|Big Night for Trainer Heath Taylor as La Jollaroid Turns the Tables on This Snow Is Cold in the $61,000 Sam Houston Classic
(September 1, 2006) - The $61,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2)
always draws a first-class 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 La Jollaroid delivered the standout performance as he
bested his ten rivals in the 440-yard stakes. The 4-year-old son
of Streakin La Jolla is owned by Kendall Hill of Alvord, Texas.
“We’re proud of the team here,” said Hill. “Heath
and Greg and Bruce Bell. “I never thought we would outrun
this mare (This Snow Is Cold). Bruce has been working on him for
about a year and finally got this colt where he needs to be.”
La Jollaroid, was making the 14th start of his career and has been
defeated by This Snow Is Cold twice this summer at Sam Houston Race
Park. She was sent off as the even money favorite and La Jollaroid
left the gates at 10-1 and returned $22.40 for the win. He was ridden
for the first time by Russell Hadley, who will pilot First Freeze
for Taylor in Monday’s $2 Million All American Futurity.
“He’s a real class horse,” said Hadley. “I’d
never ridden him before, but I’ve watched his races. I had
been over at Ruidoso helping Heath get his two colts ready and he
said he had three in tonight, so I came over to ride.”
“We had three really nice horses running tonight,”
said Lofland, who has been working with Taylor for one year. “I
had some help; Bruce Bell came over to give me a hand. The best
filly we have seen this year, This Snow Is Cold, has outrun a lot
of really good horses of ours and we give her a lot of credit. We’ve
thrown the best at her and finally got her tonight.”
La Jollaroid was the second fastest qualifier in trials for the
$115,640 MBNA America Texas Challenge Championship (G1), but ran
a disappointing seventh in the finals, which was won by This Snow
“We’ve tried a few things with La Jollaroid,”
acknowledged Lofland. “He can be one of those colts you have
to watch a little bit. He’s a class horse; if you give him
enough chances, he’s going to outrun some nice horses and
tonight was just his night.”
This Snow Is Cold, winner of the $115,640 MBNA America Texas Challenge
Championship (G1) for Los Ladrilleros Horse Racing Co, ran second
under rider Armando Andrade and the two other Taylor trainees, Conner
Can and Fast Talkin Val, ran third and fourth.
“When we left the gate, the three (Chipeyed Charlie) cut
us off, and I think that cost us the win,” commented Andrade.
“After my horse recovered, she ran very strong. I thought
we’d won, because I didn’t see the outside horse at
Two-time defending champion, Silent Overdrive ran fifth for trainer
Janet Van Bebber. The 8-year-old Louisiana-bred gelding led the
field in earnings with $610,447 and 18 lifetime victories. Mitowilard,
Sixy Thru Traffic, Surprisingly Special, Love My Dash, Little Kool
Barbie and Chipeyed Charlie completed the order of finish.
La Jollaroid earned $36,600 for tonight’s effort and improved
his lifetime record to five wins from 14 starts.
News and notes
Live racing returns on Saturday, September 2 with a ten-race card
highlighted by the running of the $35,000 Governors’ Cup Marathon.
My Prince Of Strides, winner of the $24,705 Red Cell Distance Challenge
on July 8 for trainer Matt Baker is one of the top contenders. The
6-year-old Texas-bred will be ridden by Jeff Jerman. McM Penny Game
captured the 870-yard Woodlands Stakes on August 4 and Natural Task
won stakes at both Delta Downs and Retama Park are two of the other
top candidates in the 870-yard event.
The extended Labor Day racing schedule will include live racing
on Sunday, September 3 and Monday, September 4 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.