||Time For Wine Survives Objection in Winning the Merial Texas Distaff at Sam Houston Race Park
(Houston, Texas - Saturday, April 30, 2016) -
Troubled trips have been the norm instead of the exception for Pete Scarmardo's Time for Wine, but tonight was her night to shine. After a trainer's objection and lengthy review by the stewards, her number stayed up, and she was crowned the winner of the $26,100 Merial Texas Distaff Challenge.
Kitty Kat Galore B, a four-year-old daughter of Fdd Dynasty owned by Bryon Gardner, was sent off as the $0.30-1 favorite. Breaking from post position three, she was bumped hard by both #2 Sure Fire Flyer and Time for Wine, out of the four hole. Trainer Judd Kearl lodged a claim of foul, but no action was taken.
Time for Wine got her third career win, clocking 400 yards in :20.074 seconds. The four-year-old Mr Jess Perry mare is trained by Leon Bard and was ridden by Francisco Calderon.
"I was in my lane the whole time," said Calderon of the objection. "The two came out; my filly was running, and I didn’t want to shift into the five hole and cause trouble. I did the best I could."
Scarmardo was relieved following the official ruling.
"If you race long enough, finally they'll all even out," said Scarmardo "Maybe this time it was payback for her."
He indicated that Time for Wine will run this summer at Retama Park before heading to California.
Kearl saddled the runner-up Lil Effortless Reign, who made her stakes debut for Scarlett Hill Farm, Inc. She outran her odds of 45-1 under Noe Villatoro. Kitty Kat Galore B was third, followed by Shiner Blond, Vital Temp, N Bee C, Sure Fire Flyer and Cabana Girl.
Time for Wine returned $10.20 as the 4-1 second choice. Bred by Vessels Stallion Farm, she will represent Texas in the $125,000 Merial Distaff Challenge Championship (G1) at Los Alamitos on October 29.
Red Corona Warrior Impressive in the $15,000 Texas Twister
The $15,000 Texas Twister, at 110 yards, returned for its eighth renewal at Sam Houston Race Park. The winner of this year's exciting "super sprint" was Red Corona Warrior, surging to the wire in :6.786 seconds.
No blanket photo finish was required this evening as Red Corona Warrior, breaking from post position two under Francisco Ramirez, Jr., broke swiftly and cleared his eight rivals by a half of a length. He earned a 115 speed index over the fast track.
Owned and bred by the Terrazas Family, the four-year-old son of Coronas First Dash is trained by Josue Ponce, who was celebrating his 21st birthday today.
"I'm pretty excited," said Ponce. "I brought two horses here this weekend and got two wins. It was a really good birthday present. I'm pleased with his effort in the stakes."
Red Corona Warrior came into the race as the high earner in the field with $111,971 earned in his 15 career efforts, and added another $9,000 this evening. His biggest score was a second-place finish in the $128,250 Gillespie County Fairground Futurity in 2014. He prepped for the Texas Twister in an allowance race here on April 20.
"He's a classy horse," said the winning rider. "I just tried to stay out of his way. He did it all by himself."
Red Corona Warrior, sent off at odds of 11-1, returned $24.60 to his supporters. My Glory Dash with "Jimmy" Guynes in the irons, ran second, followed Fly Lil Curl and Kid Can Dash. Snipes and Bites was an early scratch.
Moe Lassus Tops Qualifiers for the Bank of America Texas Maiden Challenge
Two trials for the $18,000-added Bank of America Texas Maiden Challenge were contested Friday evening at Sam Houston Race Park, and Moe Lassus topped the qualifiers, covering 350 yards in :17.904 seconds.
It was the first win for the three-year-old son of Favorite Cartel, owned by J. J. Racing and trained by Judd Kearl. Jockey Noe Villatoro piloted the bay gelding to his maiden-breaking victory, following four starts earlier this year at Hialeah Park.
"He was a June baby," said Kearl. "That's why he was lightly raced. Running against maidens was a little easier than what he faced at Hialeah."
The final of the Bank of America Texas Maiden Challenge will take place at Sam Houston Race Park on Friday, May 13. To view the list of the ten fastest qualifiers with owners, breeders, jockeys and trainers, visit stallionesearch.com.
Friday was a busy night for the Kearl barn, as they also ran two-year-olds in the Lassie Futurity trials at Delta Downs, and qualified Rdd Champagne Dash. The filly is owned by Angie Cook and Bryon Gardner. Rodrigo Vallejo made the trip to Vinton and will return for the final on May 20.