-photo by Jack Coady/Coady Photography
|Legal Mind Wins Her Stakes Debut with an Impressive Performance in the $50,000 Auto Nation Spring Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park
Houston, Texas (Saturday, March 16,2013) - The final stakes of the 2013 Sam Houston Race Park Thoroughbred meet took place tonight with a solid group of three-year-old fillies competing at the distance of one mile in the $50,000 Auto Nation Spring Stakes.
Trainer Jack Bruner felt that Legal Mind deserved a chance to step up to stakes company. The dark bay daughter of Bellamy Road is owned by Tom Durant and broke her maiden on October 26 at Retama Park. She was impressive as she came off the pace to score by two lengths in a $21,000 allowance on February 9.
Sam Houston Race Park's leading rider Gerardo Mora kept her in a comfortable tracking position as Livin Peace took the lead, completing the first quarter mile in :23.91 and the half-mile in :47.55. The rail opened up and Mora guided his filly to a 2 ½ length victory. She covered the mile, over a fast main track, in a final time of 1:39.76.
"She's been training really well and my crew has been touting her strongly," said Bruner. "Gerry (Gerardo Mora) gave her a great ride."
Satin Gold, who was making her 2013 debut off a third-place finish in the $75,000 La Senorita at Retama Park, rallied for second under jockey Alfredo Contreras.
"She had trouble out of the gates, but settled and made a good run at the end," said Contreras.
Legal Mind, sent off at odds of 8-1, returned $18.60 to her backers. Bilrrubina (MEX) was sent off as the post-time favorite, ran third, followed by Explosive Argument, Hopelands, Livin Peace, Unrivaled Honor and Portales.
Bruner indicated that the Illinois-bred filly will head to Chicago this summer. It has been a successful showing for the Bruner and Durant barn; they have won 16 of their 47 starts. Bruner reflected on the past two months at Sam Houston Race Park.
"Everybody has been super to us at Sam Houston," said Bruner. "I cannot say enough good things about the track surface and the racing office. I am really glad we came and wish some of the other tracks were more like Houston."
Joyful Victory Wins the Grade I, $300,000 Santa Margarita Stakes
Joyful Victory dazzled on January 26 at Sam Houston Race Park in her victory in the inaugural $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic. The five-year-old daughter of Tapit has been a shining star for trainer Larry Jones and owner Fox Hill Farms, Inc. She made the most of her Sam Houston debut, not only winning the richest Thoroughbred stakes here, but setting a track record of 1:42.30 for the distance of a mile and one-sixteenth under top jockey Rosie Napravnik.
This afternoon at Santa Anita, she triumphed once again with in the Grade I, $300,000 Santa Margarita Stakes. The striking gray covered a mile and one-eighth in 1:49.53 over a fast main track, defeating More Chocolate and Brushed by a Star, who also ran in the Houston Ladies Classic.
Joyful Victory ($4.20) earned $180,000 for her Grade 1 win, increasing her career bankroll to $1,090,679.
Jones had another Sam Houston Race Park stakes champion return to the winner's circle today as Icon Ike captured the $75,000 Colonel Power at Fair Grounds. He set a track record here on January 26 in the five furlong Champion Energy Services Stakes; he came from off the pace again today at Fair Grounds with James Graham aboard as Napravnik was in California.
Monday Concludes the 2013 Sam Houston Race Park Thoroughbred Meet
Monday, March 18 is the final day of the Thoroughbred racing season. The afternoon card, which gets underway at 1:00 p.m., will include the presentation of the end of the meet awards to leading owner, trainer and jockey. The 2013 live American Quarter Horse season commences on Thursday, March 28.