Great Mills
-photo by Jack Coady/Coady Photography
Great Mills Returns to the Winner's Circle in the $75,000 Champion Energy Services Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park

Houston, Texas (Saturday, February 11, 2012) - Great Mills, owned by Millennium Farms and trained by Steve Asmussen, had not entered the winner’s circle since last July at Saratoga. This evening at Sam Houston Race Park, he showed his class as he defeated nine rivals in the $75,000 Champion Energy Services Stakes.

The 4-year-old son of War Chant was ridden for the first time by jockey Chris Landeros, who after winning the 2011 Connally and Jersey Lilly Stakes, was thrilled to pick up his first stakes win of the 2012 meet.

The Kentucky-bred broke alertly from the far outside post, dueling briefly with longshot Penney N a Prayer, and held off a late run by Solar Charge. Final time of the sprint, over the firm Connally turf course was :57.06.

“He felt like a Ferrari under me tonight,” said Landeros. “He’s all class and was very professional out there. The way he dragged me down the backside; all I could say was ‘wow’. I give him all the credit and thank Mr. Asmussen for allowing me to ride such a nice horse.”

This was the second turf stakes of the meet for Asmussen, who captured the $50,000 Jersey Lilly Stakes last Saturday night with Pleasantly Blessed.

Closing gamely for second was Texas Champions Day winner, Solar Charge, a 5-year-old Texas-bred son of Authenticate trained by Karl Broberg and ridden by Glen Murphy.

“He tried really hard; put his heart into it,” said Murphy. “I couldn’t ask for anything else; it was a great horse race.”

Trelawny, a 5-year-old Florida-bred, owned by John Stavropoulus ran third under rider James Graham.

“It might have been just a tad too short,” said Graham of the five furlong distance.  “He traveled pretty good, and ran the same speed he did at Fair Grounds (:57 and change); he just needed more ground.”

Great Mills was sent off as the third betting choice and rewarded his backers with a win payout of $11.20. This was the fifth career win for the dark bay colt, who picked up a check for $45,000, vaulting his total earnings over the $200,000 mark.

Her Man ran fourth, followed by Flat Back, Southern Style, Uno Ducksy, Great Hope, Penney N A Prayer and Winchester Bay.

Sam Houston Race Park hosted the 5th Annual Wiener Dog Races this evening, a very popular promotion. Attendance for the Saturday evening card was 7,428.

The 2012 Thoroughbred meet continues through Monday, March 12, with post times set for Friday and Saturday (7 p.m.), Sunday (5 p.m.) and Monday

(1 p.m.). The meet will feature special events including Ladies Night on February 25 and Camel & Ostrich Races on March 10. The park will also host a 27-day Quarter Horse Meet from March 22 – May 19.
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