Four Stakes Cap the Final Night of the Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse Meeting

(September 9, 2006) - Fly Corona Cat was the second fastest qualifier in trials run on August 26, but saved his best performance for tonight, winning the $122,000 Sam Houston Derby (G2). The Texas-bred gelding is owned by Garlyn O. Shelton of Temple, Texas and trained by Mike Howell.

Rider Gilbert Ortiz, who has won three riding titles at the northwest Houston racetrack, had a clean trip aboard the 3-year-old son of Corona Cat. Breaking from the rail, Fly Corona Cat picked up a check for $48,800 for the victory, crossing the wire of the 440-yard contest in :21.671.

“He ran a real good race for me today,” said Ortiz. “He got a little tired in the trials, but even though I qualified three, I was happy to ride him back. He left the gate about ¾ (of a length) in front and was trying to get out on me, but he finished well. It’s nice to be here; Sam Houston’s been really good to me. I won three titles her and it’s nice to go home with a stakes winner today. I give thanks to Mike and Garlyn and my agent, John.”

“This was a great field,” said Shelton. “The colt did great and Gilbert did a super job riding him. Mike had brought him right up and we were very pleased.”

Fastest qualifier, La Bron was closing well under rider Martin Rubalcava, but had to settle for second.

“We got a good break, and he ran a good race,” commented Rubalcava. “But we were just chasing the one all the way. I rode this horse at Manor, and I liked him. He’s a real nice colt.”

Stealin Dreams, at 29-1, ran third and Shazoomer was fourth. Post time favorite, Ida Snow Man ran fifth for rider Juan Vazquez and trainer Michael Zingelmann, having to dodge the unruly trip of First Down Pay.

“I am very disappointed,” said Vazquez. “We had the best horse in the field and we should have been up there. It is very upsetting to see the replay.”

“We know we had the best horse out there, but just didn’t have the luck tonight,” stated Zingelmann. “In horse racing, having the best horse isn’t always good enough; you got to have luck. The fault wasn’t all on (First Down Pay), we were a little tardy getting out of the gate, but the loss was definitely made when we got cut off. The break is everything, especially in 440-yard races.”

Fly Corona Cat returned $12.00 for the win and ran a career-high speed index of 98. Shelton indicated that he would make his next start in the Dash for Cash Derby at Lone Star Park.

Fastest qualifier Rio Rojo Jess Wins the $30,840 Colors of Houston Futurity

In earlier action, Rio Rojo Jess captured the $30,840 Colors of Houston Futurity (G2) for 2-year-old Paints and Appaloosas. Owned by Harold D. Chenault of Rockwall, Texas and trained by Eddie Willis, the son of Feature Mr Jess was the fastest qualifier in trials on August 18.

Juan Vazquez rode the Louisiana-bred gelding to victory in the 350-yard stakes in a time of :17.969. He survived an inquiry to win his second stakes since June.

“He saw the toteboard and jumped; really lugged out,” said Vazquez. “I was lucky to survive and not get taken down.”

“He has been a great horse for us,” added Chenault. “Eddie has done a wonderful job and I appreciate Larry Payne coming down to ride in trials and Juan for getting the victory tonight.”

Labella Marie ran second and Shes a Special Effort was third.

James Brooks Pilots Guilty of Zoom to Victory in the TQHA Distance Derby

Guilty of Zoom survived an objection to win the $12,500 TQHA Distance Derby, run earlier in the evening. Sam Houston Race Park leading rider, James Brooks guided the 3-year-old son of Shazoom to the wire of the 870-yard contest in :46.34. Trained by Bobby Martinez, Guilty of Zoom paid $10.80 for the win, which was just his second victory in 15 career starts. Post time favorite, Adios Counselor closed for second and Wood Climber ran third.

Favorite Zoom N La Ree Wins the $23,100 TPHBA Derby

Zoom N La Ree surged to the wire of the $23,100 TPHBA Derby in the first of two Paint and Appaloosa stakes this evening. The 3-year-old filly was bred in Oklahoma by her owner, Martha Heidelberg and trained by her son, Bradley Heidelberg. Sam Houston Race Park leading rider, James Brooks guided the daughter of Shazoom to the wire of the 350-yard stakes in :17.93. The heavy favorite paid $3.60 to win and was followed by Judy Janise and La Bella Reina.

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