-photo by Jack Coady/Coady Photography
Two Down Automatic Cruises in the $40,000 Conroe Stakes at SHRP

Houston, Texas (December 11, 2004) - Two Down Automatic, who ran second to Smarty Jones last February in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park, put on quite a show in tonight's feature at Sam Houston Race Park, the $40,000 Conroe Stakes. The 3-year-old son of Smoke Glacken is owned by Dapple Stables LLC of Houston and trained by the leading trainer in the nation, Steve Asmussen.

Two Down Automatic came into tonight's stakes off a win in the $53,000 Sunland Fall Derby on November 14. Roman Chapa rode the dark bay gelding to a relatively easy score tonight, covering the six-furlong distance in 1:09.66.

"It was a beautiful trip," commented Chapa. "The horse fits his name, Two Down Automatic. I put him on cruise control and he just took me to the winner's circle."

"He's been a really fun horse to watch," said co-owner Bobby Ralston. "We had the opportunity to run against Smarty Jones at Oaklawn (in the Southwest Stakes on February 28) and got to see all that we wanted of that! Our horse ran the race of his life and if we were going to beat Smarty, that would have been the day we were going to do it. We brought him to Sunland and he ran really well and we're really proud of the way he ran tonight."

Charming Socialite, winner of the $50,000 Spirit of Texas Stakes on November 20 ran second for trainer Bill Pettit, who indicated that his horse would return to Sam Houston Race Park on January 22 to run in the $100,000 MAXXAM Gold Cup.

"My horse ran a good race," commented rider Larry Taylor. "Taking nothing away from the winner, my horse doesn't like to be in tight. He didn't like it down on the inside like that. This horse gets claustrophobic down there. But that's the way the race set up for us."

"My horse really wants more ground," said Ricky Faul, pilot of longshot third place finisher, Governor of Spain. "All of these but the first two are route horses. He really ran hard for me. The winner ran second to Derby winner, he was the class. I think Amos may have been looking for something down the road cause there was nothing for him over at Delta. Getting a piece is better than nothing."

Two Down Automatic, sent off as the even-money favorite, returned $4.00, $2.20 and $2.10 across the board. The 3-2 exacta paid $7.80 and the 3-2-6 trifecta paid $45.20. A R Crackers, Foreign Justice, Oncearoundtwice and Gwathir completed the order of finish. Artemus Sunrise and Dusty Tunnel were early scratches.

News and Notes

In earlier action, two divisions of the $20,000 Lone Star Arabian Futurity were run at Sam Houston Race Park. Delphine, owned by Guy Nevins of London, England and trained by Bobbie McAlister was a dominant winner in the fillies division. Ridden by Daniel Boudreau, the 3-year-old Maryland-bred filly tracked early pacesetter, Queen Kong through the first half-mile before drawing off by 9 ¼ lengths. She crossed the wire of the six-furlong stakes in 1:21.86 and paid $2.60 as the .30-1 post time favorite.

She has now won each of her four career starts and will be pointed to an Arabian stakes at Los Alamitos in California in February.

Th Richie not only won his division this evening, he set a new Arabian track record for the distance of six furlongs. His time of 1:18.13 bested the previous record of 1:18.20 set by Seyvilla Proof on December 6, 1998. Th Richie is owned by Dianne K. Waldron and was ridden to victory tonight by Oliver Castillo.

"He's just a super colt," summed up trainer Phil Saxer.

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