|Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint Champion Chamberlain Bridge to Run in Saturday's $75,000 Rail Splitter Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park
(Houston, Texas - February 9, 2011) - Saturday's feature at Sam Houston Race Park is the $75,000 Rail Splitter Stakes, a five furlong sprint over the Connally Turf Course. The stakes is named in honor of the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, who worked as a rail splitter before pursuing a career in politics.
While the stakes did not attract a president, racing fans will have a unique opportunity to see a Breeders' Cup champion in action as Chamberlain Bridge will ship in from Fair Grounds for Saturday's feature. He has been one of the most outstanding horses trained by native Texan Bret Calhoun. Owned by Carl Moore Management LLC, the seven-year-old son of War Chant is an extraordinary turf specialist, winning eight of his 13 starts sprinting. Last year, he won three consecutive stakes in Illinois and Pennsylvania before scoring the biggest victory in his career, $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (Gr. II) at Churchill Downs. With a perfectly timed ride by Jamie Theriot, Chamberlain Bridge advanced from ninth place and powered past his 13 rivals in a final time of: 56.53 seconds. It was the first Breeders' Cup win for Moore, Calhoun and Theriot. He earned $540,000 for that win, boosting his career bankroll $1,585,245.
Calhoun and Moore had been searching for a prep race for Chamberlain Bridge, who will ship to Dubai for the Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse on March 26.
"We have gone back and forth with the weather," said Calhoun from his Fair Grounds barn. "The Fair Grounds weather has been so volatile; we decided that shipping to Houston was our best option. Houston has a nice turf course, which was definitely part of the lure."
Calhoun will never forget the 2010 Breeders' Cup, but credits Theriot for the masterful ride on Chamberlain Bridge.
"It was an incredible ride by Jamie," admits Calhoun. "He knows this horse so well. He was able to overcome the rail post and come from so far out. I've watched the race so many times and am still amazed."
Goldzar will ship in for owner Kenny Desormeaux and trainer Deryl Granger. The five-year-old Kentucky-bred ran fourth in the $60,000 Bonpaw Stakes on December 18 at Fair Grounds and was second in his last sprint on the main track at Delta Downs on January 14. Shane Sellers will ride the bay son of Cozar and is always popular with Houston racing fans. Sellers has won over 4,000 races, including the 1997 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies on Countess Diana and the 1998 Breeders' Cup Turf with Buck's Boy. A knee injury sidelined the 43-year-old rider for four years, but he made a successful return to the saddle in 2009.
Texas Champions Day winner Truly Lucky, a five-year-old daughter of Truluck bred by Stonerside Stable, will run for Karl Broberg and End Zone Athletics. Rider Quincy Hamilton, who guided her to victory in the $50,000 Yellow Rose Stakes on January 22, has the return call.
Hollywood Ice will be ridden by the hot turf stakes riding jockey Chris Landeros, who won the $200,000 Connally Turf Cup (Gr. IIIT) as well as the $50,000 Jersey Lilly. The four-year-old Oklahoma-bred is owned by Hal Browning and trained by Kari Craddock. Landeros has ridden Hollywood Ice in each of six previous starts; he will make his turf debut in the Rail Splitter.
"We are thrilled that a Breeders' Cup champion will headline our Saturday race card," said Andrea Young, president and chief operating officer of SHRP. "A horse with the credentials of Chamberlain Bridge merited the purse increase to $75,000. We hope that racing fans in Houston and across the country will enjoy seeing another top caliber stakes on our highly regarded turf course."
The complete field from the rail, with jockeys: Forestry Gold, Alfredo Contreras; Goldzar, Shane Sellers; Truly Lucky, Quincy Hamilton; Hollywood Ice, Chris Landeros; Chamberlain Bridge, Jamie Theriot; Antioch Diamond, Eguard Tejera; Pacific Tsunami, Bobby Walker, Jr; Thunder Pants, Paul Nolan; Midnight Cabinet, Larry Taylo;r and Future Covenant, Miguel Mena.
The $75,000 Rail Splitter Stakes will run as the ninth race of the Saturday evening card, with a post time of 10:26 p.m.