|Longhsots Light Up the SHRP Toteboard in the Texas Summer Showdown
Sam Houston Race Park hosted one of the most exciting nights of the 2002 American Quarter Horse meeting, the 2002 Texas Summer Showdown, on Saturday, July 27. The ten-race card featured five stakes races for accredited Texas-breds and purses in excess of $177,000. The races each had full fields and longshots ruled, providing for some colossal payouts on the majority of the stakes races.
The $20,160 MCI Texas Challenge featured eight American Quarter Horse distance specialists. The winner, in a riveting stretch duel, was Wasting No Cash ($17.40) for owners Jerry Ann & Bob Gaston. The 4-year-old son of Takin On The Cash drew the rail and used that favorable inside post to hold off fastest qualifier Tiny Chris La Jolla, who had to overcome breaking from the eight hole. Wasting No Cash is trained by Toby Keeton and ridden by Gilbert Ortiz, who won this race last year aboard Drip Dry Dash.
"He ran a superior race," said Ortiz. "It helped that we drew an inside post because it takes an exceptional horse to win from the outside. I have ridden him 3 or 4 times. He is a maturing horse and just seems to be getting better."
Keeton returned to the winner's circle in the next race, capturing the $22,200 Ariat Starter Stakes with NN Pilgrim ($55.80) for owner J. Nub Neighbors of Denton, Texas.
Neighbors is a veterinarian, whose practice consists mostly of dogs and cats, but he has been involved in the Quarter Horse business for many years. He bred NN Pilgrim and was very proud to see the 5-year-old gelding pick up his first stakes win. Jockey Nicky Wilson had the mount.
"This is a nice horse," noted Keeton. "He ran the other day and he fell leaving (the gate) and just did not run a good race. He has always run good for me."
The $45,500-added Barnmaster Sprint Stakes (RG3) at 250 yards, drew a field of eleven. The winner was Smashed O Toole ($32.40) owned by Geral Dewitt and trained by his son, Anthony Arey. Regular rider James Bo White guided the 3-year-old son of Jody O Toole to his third victory this year. Smashed O Toole has been running well in starter allowances, so Arey and Dewitt felt he deserved a shot at stakes company.
"He is a game horse," said White. "He left running and ran as hard as he can. I am just glad he was not going another jump further. Every time he gets in the gate he tries his best. He tries so hard and is fun to ride."
The $45,500 Sundowner Trailer Stakes (RG3), a 550-yard contest, produced yet another longshot that lit up the toteboard. The winner was The Rolls Overture ($55.00), owned by Betty & Bob Moore and trained by their son, Robert L. "Bobby" Moore. Juan Vazquez was in the irons for the driving finish, giving the 5-year-old gelding the first stakes win of his career.
"We knew the horse could run when he ran third to Streakin Romance," said Moore. " We knew the horse has some talent and then he went 5 wide going 770 yards so we put him in the starters and he won 2 of them. That kind of built his heart up and he showed it tonight."
The $45,000 Classic Chevrolet Stakes (G3) drew nine starters competing at a distance of 400 yards. The winner was Rare Fasteroid ($21.00), owned and trained by Michael Zingelmann. The 4-year-old son of Rare Form was an impressive winner on June 4 at Sam Houston Race Park, and was ridden tonight by Alfonso Lujan.
"I'm real proud of him," commented Zingelmann. "He's steadily improved. We got him in the beginning of this year and we have been playing with him a little bit just to find the right distance. I think we found it last time and we repeated it today and we beat a pretty good field of horses today."
The Texas Summer Showdown at Sam Houston Race Park began with the 2002 TQHA Yearling Sale, which attracted a record number of horses and buyers. The sale was held inside the air-conditioned Pavilion Centre with a record 247 yearlings passing through the sales ring. Officials at the Texas Quarter Horse Racing Association reported that total sales exceeded $2.2 million, compared to $1.9 million in the 2001 TQHA Yearling Sale.
News and Notes
The evening began with two trial races for the $35,000-added Bayer Legend Texas Challenge and Pretty Boy Perry ($4.20) did not disappoint as the favorite, winning his heat and turning in the fastest time of all 20 qualifiers. Owned by Hitchin Post Farm and trained by Guy Hopkins, the 3-year-old colt crossed the wire in a time of :20.217 with regular rider Ignacio Bustamante up. Zookie Street, ($3.40) trained by Heath Taylor for Michael D. Taylor, also was impressive; winning his trial in a time of :20.306 with Gilbert Ortiz in the irons.
The finals for the Bayer Legend Texas Challenge will be run on Sunday, August 11 at Sam Houston Race Park. The winner will receive a berth to the Bayer Legend Challenge Championship at Lone Star Park on November 2.