-photo by Jenifer Juelsgaard/Coady Photography
|Stonerside Stable's General Charley
Wins the $45,000 Tomball Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park
(February 24, 2007) - A field of seven took to the Connally
Turf Course in tonight’s feature, the $45,000 Tomball Stakes.
General Charley, bred and owned by Bob McNair’s Stonerside
Stable was sent to the lead by rider Paul Nolan and captured the
of the mile and one-sixteenth contest in a time of 1:43.94.
The 5-year-old Texas-bred was named after Charley Casserly, who
was tapped by McNair as the first general manager of the Houston
Texans. Trained by Michael Stidham, General Charley was making his
16th career start this evening. He appears to have found his calling
on the turf, winning two of his last three races on the sod after
running third in his turf debut at Sam Houston Race Park on December
16. Stidham shipped him to Fair Grounds where he won a $25,000 turf
claimer on January 29. Nolan recognized a huge improvement in his
performance this evening following the Fair Grounds victory.
“When I rode him here in December, he hit the lead and then
ding-donged with another horse and sort of gave up,” recalled
Nolan. “The race at Fair Grounds built his confidence and
his heart. I feel like a rode a different horse tonight.”
The chestnut son of Truluck out of the Holy Bull mare, Holy Miss,
appeared very comfortable tonight, covering the first quarter in
:24.78 and the half-mile in 49.53. Saddled by Stidham’s Sam
Houston Race Park assistant, Rigo Rosas, General Charley dueled
with the top earner in the field, Goosey Moose before drawing off
to a 4 ½ length win.
“We had two strategies for the race,” added Nolan.
“We could sit behind the speed, but he was pretty quick leaving
the gates and Mike said if we took the lead, just try to ride the
race, slow the pace down and do the best I could. He broke like
a quarter horse; I was out in front, went head-to-head with Donnie
(Simington on Goosey Moose). He wanted to go; when we hit the quarter-pole,
that was it.”
Goosey Moosey, who ran third in the $100,000 MAXXAM Gold Cup on
January 27, has done some of his best work on turf and finished
second under rider Don Simington.
“It was a good race for him,” said Brandon Jenkins,
assistant to Pish. “They set good fractions. We just couldn’t
get it done. But overall, it was a good race. Coming off the Maxxam,
that was a good race for him. Next time out, he’s a winner.”
Northern Scene, winner of the $50,000 Richard King Stakes on Texas
Champions Day, was the morning-line favorite and ran third tonight.
The 6-year-old gelding is owned by Don Eberts and trained by Morris
Nicks and was ridden this evening by Jamie Theriot.
“When I made my commitment, I was wider than I wanted to
be,” said Theriot. “There were some slow fractions and
they didn’t back up. He tried.”
General Charley, sent off as the fourth betting choice, paid $14.60
to win, $7.00 to place and $3.20 to show. The 2-3 exacta returned
$45.80 and the trifecta paid $105.60 Bullet Crane ran fourth followed
by Favorite Jazz, Spearsville and Meet Dr Mike.