Academic Angel Wins the $35,000 Jiffy Lube Stakes at SHRP

(October 25, 2003)- For the fourth time in five years, the $35,000 Jiffy Lube Stakes, was forced off its intended track surface, the Connally Turf Course. A major thunderstorm hit the Houston area this afternoon and the featured race was moved to the main track.

Academic Angel, trained by three-time Sam Houston Race Park leading trainer, Steve Asmussen, had no problem with the turf to dirt switch. The 4-year-old filly is owned by Cash Asmussen's Cashmark Farm's Inc. and improved her 2003 record to four wins from eight starts. Jockey Jeremy Beasley had the riding assignment and won in impressive fashion. Beasley called on the daughter of Royal Academy at the top of the stretch and she responded gamely, passing the early pacesetter, She's The Future and drawing off to a 5 length victory. The final time of the mile-and-one sixteenth distance, on a muddy track, was 1:44.46.

"The surface did not phase her one bit," commented Beasley. "She's The Future set a pretty fast pace on the front end, going "12 and change. It was pretty easy; just a little hand urging. I think she's just as comfortable on the dirt as she is on the turf. I'm happy to win one for the Asmussen family."
Asmussen won the Jiffy Lube Stakes last year with Asheville. Academic Angel was saddled tonight by Tony Mathieson, assistant to Asmussen, who was at Santa Anita overseeing his three Breeders' Cup starters.

"I didn't think the off track would bother her," said Mathieson. "She had been training well and we expected a good effort from her."

She's The Future, under Larry Taylor, ran second for owner Brush County Thoroughbreds and trainer Eleuterio Martinez, Jr. The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred filly was sent to the lead and drew off by three lengths in the early stages of the race.

"That's her racing style, you know," said Taylor. " She's a rough speed horse. And you fight with her, it takes the race right out of her. I know she likes the grass a lot better. I'm not sure I could outrun that horse on the grass or the dirt, but I would have rather stayed on the grass. I know she likes the grass better."

Won Ton Win owned and trained by Donna Gowdy rallied for third. Rider Salvador Perez was aboard the longest shot in the eight-horse field.

"We bought this mare at a Thursday night horse auction because she had been beaten something like 30 lengths in her last start and they were through with her," said Gowdy. "I started training her to be a barrel horse or equitation horse. We worked her on some cows and around the farm and she just kept wanting to run so I put her in training. She ran all three for me on grass and she ran okay on the main track tonight. She is so easy to train. I am just her chauffeur."

Academic Angel was sent off as the post time favorite and paid $3.60 to win, $2.40 to place and $2.20 to show. The 8-9 exacta returned $34.40 and the trifecta, with 37-1 Won Ton Win, paid $520.40. Completing the order of finish were Dyna Penny, Strawbailey, El Prado Diamond, My Misty Princess and Marfa's Taxes. Veri Geri was scratched when the race was taken off the Connally Turf Course.

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