Shakem Elvis Upsets in the $46,620 Bayer Legend Texas Challenge at SHRP

(Saturday, July 12, 2003) - Trials for the $46,620 Bayer Legend Texas Challenge (G3) were run on opening night of the Sam Houston Race Park 2003 Quarter Horse meeting. It was no surprise that 2002 Sam Houston Futurity winner, Shiney Sign was the fastest qualifier (:19.850). The second fastest qualifier, Shakem Elvis, who won his trial in a time of :19.891, returned to the racetrack tonight and shook up the field as he drove to the finish line in a final time of :19.820.

Trained by Fletcher Huskey, the 3-year-old colt won his third consecutive race of 2003. Owned by Jimmy D. Moore of Springtown, Texas, Shakem Elvis earned a berth in the $175,000 Bayer Legend Challenge Championship at Los Alamitos on November 1. With Bill McClaran in the irons, Shakem Elvis, overcame more than just a bad start to win; he had been battling an eye infection last week.

"We were worried sick about him all week because he couldn't see out of his right eye," said Huskey. "The doctor couldn't figure out what was wrong, but felt that he'd be okay to run. He told us to go to Walmart and buy a bra, cut off one side and place it over his right eye. Sure enough, we went out and bought a 34C. He'll be examined early next week and we'll hope for the best."

McClaran was concerned as well, noting that on Thursday, Shakem Elvis’ eye was swollen shut. But when the son of Royal Shake Em entered the starting gate, he was focused on the finish line.

"We come back good after the trials," noted McClaran. "He felt pretty good the other day. We were hoping we could make him at least run hard for it. He went pretty easy. The way he got away from there, he got cleared away from the horses to the inside of him. Just turned him loose and it was pretty much over then."

Moore, who was joined by his family in the winner’s circle, was elated with the victory and the upcoming trip to California in November.

"I think the odds were about right," said Moore of the 6-1odds on Shakem Elvis. "I thought he was capable. It was somewhat of a surprise, but with a good trainer and a good jockey to go along with the horse you gotta do good. I believe we can go to Disney Land on this!"

Fastest qualifer Shiney Sign reared up in the gates and ran fifth for trainer Duane Hartsell and rider J. R. Ramirez.

"He stumbled bad and J.R. said he couldn’t get himself together," said Hartsell. "I’m still glad to have him. We’ll just regroup and run him again."

Leading rider J. R. Ramirez has ridden Shiney Sign to three wins, including his victory in the $314,500 Sam Houston Futurity.

"He wouldn’t behave in gate like I wanted him too," commented Ramirez. "He was forward and back and was leaning back when gate opened, then stumbled bad and just couldn’t get himself together. He was left and right more than straight ahead. I’m disappointed, but that’s horseracing."

Shakem Elvis paid $15.20 to win, $5.60 to place and $3.60 to show. Heath Taylor’s Jess Maid Magic ran second and Boot Scootin Task from the barn of John Buchanan, ran third. Shake Em White, Shiney Sign, Thompson Gin, Lovetostrawfly, Sailing Winner, Athena Raquel and Congregate completed the order of finish.

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