Flor de Lirio Wins her First Stakes, the $13,500 Harris County Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park

(June 24, 2006) - A field of seven accredited Texas-bred fillies and mares put on a great show this evening in the $13,500 Harris County Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park.

The winner of the 350-yard dash was Flor de Lirio, who under a confident ride from Juan Vazquez, captured the first stakes of her career. Owned by Zeferino T. Garcia of Houston, the 4-year-old filly closed gamely from the outside of the track and surged to the wire in a time of :17:663 over a fast track.

The bay filly was making her second start of the year and she is undefeated in 2006, winning an allowance at Delta Downs on May 13 for trainer Janie Hernandez.

“I had never ridden her before,” said Vazquez. “She didn’t break all that well, but I gave her a few taps and she really took off.”

Mechita, owned by Luz and H. B. Robeson broke alertly under rider Jose Alvarez and looked as though she had won the race until Flor De caught her at the wire. The homebred sorrel filly was also making her second start of 2006, finishing second on April 30 at Retama Park. Her effort tonight impressed trainer, Duane Hartsell.

“I thought she had a real good race,” said Hartsell. “We’re just trying to set her up. They’ve got a straight three-year-old filly handicap in about three weeks, and these kind of mares won’t be in there. And then we’re going to wait until the Sam Houston Derby. What we’re just trying to do is get three races out of her here and then go on to Dallas. She loves to run. She just got beat. I was already buttoning my shirt.”

Flor de Lirio, sent off as the third betting choice, returned $9.00, $4.80 and $3.80 across the board. The 7-3 exacta paid $42.00 and the trifecta with Shake Em Fever was worth $240.60. Chiefs First Dash, La Vedera, South be Southwest and La Torch completed the order of finish.

Fastest Qualifier in the Professional’s Choice Challenge Trials

Ida Snow Man, a 3-year-old son of This Snow is Royal, was the fastest qualifier in trials run this evening for the $18,000-added Professional’s Choice Texas Claiming Challenge. Trained by Michael Zingelmann and ridden by Juan Vazquez, Ida Snow Man won his 350-yard trial in :17.62. Also qualifying was Streak Foe Me, the 4-year-old filly who won her sixth consecutive race tonight for trainer Judd Kearl and rider James Brooks.

The ten fastest qualifiers will return to Sam Houston Race Park for the finals of the Professional’s Choice Texas Claiming Challenge on Saturday, July 8.

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