Valors Gold
photo by Coady Photography


Seek N Destroy
photo by Coady Photography
Valors Gold Tops the List of Qualifiers for the MBNA Texas Challenge Championship at SHRP

(May 14, 2004) - Trials for the $75,000-added MBNA Texas Challenge Championship, a Grade 1 stakes, were held Friday, May 14 at Sam Houston Race Park. The trials featured 14 Quarter Horses competing at a distance of 440 yards.

The fastest qualifier was Valors Gold, owned by Claudio Aguilar and trained by Frank Cavazos. Ridden tonight by J. R. Ramirez, Valors Gold completed the 440 yard trial in a time of :21.605.

"This is the best I've ever seen him run," said Cavazos.

"He stumbled a little bit out of the gate, but he recovered well and ran a good race."

Gray Invasion, a 5-year-old son of Chicks Beduino, won the second trial of the evening and registered the second fastest time. Ridden by Rodrigo Vallejo for trainer Janie Hernandez, Gray Invasion rallied nicely and won his trial in :21.737.

"I was nervous when I saw him get out of the gates," admitted Hernandez. "He was slow, but I knew he could run well at the end and he did for me."

A troubled trip affected 2003 Sam Houston Race Park Horse of the Meet, Gone Celebrating. He was bumped badly at the start by Frostys Money Man, who was disqualified and placed sixth following a steward's review of the race. Despite the difficulty, Gone Celebrating had the third fastest time in trials (:21.813).

"We're just having no luck at all," said trainer John Buchanan. "That race probably helped him and I expect him to run big in the finals."

The top ten qualifiers will return to Sam Houston Race Park for the $75,000-added MBNA America Texas Challenge Championship on Saturday, May 29. Those qualifiers were Valors Gold, Gray Invasion, Gone Celebrating, Snow Warning (:21.820), Hesa Lil Bit High (:21.849), Roll Easy (:21.957), Mr Nokona (:22.003), Famous Signature (:22.181), Heza Fast Cowboy (:22.204), and Mr Bar Code (:22.295).

The winner of that race will earn a berth into the $300,000 MBNA America Challenge Championship (G1). Sam Houston Race Park was selected as host site for the prestigious championships on November 6, 2004.

Seek N Destroy Fastest Qualifier for $14,000-added MD Barns Texas Distance Challenge

The trials for the $14,000-added MD Barns Texas Distance Challenge were also held on Friday night, with Seek N Destroy posting the fastest qualifying time for 870 yards of :45.392. He was ridden by Danny Lavergne and is trained by James Gerhards.

Other qualifiers for the final, which will be held on Saturday, May 29, include Run and Pray (:45.432), Amor Lejero (:45.542), Zachs Hero (:46.600), Joe Task (:46.674), TKs Legs Diamond (:46.710), Durability (:46.747), and Special D Dash (:46.755).

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