|Fort Prado Leads Field of Twelve
Set for the Grade III Connally Breeders’ Cup Turf at Sam Houston Race
(April 5, 2006) - The final weekend of
the 2005/2006 Sam Houston Race Park Thoroughbred Meeting will be
highlighted with the running of the richest stakes of the season,
the Grade III Connally Breeders’ Cup Turf on Saturday, April
The mile-and-an-eighth contest was awarded Grade III status this
year, the first Thoroughbred graded stakes since the northwest Houston
opened in 1994. The Connally Breeders’ Cup Turf highlights
an exceptional card with two additional turf stakes races, the $40,000
Jersey Lilly Stakes and the $40,000 Sam Houston Turf Sprint.
Fort Prado is the 3-1 morning line favorite in the Connally Breeders'
Cup Turf. The 5-year-old son of El Prado won the Grade III Fair
Grounds Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Louisiana Downs on January
21 and followed that up with a victory in the $125,000 Tampa Breeders’
Cup on February 25. Trained by Jeff Trosclair for owners Patricia,
David and Ryan Block, Fort Prado, will van into Houston on Wednesday
afternoon and will jog on the main track on Thursday and Friday
according to Trosclair. Robby Albarado, who rode Rod and Staff to
victory in the 2000 Connally Breeders' Cup Turf, has the mount and
will break from post position six.
“We’re looking forward to a good effort from him on
Saturday,” said Trosclair from his base in Louisiana. “Hopefully
there will be some pace in the race and he can just run them down
in the lane.”
Another horse that will be trying to do just that is defending
champion Rapid Proof, who drew the 11 post for trainer Hal Wiggins
and breeder/ owner Dolphus Morrison. The 6-year-old son of Fast
Play won the biggest race of his career in 2005 when he captured
the $500,000 Mervin H. Muniz Memorial Handicap on March 19. He followed
that victory with his win in the 2005 Connally Breeders' Cup Turf.
Trained by Hal Wiggins, Rapid Proof will be ridden on Saturday by
Brian Hernandez, Jr. Hernandez was aboard Rapid Proof on March 17
in a turf allowance prep, his first race since November. He ran
second in that race to Seainsky, who will also compete in the Connally
Breeders' Cup Turf for trainer Danny Pish.
“He needed that last start and got a lot out of the race,”
said Wiggins of the turf prep on March 17. “I didn’t
want to run him on the dirt up here at Oaklawn, so I was happy to
get a race in him and see him come out of that in good shape.”
Onthedeanslist is another top contender for the Grade III Connally
Breeders' Cup Turf. The 7-year-old Kentucky-bred is trained by Ralph
Nicks for Team Valor Stables LLC and defeated Fort Prado in the
$75,000 Colonel Bradley last December. He will make his first start
in four months, but Nicks feels that his charge, who will arrive
in Houston on Friday, will run well fresh.
“Last year’s Connally Breeders' Cup Turf went with
a field of eight,” said Sam Houston Race Park racing secretary,
Eric Johnston. “We look forward to an excellent event with
a full field of 12 in its first running as a Grade III stakes.”
The complete field for the $200,000 Connally Breeders' Cup Turf
is from the rail: Waupaca, E.J. Perrodin, 6-1; Doctor Doctor Mrmd,
Filemon Rodriguez, 30-1; Dontbotherknocking, Quincy Hamilton, 8-1;
Prince T., Bobby Walker, Jr., 8-1; Twilight Vision, Glen Murphy,
15-1; Fort Prado, Robby Albarado, 3-1; Seainsky, Justin Shepherd,
15-1; Toratora, Amanda Crandall, 30-1; A R Crackers, Omar Rodriguez,
20-1; Dynareign, John Byrne, 12-1; Rapid Proof, Brian Hernandez,
Jr., 5-1 and Onthedeanslist, Corey Lanerie, 9-2. The Connally Breeders'
Cup Turf will run as the seventh race on the card, with a scheduled
post time of 9:36 p.m.(CT).
News and notes
Excellent Weather Report Predicted for Connally Night
The extended forecast for the Grade III Connally Breeders' Cup
Turf calls for clear skies with a high of 77 and low of 58. There
is a 20% chance of showers on Friday, but no rain is forecast for
Advanced Wagering for the Connally Breeders' Cup Turf Card
Sam Houston Race Park will offer advanced wagering on the entire
Connally Breeders' Cup Turf card on Friday, April 7. Gates open
at 10:30 a.m. for simulcasting and the first Sam Houston Race Park
Thoroughbred race is set for 7:00 p.m.
Grade III Connally Breeders’ Cup Online Handicapping
Racing fans in Texas and across the country are welcome to register
for the $1,000 Connally Breeders’ Cup Online Handicapping
Contest. The contest is open to all racing fans, 21-years of age
or older, with a total of $1,000 in prizes to the top four finishers.
There is no entry fee for Connally Breeders’ Cup Online
Handicapping Contest. Each contestant will be required to make win,
place and show selections for the evening’s featured stakes,
plus one additional race from the Saturday night card. Registration
will take place on the Sam Houston Race Park web site, www.shrp.com
beginning Thursday, April 6 at 3:00 p.m. with the deadline to enter
at 7:00 on Saturday, April 8.
For more information and a complete set of rules for the Connally
Breeders’ Cup Online Handicapping Contest, please visit the
Sam Houston Race Park web site at www.shrp.com.
Fans Encouraged to Come Early for Johnny Lee and Connally
Breeders' Cup Turf T-Shirts
The festivities for the Grade III Connally Breeders' Cup Turf include
a free concert by country music artist Johnny Lee before the evening’s
races. Lee who is probably best known by Houston fans for his hit
song “Looking for Love” from Urban Cowboy, will belt
out his hits on the Paddock Balcony Stage. The Texas native was
named the Academy of Country Music Best New Artist in 1980. Lee’s
hits include “Pickin' Up Strangers”, “Be There
For Me Baby”, “Cherokee Fiddle”, “Bet Your
Heart On Me” and “One In A Million”.
Lee will perform his good time favorites at 5:00 p.m.on Saturday,
April 8, 2006. Racing fans are encouraged to come early to enjoy
his concert and receive a free Connally Breeders' Cup Turf t-shirt.