-photo by Jack Coady/Coady Photography
Schramsberg Closes to Score in the Grade III $200,000 Connally Turf Cup at Sam Houston Race Park

Houston, Texas (January 29, 2011) - For the past three years, front runners have emerged victorious in the Grade 3, $200,000 Connally Turf Cup at Sam Houston Race Park. However, with a tremendous closing kick, Schramsberg changed that pattern and captured the first graded stakes of his career and the richest race of the Sam Houston Race Park Thoroughbred meeting.

The five-year-old Kentucky-bred is trained by Chris Hartman and owned by Bobby Joe Hammer of Elmore City, Oklahoma. Bred by the esteemed Robert and Beverly Lewis trust, Schramsberg boasts an impeccable pedigree, by Storm Cat out of the Rahy mare, Serena’s Song. Hartman shipped him in from Sunland Park in hopes of winning his first graded stakes. The rest was up to rider Chris Landeros, who did a masterful job of saving ground before asking his mount for one final run.

“I have to give all the credit to the horse,” said Landeros. “He is an amazing animal. We looked at the form and knew there wasn’t much pace in here. Our thought was if we were going to take it, let’s take it nice and comfortable. Luckily, there were a couple horses that wanted to go up front and press the pace; I got a ground-saving trip and just waited for that move and he spurted when I asked him.”

“This was a good spot to run the horse,” said Hartman. “It’s a Grade 3 and the horse is extremely well bred.”

The rider switch from Ramsey Zimmerman to Landeros was a smooth transition, according to Hartman.

“He’s ridden for me in the past,” said Hartman. “I thought he’d fit the horse well. I told him that the horse needed to be covered up and that’s what I asked Chris to do. He put a beautiful ride on the horse.”

Southern Anthem, a five-year-old from the barn of Jeffrey Thornbury ran second. The son of Royal Anthem ran second at Fair Grounds on December 22 and was closing well under rider James Graham.

“He ran good,” said rider James Graham. “We just ran out of real estate.”

Stately Victor was both the morning line favorite and 120-pound highweight in the turf handicap. The striking son of Ghostzapper was making his first turf start since July 17 for trainer Mike Maker. Jockey Alan Garcia made his first trip to Sam Houston, flying in from Gulfstream Park to ride.

“He was moving well and handled the turf course fine,” said Garcia. “By the time he got in gear, it was too late.”

Trainer Hal Wiggins, who won the Connally Turf Cup with Chorwon in 1998 and 1999 and Rapid Proof in 2005, presented the trophy to the winning connections.
Wiggins, who retired in 2009 after an accomplished 35-year career in which he won 840 races, was the first trainer of 2009 Horse of the Year, Rachel Alexandra.
Chorwon still holds the turf and turf stakes record of 1:47.65 for the distance at Sam Houston Race Park.

Schramsberg paid $7.60 to win as the third betting choice and earned $120,000 for the victory. Final time of the mile and one-eighth feature in 1:50.22 over a firm turf course And Music Came, Deputiformer, Fifteen Love, Spinning Touch and Barrier Reef followed. Stachys was an early scratch.

Hartman indicated that Schramsberg might return to Sam Houston for the $150,000 Maxxam Gold Cup on March 5.

Handle for the ten-race Connally card was $1,445,283, which marked the third time since the meet began on January 21 that handle surpassed the $1 million.

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