TQHA Summer Showdown Stakes Recap from Sam Houston Race Park

(Friday, July 27, 2007) - Sam Houston Race Park hosted one of the most exciting weekends of the 2007 American Quarter Horse meeting, the TQHA Summer Showdown. The two day event began with the annual TQHA Yearling Sale and four stakes races on the Friday night card. The weather forecast was foreboding with 80% chance of rain, but Mother Nature gave American Quarter Horse racing fans a much deserved break with the four stakes races run over a good track before the downpour for the ninth and tenth races of the evening.

Track announcer Michael Chamberlain welcomed guest announcer, Wilfredo Gonzalez y Moreno, who called races 2, 3 and 9 in Spanish. Moreno has over 22 years of experience announcing races in Mexico at the Hipodromo de las Americas in Mexico.

Veteran Gray Invasion Wins the $50,500 TQHA 550 Stakes

Like a fine win, Gray Invasion just gets better with age. The 8-year-old of Chicks Beduino won the 2004 and 2005 edition of the $50,500 TQHA 550 Stakes, setting a new track record of :26.768 in his 2005 victory. Trained by Bobby Touchet for owner Claudio Aguilar of Edinburgh, Texas, the striking gray closed powerfully down the center of the racetrack to win his third title in a time of :27.088. Natural Task broke extremely well under rider Alfonso Lujan and looked like he had it until Gray Invasion closed powerfully on his outside under Sam Houston Race Park leading rider, Arturo Puga.

“He loves to run; that’s all you can say about him,” said Aguilar. “This is his distance; he’s won it twice.”

Natural Task held on for second place with Black Hearted completing the trifecta.

“He was trying hard; he just got outrun,” said Alfonso Lujan of his second place finish aboard Natural Task.

Rider Danny Lavergne was unseated from his mount,Splendid Sam Perry. The 2004 leading rider at Sam Houston Race Park returned to the jocks room complaining of soreness in his back and neck and took off the remainder of his mounts.

Toole N Round Captures the $50,500 Barnmaster Sprint Stakes

Toole N Round continued her show her affinity for the Sam Houston Race Park track surface as she captured the $50,500 Barnmaster Sprint Stakes. The 250-yard dash attracted a broad range of runners from the 9-year-old Ronas Wind Dancer to 3-year-old filly, Mayor Mae, but it was Toole N Round who led gate-to-wire crossing the wire in :13.166.

The 4-year-old filly is owned and bred by Pat Allen of Austin and ridden by Alfonso Lujan, who piloted five winners on the Friday evening card.

“This is a filly that always runs well for me,” said Lujan. “

“Bobby told me she could win at 250 yards,” said Allen. “I’m proud of her; Alfonso just fits her and Bobby told me she handle this distance.”

“The mare is so stout and leaves the gates so good,” commented winning trainer Bobby Moore, Jr.

Toole N Round ($15.60) improved her lifetime record to 5 wins from ten starts and four of those have been at Sam Houston Race Park.

Happy Streaker Powers to the Wire in the $55,500 Ancira Ford Stakes

The $55,500 Ancira Ford Stakes for accredited Texas-breds was a 400-yard contest with four fillies taking on their male counterparts. Happy Streaker ($13.00) lived up to her name, surging from the far outside post to outrun her nine rivals. Jockey Abdel Torres had the mount for owner Miguel Chapa from Mission, Texas. Trainer Alex Villarreal was not here tonight to saddle the 3-year-old filly as his mother passed away this morning.

“She was a little nervous in the gate as this was her first start off a layoff,” said Torres. “She broke well and fired it up in the end.”

“We are considering the Sam Houston Derby for her next start,” said Ben Garza, who saddled for Villerreal. “This was a great finish; she’s always been a nice filly and really ran well today”.

Happy Streaker earned $33,300 for tonight’s victory, improving her career record to five wins from ten starts.

Wassup T Doc Continues His Winning Streak in the $25,000 TQHA Starter Stakes

Wassup T Doc ($14.20) powered to the wire in the $25,000 TQHA Starter Stakes at a distance of 350 yards. Trained by Jesse Yoakum, the 6-year-old Texas-bred is undefeated in 2007 and winning his third straight this season at Sam Houston Race Park. Russel Hadley was the winning rider, drawing off by one length in a final time of :17.72. Post time favorite, Ab Hope for Cash closed for second, followed by longshot, Smarty Stoli.

“The old guy is at the top of his game,” commented Yoakum.

The TQHA Summer Showdown continues on Saturday with the final 163 American Quarter Horses set to pass through the sales ring of the TQHA Sale Futurity. Saturday night’s card will be highlighted by the final of the $372,622 TQHA Sale Futurity with the ten fastest 2-year-olds from trials two weeks ago returning to compete for a richest purse in the nine-year history of the race. The entry of Witchs Streak and Eyesa Jumpn is the 5-2 favorite with fastest qualifier Oak Trees Pop Pop installed as the second choice at odds of 3-1. Trainer Janet Van Bebber, who won the 2006 TQHA Sale Futurity with Snowy Alibi, qualified three runners for the final. She will saddle Panther Shootist, Ss Big Shot and King of Shadows. The TQHA Sale Futurity will run as the eighth race of the Saturday night card with a post time of 9:02 p.m.

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