Field of Eight Set for the Eleventh Running of the $200,000 Connally Breeders' Cup Turf at SHRP

(April 6, 2005)- Eight talented turf runners, including two past champions will compete in the $200,000 Connally Breeders' Cup Turf Race on Saturday, April 9, 2005. In its eleventh running, the Connally Breeders' Cup Turf is the richest stakes of the Sam Houston Race Park Thoroughbred meeting.

In addition to the $200,000 Connally Breeders' Cup Turf Race, the evening will feature two other stakes races, the $50,000 Jersey Lilly Stakes for fillies and mares going one mile-and-a-sixteenth and the $50,000 Sam Houston Turf Sprint at a distance of five furlongs.

Rapid Proof, owned by Dolphus Morrison, has been installed as the 9-5 morning-line favorite for the 2005 Connally Breeders' Cup Turf. Trainer Hal Wiggins, who won the 1998 and 1999 editions of the Connally Breeders' Cup Turf with Chorwon, will saddle the 5-year-old son of Fast Play and give a leg up to regular rider, Brian Hernandez, Jr. Hernandez guided the dark bay gelding to the biggest victory of his career when he captured the $500,000 Mervin H. Muniz Memorial Handicap on March 19.

Two defending champions will return in this year's Connally Breeders' Cup Turf. Candid Glen, the only three-time champion, will be seeking his fourth Connally Breeders' Cup Turf trophy. The 8-year-old Kentucky-bred turf specialist, owned by Dr. Glen Warren and trained by Andrew Leggio, won the Connally Breeders' Cup Turf in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

Lonnie Meche, who rode him to his seven-furlong allowance race victory at Fair Grounds last November, will ride. Ro Parra's Warleigh, a 7-year-old Kentucky-bred, will defend his title in the Connally. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Warleigh relished the yielding turf course last year and won in gate-to-wire fashion last April. He will be ridden this year by Corey Lanerie and has been assigned odds of 3-1. Asmussen, who trails Danny Pish by one win heading into the final weekend of the 2004/2005 Sam Houston Thoroughbred meeting, will also saddle Dynareign for Joseph E. Haller. The son of noted turf sire, Dynaformer will be making his first start on the Sam Houston turf and will be ridden by Don Simington.

Sam Houston Race Park leading rider Quincy Hamilton will pilot Wire Bound, a 4-year-old Florida-bred for Silver Diamond Thoroughbreds, Inc. The son of Hesabull has won 5 of his 11 career turf races including the $100,000 Pete Axthelm at Calder Race Course on December 11 and the $100,000 Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup on February 19. He is trained by Manuel Criollo and will arrive in Houston on Thursday.

Trainer Michael Stidham has entered Herculated, a 5-year-old son of Louis Quatorze. He will be making his first start since October 9, but has won five turf races for Oak Crest Farm LLC. The bay gelding galloped on the Connally Turf course this morning and will be ridden by Carlos Marquez, Jr.
Social King from the barn of Dallas Keen and local allowance winner, Val's Approval complete the eight-horse field.

"The Connally Breeders' Cup Turf consistently comes up with a competitive field and this year's edition is no exception," said Eric Johnston, Sam Houston Race Park's racing secretary. "We have two graded stakes winners in Saturday's Connally and last year's field included four Grade 2 winners, including Better Talk Now who went on to win the Breeders' Cup Turf (Gr. IT).

We continue to work hard to attract a field worthy of a grade and feel that the Connally Breeders' Cup Turf in Texas deserves similar consideration to similar stakes in Kentucky, California, New York and Florida. All three stakes races on Saturday will be exciting for racing fans in Texas and across the country."

For further information about the Connally Breeders' Cup Turf and festivities at Sam Houston Race Park, call (281) 807-8760 or visit the Sam Houston Race Park web site,

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