Catalissa Triumphs for Bob McNair in the $35,000 Texas Heritage Stakes At SHRP

(March 8, 2003)- Houston Texan owner Bob McNair has a rising star off the football field, his 3-year-old colt, Catalissa, who captured tonight’s feature race, the $35,000 Texas Heritage Stakes.

Bred in Texas by Stonerside Stable, Catalissa won his second race of the meeting tonight as he was also victorious in the $50,000 Groovy Stakes last November. Tonight’s win was impressive as the bay colt drew off at the top of the stretch and crossed the wire five lengths ahead of his six rivals. He completed the one-mile contest in a time of 1:36.33, just off the track record of 1:36.21.

Eddie Martin, Jr., who rode Catalissa to victory on Texas Champions Day, returned to ride this evening.

"He has matured a lot since I won on him last time in Houston," said Martin. "He made it look effortless; he ran a great race."

Trainer Michael Stidham made an equipment change which he credited for his colt's winning effort.

"After his first two races he lost a little focus," admitted Stidham. "When we put the blinkers on him in the morning, he just turned into a different horse and he showed it tonight."

"It’s a proud moment for us, especially because he’s a Texas homebred; he was born right outside of Houston in Waller, Texas," said John Adger, Racing and Bloodstock agent for McNair’s Stonerside Stable. " I give all the credit to Mike Stidham and his crew."

On The Border, owned and bred in Kentucky by James E. Nelson, ran second. Trained by Steve Asmussen, On The Border was making his first foray into stakes company, having won a $15,000 allowance race here on February 23. Rider Jeremy Beasley was aboard for the allowance effort in which the 3-year-old colt drew off by four lengths.

"I'm pleased with the way he ran," said Beasley. "They are doing a real good job with him. To show that kind of an effort against horses that have already proved themselves was impressive. I was very happy with the way he ran."

Leo’s Last Hurrahy, owned by Kenneth W. Murphy returned to Sam Houston Race Park for the first time since his win in the $150,000 Texan Juvenile on Texas Champions Day. The son of Leo Castelli was named Texas Thoroughbred Association Horse of the Year and is trained by Bob Young. Following back-to-back stakes wins in Texas, Leo’s Last Hurrahy finished eleventh in the grade 3 LeComte Stakes and sixth in the Risen Star Stakes, both at the Fair Grounds. He finished third tonight under rider Kevin Cogburn.

"He ran better than at the Fair Grounds, but he ran like he's tired"," said Young. "We will have the vet scope him so we can figure out why he just flattened out in stretch."

Catalissa, who went off as the heavy favorite, returned $3.40 to win, $2.40 to place and $2.10 to show. Corrizo Creek, Wellgetem, Bandera Dude and Joe Move completed the order of finish. Longhorn Blues was an early scratch.

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