-photo by Sandra Beck/Coady Photography

-photo by Henna Haroon Shah/Coady Photography

-photo by Sandra Beck/Coady Photography

-photo by Sandra Beck/Coady Photography

-photo by Henna Haroon Shah/Coady Photography

The Vega Brothers Score with Real Easy Okey in the $84,077 Dixie Stallion Stakes at SHRP

Houston, Texas (September 6, 2004) - Sam Houston Race Park welcomed racing fans for a special Labor Day matinee featuring the finals of the $84,077 Dixie Stallion Stakes (RG3). With the scratch of Pump It Up, nine of the fastest qualifiers from trials run August 22, returned to compete in the 350-yard stakes. Real Easy Okey, the fastest qualifier, ran a flawless race, leaving the gate cleanly and powering to the wire under rider Jose Vega. The chestnut colt completed the final in :17.416, besting his time of :17.846 in the trials two weeks ago.

The 2-year-old son of Okey Dokey Dale is owned by Javier Lujan of Pharr, Texas and trained by Francisco Javier Vega, Jr., who is Jose's older brother.

"He was standing really good in the gate," said Vega, who was involved in a spill in the seventh race. "He broke better tonight than he did in the trials."

"This is the best colt I've ever owned," commented Lujan, who has owned racehorses for 12 years.

Cigars and Stars from the barn of John Buchanan, ran second.

He was the tenth fastest qualifier and ran outran his odds of 16-1 to finish second. His placing was a nice consolation for Buchanan who had to scratch Pump It Up due to swelling in his tendon.

"This colt was coming up to this race nice," commented Buchanan. "We thought he might run big and he did. He's not paid up in anything else, so we'll look for a good maiden special or allowance for him. Pump It Up came out of the trials with a little tenderness in a tendon. We ultrasounded it and it showed some small changes. We could have run her, but she is paid up in the Texas Classic and if we had run tonight we might have lost our chance to run in the Classic."

Asking Ashton, with J. R. Ramirez riding for trainer Frank Cavazos, was third.

"He ran a pretty good race," said Ramirez. "He got away good and did good in the gate. He did everything right. He just got beaten. I was running second until about 150 yards from the wire and (Cigars and Stars) came and passed me. I just couldn't beat him."

Real Easy Okey paid $8.00, $4.80 and $3.00 across the board. The 2-1 exacta returned $77.00 and the 2-1-5 trifecta paid $385.00. Firstdown Goal to Go, Mr Eye Special, La Jolla Legacy, Gs Tiny Tiger, Nora Jane La Jolla and Dlj Miss Behavin completed the order of finish.

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