Asheville Triumphs in $30,000 Jiffy Lube Stakes at SHRP

(Saturday, November 2, 2002) - For the third time in four years, the $30,000 Jiffy Lube Stakes, was forced off its intended track surface, the Connally Turf Course. The persistent rain that has pounded the Houston area for the last two weeks resumed this evening and the feature was moved to the main track.

Asheville, trained by 2001/2002 Sam Houston Race Park leading trainer, Steve Asmussen, relished the sloppy track and captured the first stakes of her career for owner Nelson Bunker Hunt. Jockey Casey Lambert was in the irons, guiding the 4-year-old filly to victory over the mile-and-one sixteenth distance in a time of 1:45.52.

"I think that it was probably to her liking that the race came off the turf," said Lambert. "She had run several times on the grass and ran creditable races each time, but she had never won. She broke exceptionally well and was comfortable the whole way."

Pleasant State, under rider Roman Chapa, ran second for trainer Ramon Flores. Owned by RSSI Racing, the 7-year-old mare won the $50,000 Jersey Lilly Stakes last February at Sam Houston Race Park and the $75,000 Irving Distaff at Lone Star Park. last April. She was given a break and returned to action at Retama Park on October 19, where she finished fifth.

"She got tired on me," admitted Chapa. "I had to fight her most of the way to try to get her to relax. I think that took a little bit out of her. She needed that race though, coming off of her layoff. The last race she ran in, didn't get anything out of her. This race she just got flat on me. She usually comes off the pace, today she just went to the front and I tried to slow her down. I just had to fight her the whole way."

Lisa’s Approval owned by Peter A. Wilson, with former Sam Houston Race Park leading rider Steve Bourque up, completed the trifecta. Bourque was returning for his first race in nine weeks due to an injury that required surgery on his neck and hand.

"The "one horse" stumbled leaving there and my horse got shuffled back a little," said Bourque. "She gave me all she had. She finishes better on turf, but she ran a good race."

Asheville, sent off as the favorite, paid $5.40 to win, $3.00 to place and $2.60 to show. The 7-11 exacta returned $16.20. The trifecta paid $62.60. Completing the order of finish were Key Mark, Tara Gold, Susue Sue and Solo Attack. Euryanthe, Cocoa Creek, Golden Rhythm and Renaissance Fair were all scratched when the race was taken off the Connally Turf Course.

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