Four Exciting Stakes and Kevin Fowler Concert Highlight the Texas Summer Showdown at SHRP

(Saturday, July 30, 2005) - Sam Houston Race Park hosted one of the most exciting nights of the 2005 American Quarter Horse meeting, the Texas Summer Showdown. The ten-race card featured four stakes races with purses in excess of $140,000. An enthusiastic crowd of 9,100 was in attendance, enjoying the stakes action as well as a live concert following the evening’s races by Texas favorite, Kevin Fowler.

The $44,7500 TQHA Classic Stakes, at a distance of 400 yards had a field of eight after the late scratches of Dashtothe Millennium, Texas Chatterbox and Too Specially Fancy. Multiple stakes winner, Si Puede ($7.60) captured her third stakes win this meet with her victory in the TQHA Classic. The Dave Correll-trained filly won the $14,750 Gulf Coast Stakes and the $15,500 Miss Houston Stakes already this summer at Sam Houston Race Park. Jose Vega was aboard for each of her stakes wins and guided the three-year-old through a tough duel tonight with 2003 Horse of the Meet, Gone Celebrating. This is the prospective champion’s fourth straight win and she has finished in the money in all of her 11 starts. Si Puede is owned and bred by Lukin Gilliland.

“She’s running real good right now and she’s heading into the Sam Houston Derby for her next start,” Correll noted. “This horse has really sky rocketed Jose’s (Vega) career. He’s getting better mounts, including his races at Remington. He is a great young rider and his career is sky rocketing with horses like this.”

Gone Celebrating, trained by John Buchanan ran second. Rider Juan Vazquez, who is the regular rider of the former champion, ran a great race against the competition.

“He’s a super nice horse,” said Vazquez. “He’s had almost a year off, so I think he’ll run better next time being a little fresh.”

Owner Bobby Cox plans to run the six-year-old in the $50,000 Sam Houston Classic in September.

Heath Taylor’s Fredricksburg followed close behind but weakened at the close and finished third. The four-year-old colt, owned by Grupo Lopez Interprises LP, had surgery recently due to an injury but shows definite improvement.

Tracy Taylor, the wife of Heath Taylor commented, “We ran him in the Texas Challenge Championship but he just wasn’t ready for it. We thought he was ready, but he just didn’t run well. He did much better tonight and we’re proud.”

Post time favorite, Gray Invasion ($5.60) was ridden to victory by Rodrigo Vallejo in the $45,500 TQHA “550” Stakes. Gray Invasion was last year’s winner of the 550-yard contest. The six-year-old gelding completed the feature in an impressive time of :26.76, besting the track record set by Rare Sign in 2001 of :27.01.

Proud trainer, Bobby Martinez plans to enter the gelding in the Sam Houston Maiden Classic for owner Claudio Aguilar.

“I was thinking yesterday that the problem with the horse is that he can’t break. He probably gets distressed when other horses are around him and blocking his way,” Vallejo said. “But today he took off really well and had an excellent race.”

The $45,500 Barnmaster Sprint Stakes at 250 yards, drew a competitive field of 11. The winner was Jack Zee Quick ($18.40) owned by Dallas Blakley and R.P. Stuart and trained by Matt Baker. Rider Mark Page was aboard the four-year-old gelding while he dueled for first and scored the win.

“This is a good horse and tonight he ran like he used to run,” Baker stated. “He’s from Texas racing so we’ll try to find some trials and finals for him here.”

Buchanan’s Chipeyed Charlie, who won the $14,000 Stephen F. Austin stakes this summer, ran second with Alex Baldillez, Jr. in the irons. Jimmy and Karen Powell own the five-year-old Texas-bred.

“I think the best horses ran first and second in my opinion on this track tonight,” said Buchanan. “I think Jack Zee Quick can beat any of those horses. He’s a really good horse, especially with short distances. I think my horse is just on the improve.”

Thunder O Toole, trained by Roy Roberts ran third for owners Alex and Raul Ramos.

Jerry Lee Yoakum scored his first stakes win of the meeting tonight in the $22,100 TQHA Starter Stakes. Yoakum was at the controls for trainer Toby Keeton’s Ro Anns Money ($10.00) and dominated the field in the 350-yard competition. Donald Guedry of Spring Branch owns the three-year-old filly.

“We claimed this filly here last year for $5,000,” recalls Keeton. “She’s won a couple races going this distance and she does a great job. She’s just a real good filly.”

John Hamilton rode Love My Dash, the beaten favorite and second place finisher, for leading trainer Janet Van Bebber and owner Jackie Sessions.

“He was anxious in the gates, so he didn’t leave just as sharp as he can,” said Hamilton. “(He) was brushed at the most inopportune time and he corrected himself. It took him a while to get his feet back under him, so it cost us the race.”

“In stakes company you can’t offer them any mistakes,” noted Van Bebber. “The horse has had several hard races right in a row and they’re not machines. The fact that he race second, we’re very proud of.”

The Texas Summer Showdown Weekend continued this morning with the continuation of the 2005 TQHA Yearling Sale. The annual sale was extended to a two-day event for a second year in a row. Last year the TQHA reported that record number of 390 yearlings were sold with total sales of $3,207,900, surpassing the record of $2,436,200 set at the 2003 TQHA Yearling Sale. The sale has grown in success with each year and this year’s sale was no different. The 2005 TQHA Yearling Sale had total sales of over $4,000,000 with highest bid of $75,000 for hip 143, Miss Shivers. The sorrel filly is out of Mr Jess SI, winner of seven stakes races, including the Rainbow Futurity and Derby and is the son of Mr Jess Perry.

Live racing resumes on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. with trials for the 2005 TQHA Sale Futurity. Yearlings purchased in the 2004 TQHA Yearling Sale are eligible to run in the trials with the ten fastest qualifiers returning in finals on Saturday, August 13.

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