-photo by Jack Coady/Coady Photography
-photo by Jack Coady/Coady Photography
-photo by Jack Coady/Coady Photography
|Mending Fences Invades from Florida
to Win the $200,000 Connally Breeders' Cup Turf at Sam Houston Race
(April 7, 2007) - Mending Fences required
little cooperation from Mother Nature as he led from gate to wire
and won the Grade III $200,000 Connally Breeders’ Cup Turf
at Sam Houston Race Park With rain falling in Houston all afternoon
and evening and temperatures dipping into the lower 40’s,
the Kentucky-bred son of Forestry dismissed the less than ideal
conditions and captured the first graded stakes of his career and
the richest race of the Sam Houston Race Park Thoroughbred meeting.
Mending Fences is trained by Martin Wolfson and owned by Farnsworth
Stables LLC of Palm Beach, Florida. He was making the 26th start
of his career with the majority of those races at Calder Race Course
and Gulfstream Park. He ran second to running second to Grade 1
champion, English Channel in a $50,000 allowance at Gulfstream on
February 22 and earned a career high Beyer Speed Figure of 103.
Based on that performance, Wolfson thought the Connally Breeders’
Cup Turf might be a good step for the dark bay. Quincy Hamilton,
who won the riding title in 2005 and 2006 at Sam Houston Race Park,
was given the mount and sent his charge to the lead. He covered
the first quarter in :24.42 and the half-mile in :48.52, with his
closest pursuer, a game General Charley. Hamilton never relinquished
the lead and held off a fast-closing effort of Embossed (IRE) at
the wire. The final time of the mile and one-eighth contest was
1:52.34 over a yielding turf course.
“He's a great horse to ride; I can't find many of those,”
commented Hamilton. “He broke great and settled in perfectly
and whenever I called on him, he was all there. I saw the horse
(Embossed) coming at the end, but my horse was very game and just
a pleasure to ride.”
Wolfson did not make the trip to Houston, but his wife, Carla,
accompanied Mending Fences on a flight from South Florida to Oaklawn
Park and a seven-hour van to Houston last Wednesday. Wolfson is
the trainer of Miesque’s Approval, the amazing 7-year-old
who was the upset winner in the 2006 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup
“We're very grateful for owners like Farnsworth Stables who
spend the money and bring us to new heights,” commented Carla
Wolfson. “It's all about the owners and the horse and we appreciate
them so much. This horse is very special and we think the best is
yet to come. We hope he will follow in Miesque Approval's shoes;
he's that good.”
“My horse was coming on at the end, but (Mending Fences)
just had too much left,” said rider Bobby Walker, Jr., who
piloted Embossed for trainer Niall O’Callaghan. “There
just wasn't anyone in the race to soften him up on the lead. We
thought maybe General Charley would, but he never really pressed
him. But I'm pleased with the way my horse ran. This was a really
Silver Tree, who had bankrolled $1.2 million for Vegso Racing
Stable and Hall of Fame trainer, Bill Mott, ran fifth.
The yielding course was very much a factor in tonight’s
race,” said John Gaver, assistant to Mott. “The last
12 starts have been on a firm ground, so as soon as it started raining
this morning, I was getting worried. (Roimes Chirinos) said he was
just kind of spinning his wheels out there and never really got
a hold of it. That’s not to take away from the winner though,
he ran a great race; it just didn’t go our way tonight. At
least we got the horse back and he’ll live to run another
race. I’ll talk with Bill Mott to regroup and see where we
go from here. This is a real nice horse and he’s won over
a million dollars. We’ll get him back on a good foot and the
Mending Fences, at 3-1, was the second choice and paid $8.20 for
the win. The 1-2 exacta returned $67.40 and the trifecta with the
Stonerside Stable homebred General Charley, paid $377.80. Defending
champion, Fort Prado, Silver Tree, Storm Treasure and Doctor Mrmd
completed the order of finish.
Other Stakes Winners
Jersey Lilly Stakes
The $50,000 Jersey Lilly Stakes for fillies and mares going one
mile-and-a-sixteenth drew a field of twelve runners. The winner
was Fairwell Madrid, owned and trained by Donna McCullough. This
was the second turf stakes victory of the meeting for the 5-year-old
mare and the second on a yielding course. She captured the $25,000
Allen’s Landing Stakes on January 6 and returned to the winner’s
circle this evening under rider Paul Nolan.
“She's shown herself to like yielding turf before, and I
expected it would be yielding tonight. But boy, oh boy, that was
a full field to have to navigate through, and I have to give the
credit to (jockey) Paul (Nolan) for doing a great job with her.
But she's a hard worker and a racing son-of-a-gun, pardon my French.
I think we'll go to Lone Star now and tackle some other Texas horses.”
“I love this horse,” added Nolan. “I saw there
was a lot of speed in the race, so I just sat behind the speed.
Coming down the backstretch, she took a hold of me, and I thought
she's was going to run off on me. But I steadied her and she came
back to me real nice. They piled up real good on the turn, and I
was on Larry (Taylor's) heels and Jeremy (Collier's) heels at the
same time. So I back her off, and a hole opened up behind Sweet
Appeal. When I asked her to go, she took hold and did what she was
supposed to do.”
Fairwell Madrid was sent off at 9-1 odds and returned $20.60 for
her first black-type stakes. La Raine of Terror with Bobby Walker,
Jr, aboard, closed for second and two-time Sam Houston Race Park
stakes winner, Wild Encounter was third. Cheyenne Spirit was next,
followed by Sweet Appeal, Spring Jabar, High Pioneer, Tunnel Time,
Anita Xanax, Night Speeker, Due to Win Again and Margy’s Forest.
Sam Houston Turf Sprint Cup
The final stakes of the evening was the running of the $50,000
Sam Houston Turf Sprint Cup. The five furlong sprint, attracted
a field of twelve, but Dwight Polite, Proven Cure, Jaramillo and
K D King, were scratched prior to the race. The favorite, Cat Genius
($4.20) under a confident ride by Corey Lanerie, scored the stakes
win for owner John Parker of Houston and trainer W. Bret Calhoun.
The winning time was :58.17 over a yielding turf course.
“Third time was the charm (referring to his third mount of
the evening),” said Lanerie. “I have to give all the
credit to Mr. Parker and Bret Calhoun for bringing me here tonight.
He was competitive and when they came to him, he gave it everything
he had. The turf course held up well with all the rain; it was really
wet, but he handled it. It's always a great turf course”
“He’s a very nice horse,” commented Jay Severs,
assistant to Calhoun . “We are grateful to Mr. Parker for
allowing us to train him. He's a super fast, nice horse and he showed
it tonight. He'll go to Lone Star and let us know what's next”
Chief What It Is ran second under rider Roimes Chirinos.
“He's such a nice horse,” commented trainer Lori Hendrickson.
“The yielding turf probably wasn't to his liking, but when
I woke up this morning and saw it raining, I thought, 'Oh well,
we came here to race.' But it was nice to see he had something left
at the wire. Six months ago he didn't have (it), and that was a
big concern. So I'm hopeful that he's on the right track now. I
was thinking of taking him to Churchill (Downs), but now I'll just
take a step back and reevaluate where we are.”
Orphan Brigade, also trained by Calhoun, ran third under Bobby
Walker, Jr. Magic Power, Greggo, Broke Kitty, Southern Humour and
Open Bank completed the field.
Tonight was the final night of the 2006/2007 Sam Houston Race Park
Thoroughbred meeting. American Quarter Horses will return to the
northwest Houston racetrack on Friday, June 29.