Bold Angel Upsets the $45,000 Sam Houston Oaks at SHRP

(March 10, 2007) - A field of nine fillies went postward in tonight’s feature at Sam Houston Race Park, the $45,000 Sam Houston Oaks. For the third week in a row, it was another victory for Stonerside Stable and Houston Texan owner, Bob McNair as Bold Angel won in gate-to-wire fashion under rider Paul Nolan.

Lightly regarded by the wagering public because of just four previous career starts, the 3-year-old daughter of Cat Thief seized control early in the one-mile Sam Houston Oaks, thwarted a determined bid by even-money favorite Spartan Queen, and drew away to a 1-3/4 length victory. The Saturday, March 10, win was the third consecutive stakes victory for Stonerside Stable stablemate Speedway capturing the $45,000 Texas Heritage Stakes one week earlier and General Charley winning the $45,000 Tomball Stakes impressively on February 24. Michael Stidham trains all three stakes winners. He remained in his Fair Grounds base and relied on longtime assistant, Rigo Rosas to saddle Bold Angel.

“We set a really nice pace,” winning jockey Paul Nolan explained. In fact, the three-year-old filly’s time of 1:39.80 was nearly identical to her male counterpart’s 1:39.78 of the week before.

Dismissed by the betting public at odds of 25-1, Bold Angel broke alertly from the post position two and had the lead midway through the first turn. She wasn’t seriously challenged until Vinery Stable’s Spartan Queen, trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Jose Figueroa, accelerated three wide coming out of the final turn and drew alongside the leader. Getting a head up, it appeared that Spartan Queen would sprint past Bold Angel. But jockey Nolan had a different plan.

“I smooched at her once in the stretch,” he said. With that urging, the eventual winner regained the lead and was never again seriously challenged.

“She ran a really good race tonight,” Nolan concluded.

A late surge from another longshot, Sunny Sunset Ranch’s Hart’s Sunset, got her up for place in the field of nine three-year-old fillies.

“The post position hurt us a little,” trainer Robert Schultz said of Hart’s Sunset’s eight post. “We had to come from pretty far back.”

“(Jockey) Don (Simington) gave her a really good ride,” Schultz added. “We were forced wide in the last turn, but she probably ran this race as fast as she’s capable of.”

Bold Angel is a homebred for Stonerside Stable in Kentucky, sired by Cat Thief and out of Forty Niner dam Fortyniner Fever. Her only previous career win was in a January 19 maiden race, also at Sam Houston.

Bold Angel returned $53.00 to her backers. She also paid $25.60 for place and $9.00 to show. Spartan Queen paid $2.60 to show, and the 2-8-7 trifecta returned $2,832.40. Holders of 2-8-7-6 superfecta tickets smiled all the way to the cashier, as they collected $11,997.80 for their $2 tickets. Meadowlanding, Katys Gold Touch, Glamorous Cat, Lilly Ladue, Nefertiti and Savione completed the order of finish.

A crowd of 5,826 was on hand for the ten-race card and country favorite Roger Creager’s post-race concert pushed total on and off-track wagering over $2 million for the night.

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