Friends Rare Form Draws off the a Six Length Score in the $43,000 Governorsí Cup Marathon at Sam Houston Race Park

(September 2, 2006) - A field of eight top distance horses took center stage in tonight’s feature at Sam Houston Race Park, the $43,000 Governors’ Cup Marathon. The winner, in gate-to-wire fashion was Friends Rare Form, a 5-year-old Oklahoma-bred owned by J W Owens of Corpus Christi, Texas.

With rider Danny Lavergne aboard, Friends Rare Form broke alertly and led every step of the way of the 870-yard stakes, crossing the wire in 45.182. Trained by Jeff Acuna, Friends Rare Form was the superior horse this evening, earning a Speed Index of 101 and cruising to a six-length win over his seven rivals.

“It’s pretty easy when you ride a horse like this,” said Lavergne, who was leading rider at Sam Houston Race Park in 2004. “He left real good and when he hit the turn, he found another gear and when he hit the lane, he found one more for me. He ran a heck of a race.”

“This was a very good field of horses,” added Acuna. “These were world-class turn horses. We got lucky, but we outdrew tough horses and we were close to the rail. That’s where he likes to run and he showed his form tonight. Danny gave him an awesome ride.”

Natural Task, a multiple-stakes winner trained by M. Brent Kennedy, closed for second under rider Gilbert Ortiz, who will head out to Ruidoso Downs to pilot My First Passion in Monday’s All American Futurity.

“He was running well down the lane, but we couldn’t catch the winner; he ran a super race,” said Ortiz.

My Prince of Strides, was sent off as the post-time favorite based on his win in the $23,705 Red Cell Distance Challenge on July 8. Bred and owned by Warner Croft of Austin, Texas and trained by Matt Baker, My Prince of Strides has earned a berth to the $100,000 Red Cell Distance Challenge on November 11 at Lone Star Park. He finished seventh tonight, but regular rider Jeff Jerman attributed it to tough going on the first turn.

“It was kind of a rough trip,” commented Jerman. “He got caught in the middle going around the turn. They bumped him around, and he just didn’t like it.”

Friends Rare Form paid $18.60 for the win. McM Penny Game followed Natural Task to the wire followed by Fast Rythum, Apollos Dasher, Phanton Hero, My Prince of Strides and War Chants.

News and Notes

Live racing returns on Sunday, September 3 at 1:30 p.m. and continues with a special Labor Day card on Monday, September 4 at 1:30 p.m. Sam Houston Race Park will simulcast the $2 million All American Futurity from Ruidoso Downs and host a $500 All American Futurity Handicapping Contest.

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