Zookie Street Captures the $54,990 Bayer Legend Texas Challenge at SHRP

(Sunday, August 11, 2002) - It was a perfect day for trainer Heath Taylor and rider Gilbert Ortiz. The duo joined forces to win two stakes races today, including tonight's feature race, the $54,990 Bayer Legend Texas Challenge (G3). Zookie Street, a 3-year old colt owned and bred by Taylor's father, Michael Taylor powered past his nine rivals, capturing his third stakes win of the year.

Taylor and Ortiz were in the winner's circle this afternoon with Jess Maid Magic ($5.00) in the $174,456 LQHBA Sale Futurity (Grade 2) for owner Narcisco Flores.

Tonight's victory was the fifth win this year for the son of Corona Cartel and earns the talented runner a berth in the $175,000 Bayer Legend Challenge Championship (G1) to be held November 2 at Lone Star Park. He earned $27,495 for tonight's effort.

"I would like to thank God for the wonderful day I had today," said Ortiz. "Heath and his crew have done an excellent job with this colt. Today he ran a really good race. He slipped in his back end out of the gate, but within two lengths, he was really accelerating. I've ridden some great horses this year and it's been really wonderful."

"This is a team effort and I owe a lot of credit to my staff, the vets, the gate crew and Gilbert," commented Taylor. "I've been on the road but everyone has done a tremendous job preparing our horses. Zookie Street came into this race really good. I have the utmost respect for the horses in the field. I was certainly worried about outrunning many of them. I was just hoping for a good clean ride, and it means a lot winning this for my father."

Dashing Obsession, the only filly in the field, ran second under rider Alvin "Bubba" Brossette. The 3-year-old daughter of Mr Jess Perry, was the fourth fastest qualifier in trials, and added $10,998 to her career bankroll.

"She got away good," said Brossette. "The horse on the side of me moved in on me and got out in front of me a little bit. My horse threw her head up a little when the 6 horse moved in a little bit. I left good, just not fast enough to keep up."

Some tough luck befell trainer Guy Hopkins. Last night his first call rider Ignacio Bustamante was injured in a gate mishap before the tenth race. Bustamante suffered a broken leg and will undergo surgery on Monday. Hopkins selected jockey James Brooks to ride his runner, fastest qualifier Pretty Boy Perry. The sorrel colt that has earned $497,622, broke well, but faded to seventh.

"He was a little balled up in the gate and he didn't get hold of the ground for the first few jumps," said Brooks. "Then my saddle slipped back about a foot and he couldn't run his best with me back that far."

Zookie Street, sent off at odds of 3-1, returned $8.40 to win, $4.60 to place and $4.00 to show. The 6-5 exacta paid $75.00 and the trifecta, with Catchmeinyourdreams, also trained by Hopkins, returned $721.80. Completing the order of finish were Our Evening Splash, Run And Pray, Gone Celebrating, Pretty Boy Perry, Straw Hat Special, Jims Ladies Man and Mr Step Ahead.

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