Natural Task Survives Inquiry in the Governors' Cup Marathon at Sam Houston Race Park

(Saturday, September 1, 2007) - A field of seven top distance horses took center stage in tonight’s feature at Sam Houston Race Park, the $42,500 Governors’ Cup Marathon. The winner, in gate-to-wire fashion was Natural Task, a 7-year-old Texas-bred owned by Henry A. Kennedy, Jr. of Tomball, Texas.

Trained by Janet Van Bebber, Natural Task was the runner-up in the 2006 edition of this race, but tonight was his night to shine. With rider Alfonso Lujan aboard, the son of Special Task broke sharply and never relinquished his lead, crossing the wire of 870-yard stakes in 45.844 seconds.

“There were some great horses in the race,” commented Lujan. “It’s hard to strategize; it’s best to hold your position. You can’t rate a horse against this type of competition; you just have to go.”

There was an inquiry following the conclusion of the race regarding the top three finishers: Natural Task, Kaydena and the post-time favorite, Ckh Valiant Ruler. All three riders spoke to the stewards and the order of finish remained unchanged.

“The three horse (Kaydena) came in on me a little,” said Lujan. “He (Trevino Clark) called a foul on me, but I was never close.”

Kaydena, a 6-year-old mare trained by Kenneth Roberts, ran second under rider Trevino Clark.

“I felt the horse ran a good race,” said Clark. “I felt she ran her best. If it was a cleaner race and everybody stayed in there lanes, I think it would have been a lot better.”

Natural Task ($7.20) improved his career record to 13 wins from 37 starts and earned $25,500 for tonight’s victory. Ckh Valiant Ruler was third followed by Just Blink, McM Penny Game, My Prince of Strides and Guilty of Zoom. Big Bad N Brown was an early scratch.

Van Bebber was in Ruidoso attending the yearling sale, but Kennedy indicated that Natural Task would make his next start at Sunland Park.

News and Notes

Live racing returns on Sunday, September 2 at 1:30 p.m. with ten races including the $15,000 Sam Houston Distance Derby. Sam Houston Race Park will also present a special Labor Day card on Monday, September 3, also at 1:30 p.m. Sam Houston Race Park will simulcast the $2 million All American Futurity from Ruidoso Downs.

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