Fastest Qualifier First Smart Winner Captures the $111,640 TQHA Sires’ Cup Futurity at Sam Houston Race Park

(July 14, 2006) - For the first time in the last three years, the fastest qualifier prevailed in the final of the $111,640 TQHA Sires’ Cup Futurity. First Smart Winner, a 2-year-old colt owned by Ernesto Perez of Austin was the fastest qualifier in trials run on June 30, completing his 350-yard trial in :17.715. He returned tonight and won the final in a photo finish, crossing the wire in :17.984.

Rider Rogelio Izquierdo picked up the first stakes win of his career on the gray Texas-bred colt for trainer Jesse Aguilar. It was just the second stakes win for the 23-year-old Aguilar, who saddled three of the horses in tonight’s feature. The gray son of First Smart Money has made considerable progress since making his racing debut at Manor Downs on April 9. The trip notes for the race indicated that he bucked repeatedly and stopped, finishing tenth by 18 lengths. Since that less than fortunate beginning, First Smart Winner has won three races, including the TQHA Sires’ Cup Futurity this evening.

“We knew this horse was the fastest of the three,” acknowledged Aguilar. “He was a late maturing colt and ran pretty good today. It was a tough race, but I had a lot of help from the owners and the people on the farm.

Mystical Promises, trained by Judd Kearl and ridden by James Brooks, was second. Sent off at 18-1, the sixth fastest qualifier in trials ran impressively tonight for owners Terri and Bennie Jeter.

"If they don't sandwich me away from there, I win it,” said Brooks. “Both sides got me. I couldn't tell if I won it, it was that close. Since we put the blinkers back on, it's made a different horse of him."

"He ran a good race, but there was some early bumping,” added Brooks. “It was really close. We lost by a nose. He got bumped twice early, and that probably cost him the win."

First Smart Winner, sent off at odds of 2-1 paid $6.40 for the win and picked up a check for $44,656 for tonight’s victory. The 1-5 exacta paid $135.40 and the trifecta with La Jolla Maid returned $941.00. Ace Mudslinger, Iam Little Strawfly, Jc First Sip, Smarty Stoli, Ace Back to Zoom, Double Kandu and Red Hot Lass completed the order of finish.

Aguilar commented that he would see how First Smart Winner comes out of the race before determining his next start.

Makeala Wins the $10,000 Miss Houston Stakes

A field of ten Texas-bred 3-year-old fillies went to the gate in the $15,000 Miss Houston Stakes. The winner, in convincing fashion, was Makeala, owned by Mickey W. Tiner of Angelton, Texas and trained by Bobby Touchet. James Brooks, who rode her to her third-place finish in the Retama Park Derby, was aboard. She closed gamely on the outside of the racetrack, completing the 350-yard stakes in a time of :17.941.

“We’re very lucky,” said Tiner in the winner’s circle following the race. “We have Mr. Touchet who cares about these athletes. He gives them everything they need and we don’t run them too hard. Frannie Stewart gave us the opportunity to buy this filly and we think the future has a lot to hold for her.”
Jo Edna ran second with Martin Rubalcava aboard for trainer Toby Keeton.

"She ran a good race, a real good race,” commented Keeton. “But I expected her to run a little better than she did. She didn't get away real good. She was closing well, but the nine horse (Makeala) was in front of her the whole way. The nine horse left good, and she ran an excellent race. We'll probably pick a few littler derbies for her now and then go on from there."

Sin Tacha Perry, trained by five-time leading Sam Houston Race Park conditioner Janet Van Bebber, ran third. Mechita, who ran a game second in the Harris County Stakes here on June 24, was fourth. Delta Addicton, Shesa Tiny Diamond, Paint My Lane, Lillie La Jolla, La Vedera and Meeks Injun completed the field.

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