Santana Springs, Victory Lap Record Easy Stakes Wins at Lone Star Park

(July 2, 2005) - Favorites Santana Springs and Victory Lap won stakes races with ease on Saturday at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. Santana Springs, a 3-year-old colt trained by Steve Asmussen, won the $97,000 Alysheba Breeders' Cup Stakes by two lengths over War Bridle. Two races later, the filly Victory Lap recorded the most decisive victory of the meeting with a 14 ¼-length score in the $100,000 Lone Star Oaks for her fifth win in a row.

Santana Springs, ridden by Roman Chapa, broke well, dueled for the lead and kicked clear late to stop the teletimer in stakes record time - 1:08.52 for six furlongs. He paid $3.60 to win. It was the first career stakes win for the Florida-bred son of Wheaton. Previously, he finished sixth in the one-mile Derby Trial at Churchill Downs.

"He's a very nice sprinter," said Asmussen, who tallied his fifth stakes win of the meet and third career Alysheba Breeders' Cup. "The mile was definitely too far for him, and he faced a horse like Lost in the Fog earlier this winter. The experience he had over the winter definitely put a bottom in him. He put in some sharp drills for this race and it worked out well."

The $60,000 winner's share of the purse pushed Santana Spring's earnings to $205,840 for owner Millennium Farms, the nom de course for Ro Parra of Austin, Texas.

Runner-up War Bridle was 3 ¼ lengths clear of third place finisher Logan's Draw.

Meanwhile, Victory Lap, a recent private purchase by John Pucek of Kentucky, easily handled her seven rivals in the Oaks, thanks to an eye-catching, five-wide move on the final turn. The 3-year-old Touch Gold filly completed 1 1/16 miles on turf in 1:44.62. Mybrowneyedgal was second, three-quarters of a length in front of Prospectors Spirit.

"The last four times, she's gotten into trouble and I just wanted to get her a good clean trip," said Victory Lap's jockey Jaime Theriot. "At the half-mile pole, I swung her out a little bit and let her do her thing. When I called on her at the quarter pole, she took off. I didn't expect that...but I sure had a lot of horse underneath me."

"I think she's going to go onto bigger and better things," said trainer Cole Norman, who collected his fourth stakes win of the meet. "We showed today that she's got the talent...I expected to get the job done today, but not like this. That was impressive...I'm sure there'll be graded races and more money with her down the road."

The Lone Star Oaks was Victory Lap's fifth win in 12 starts and second stakes victory in a row. The $60,000 winner's share of the purse boosted her bankroll to $150,957.

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