Heavy Favorite Toastin Dash Prevails in the $61,000 Sam Houston Classic at Sam Houston Race Park

(Friday, August 31, 2007) - The $61,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2) always draws an exception field of older American Quarter Horses and this year’s edition was no exception. Trainer Heath Taylor, who is in New Mexico preparing for Monday’s All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs left the saddling duties to his assistant, Greg Lofland and Toastin Dash delivered the standout performance as he bested his ten rivals in the 440-yard stakes. The 5-year-old gelding won his sixth consecutive race this evening for owner Dwayne J. Saucier of Pass Christian, Mississippi. Sent off as part of a four-horse entry trained by Taylor, Toastin Dash paid $2.80 and was clocked in 21.658 seconds.

This Candys Royal closed powerfully for second, but J.R. Ramirez, who has piloted Toastin Dash to his last three wins, had no doubt that he had won the race.

“We were always in front,” Ramirez said. “He’s such a great horse; he stood well in the gates. He left there in front and ran very well.”

Lofland had an assist from Bruce Bell in saddling four entrants for tonight’s Sam Houston Classic (Connor Can, Automatically, St. Pat’s First and Toastin Dash).

“Toastin Dash has been a stupendous horse for the Taylor barn,” commented Lofland. “We are proud to train for Mr. Saucier and pleased that this horse ran so well with such a classy group of horses. It’s tricky to have four in one stakes, but it’s a good problem to have. It just goes to show what a great operation Heath runs that we have this many stakes caliber horses. Toastin Dash is right there at the top.”

“I bought this horse in Louisiana for a sale price of $14,000,” recalled Saucier. “We trained him and ran second with him in the Mardi Gras. Heath wanted to buy him; he saw the potential in him.I didn’t want to part with him, so I asked him if he would train the horse. He turned him around and he has done tremendously; Heath is a really good trainer.”

Tonight’s victory was the sixth in a row for Toastin Dash and Saucier was almost speechless following the trophy presentation.

“It’s awesome,” said Saucier. “I’m just enjoying the ride; this is what everyone in the horseracing business dreams of. I cherish every moment of this. This horse has been so good to us.”

This Candys Royal, at 26-1, ran a career-best effort tonight, finishing second for trainer Frank Mendez and owners Los Ladrilleros Horse Racing Company.

"He is a hell of a horse and he is coming along,” said rider Rodrigo Vallejo. “He was stepping up in class and put forth a great effort.”

Ida Snow Man ran third for rider Jeff Jerman and was followed to the wire by Gray Invasion, St Pats First, Automatically, Wings of La Jolla, Behold a Corona, Conner Can, Brindis Por Cayenne and El Zapatista.

Toastin Dash earned $36,600 for tonight’s effort will be pointed toward the Championship at Sunland at Sunland Park on December 31, with a possible start at Evangeline Downs in the coming months.

News and notes

Live racing returns on Saturday, September 1 with a ten-race card highlighted by the running of the $35,000 Governors’ Cup Marathon. The extended Labor Day racing schedule will include live racing on Sunday, September 2 and Monday, September 3 at 1:30 p.m. Sam Houston Race Park will simulcast the $2 million All American Futurity from Ruidoso Downs following live racing on Monday.

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