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 Is Cold.

“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 the finish.”

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.

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