-photo by Jeff Coady/Coady Photography

-photo by Sandra Beck/Coady Photography

-photo by Sandra Beck/Coady Photography

-photo by Sandra Beck/Coady Photography

Splendid Sam Perry Captures the $110,000 Sam Houston Derby at SHRP

Houston, Texas (September 24, 2004) - It was a family affair tonight for the Gonzalez Family of Alamo, Texas as their 3-year-old American Quarter Horse, Splendid Sam Perry won the $110,000 Sam Houston Derby (G2) at Sam Houston Race Park.

The third fastest qualifier in trials run on September 10, Splendid Sam Perry is trained by Eloy Gonzalez and owned by his brother, Manny. Rider Gilbert Ortiz, who won the 2003 Sam Derby with First N Kool, had the mount.

Splendid Sam Perry broke sharply and dueled with Sixy Thru Traffic before drawing off for the victory. The sorrel son of Mr Jess Perry crossed the wire of the 440-yard contest in :21.624. Splendid Sam Perry broke his maiden at Sam Houston Race Park on May 2 and has had an exceptional record this meeting, winning four of his five starts including the $52,280 TQHA Sires' Cup Derby on July 3. He earned $44,000 for tonight's victory.

"I'd like to thank the Gonzalez family for giving me the opportunity to ride this colt," said Ortiz. "Rodrigo (Vallejo) qualified him, but chose the filly (Sixy Thru Traffic) and Manny called me Monday and offered me the mount. I've been watching this colt run at Delta and I didn't qualify anything for the Derby and I'm happy I got a shot to ride him."

"He was recovering from a hock injury and was a little sluggish in the trials," said Eloy Gonzalez. "He's a great horse; he takes a little while to get going, but he was running tonight. It's a family affair; everyone works hard with our horses and Gilbert did a magnificent job. We'll see more of him; he's a great horse."

Sixy Thru Traffic from the barn of Bobby Martinez was the second fastest qualifier and ran second tonight. She has performed extremely well over the last two months, winning the $45,250 Classic Chevrolet at Sam Houston Race Park on July 30 as well as the $29,000 East Distaff Challenge at Delta Downs on August 15.

"She ran her race," said Martinez. 'He (Splendid Sam Perry) came and caught us at the end. She was a little bit off on that front left. But she ran a good race."

I Make Em Shake, owned and bred by Betty Jo Spence was third. He ran second to Brimmerton in the $59,940 Bayer Legend Texas Challenge (G3) on May 30 and will most likely represent Texas in the $175,000 Bayer Legend Challenge Championship on November 6 at Sam Houston Race Park.

"He's still stakes placed," said Spence. "I was pleased with his effort. We'll wait and see what happens with the Bayer Legend. I got the papers last week and filled them out. If we get invited we will definitely run. I've got him nominated for the Open to the World Derby at Louisiana Downs and the trials are the day after Thanksgiving, so the MBNA would be great timing."

Splendid Sam Perry, sent off as the fourth betting choice, paid $12.00 to win, $4.40 to place and $2.80 to show. Sixy Thru Traffic was second and I Make Em Shake ran third. Mystical Reb, the fastest qualifier in trials, ran fourth followed by Executive Menace, Texas Chatterbox and Jess Wicked. Ima Perry Girl, Sold Out Show and Watch Roller were scratched from the Sam Houston Derby.

Manny Gonzalez said that Splendid Sam Perry will make his next start in the Texas Classic Derby at Sam Houston Race Park. Trials for the Grade 1 stakes will be run on October 15.

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