

“He’s a super horse,” said Page. “In the turn, I was running a length behind and had dead aim. The two-horse came on the inside, but when I called on my horse, I knew that the Prince had come to stride.”

“This is one of my more pleasant moments at a racetrack,” admitted Croft. “I raise almost all my horses and had a bunch of really nice Quarter Horse mares that could only run 300 yards. I was looking for a sire with some Thoroughbred breeding and found Phone Prince. He is a son of Phone Trick, who set track records as a 2-year-old. I have no regrets as I bred a nice distance horse.”

"Mark did a great job,” said Baker. “This horse has had a hard time in the turn, but he’s finally getting it down. I appreciate the patience of Warner; this is a nice horse, but it’s taken us a while to get to this point. This horse has been a big surprise.”

Zachs Hero benefited from a good rail trip under rider Danny Lavergne and ran second.

"The hole opened up on the rail and he shot through there and I thought I was going to win the race,” said Lavergne. “The dadgummed three horse just come down and beat me right at the end. He ran a big race and I can't say anything bad about it."

My Prince of Strides has earned a berth to the $100,000 MD Barns Distance Challenge on November 5 at Los Alamitos. Baker was asked if he would make another start before the national championship.

“I think that between Mr. Croft and my son, they have three or four races picked out from here to California,” quipped Baker. “Some of the tracks I didn’t know were even running.”

My Prince of Strides, sent off as the third betting choice, paid $10.80 to win. Zachs Hero ran second and Jw Silver, who had won four races in a row for trainer Judd Kearl, was third. Run and Pray ran fourth, followed by Eves Dash, Not Much Color and defending champion, My Victory Cup.

News and Notes

On Labor Day, Taylor Anne Van Bebber, the 7-year-old daughter of leading Sam Houston Race Park trainer, Janet Van Bebber, will sell her artwork to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The aspiring artist specializes in horses and wanted to show her support to aid in relief efforts for the many residents of our neighboring states of Louisiana and Mississippi. Sam Houston Race Park will match all contributions generated from Van Bebber's artwork

Patrons wishing to show their support for the Hurricane Relief can visit Van Bebber in Central Paddock from 1:30 - 4:30 p.m. on Monday, September 5.

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