-photo by Coady Photography
|Ms Riptide Triumphs in the $30,015 Merial Texas Distaff Challenge at Sam Houston Race Park
(Houston, Texas - Saturday, April 2, 2011) - A talented field of fillies and mares went to the starting gate for the $30,015 Merial Texas Distaff Challenge at Sam Houston Race Park.
For the second year in a row, Judd Kearl trained the winner and this year it was Ms Riptide, who ran a sensational race under Sam Houston leading jockey, David Alvarez. Bred by her owner, James Cordell of Crockett, Texas, Ms Riptide is a four-year-old daughter of Ocean Runaway out of the Mr Jess Perry mare Sixes Ms Perry. She was the second fastest qualifier in trials run on March 19, covering 400 yards in :20.321. She bested that effort in the final, drawing off to victory in :20.137.
Kearl saddled Wowzer Won in the 2010 Merial Texas Distaff Challenge, but she was unable to compete in the final at Fair Grounds. Kearl was asked about the significance of winning the stakes two years in a row.
“It means a lot,” said Kearl. “Our filly last year had some problems and we had to retire her. This mare is pretty sound and she’ll be going to Los Alamitos. She needed the race (in her trial). I knew if she got away like she did tonight, that the other mares could not catch her.”
“I want to thank Judd Kearl,” said Cordell. “He did a great job and our jockey, Alvarez rode her well. I think this mare is getting better with age.”
Dashmetothemoon ran second under rider Cody McDaniel.
“She’s an awesome filly,” said McDaniel. “She didn’t break all that well, but she came running at the end.”
Surviving Success was third, followed by fastest qualifier Zoomin On By, Fittin To Fly, Pelirrojo, Don’t Bac Down Lucy, Valuable Vision and Love First Cartel. Flyin Deanie broke through the starting gate and was scratched.
Ms Riptide was sent off as the second betting choice and returned $6.40 for the win. With her victory this evening, Ms Riptide earned a berth into the $125,000 Merial Racing Distaff Championship (G1) at Los Alamitos Race Course on October 29.
“We look forward to going there and bringing the trophy back,” said Cordell.
A Late Check Impressive in the $20,475 Pfizer Texas Allowance Starter Challenge
A Late Check under confident handling by Jarrod Deschamp lived up to his post time favoritism in the $20,475 Pfizer Texas Allowance Starter Challenge. The four-year-old gelding was bred by the late Blane Schvaneveldt and is owned by Richard K. McGehee. Trained by Glen Atkinson, A Late Check won three in a row in 2010 and ran a game second in a starter allowance at Sam Houston on March 20.
“He got bumped a little bit in his last,” said Deschamp. “It kind of cost him the win. Glen changed a few things and he ran really well tonight.”
A Late Check led from gate-to-wire, holding off a late charge from Flying Bye Here, a four-year-old son of Dashin Bye, trained by Cindi Keeton. Final time of the 350-yard dash was :18.019.
“We’re real proud of him,” added Atkinson. “I left it in Jarrod’s hands and he did a great job.”
Speedin Streak ran third under rider Rodrigo Vallejo and Firecracker Express, part of the three-horse entry trained by Jorge Haddad, completed the superfecta.
A Late Check ($4.20), improved his career record to five wins from 15 starts and earned a berth into the $75,000 Pfizer Racing Challenge Starter Allowance Championship at Los Alamitos on October 29.