Texans Invade Calder For American Quarter Horse-Thoroughbred Challenge

Sam Houston Race Park stakes winners Streakin MD and Whataluckyboy are two of the four Quarter Horses entered in Saturday's "Quarter Horse-Thoroughbred Challenge" at Calder Race Course in Miami, Florida. The Challenge is one of several sprint races scheduled for the racetrack's July 14, $1-million "Summit of Speed" program. Transportation from Houston to Miami was provided by the Texas Horsemen's Partnership and AQHA, and the owner of each participating horse received $2,500 to cover expenses.

The $25,000-guaranteed race will match four Quarter Horses and four Thoroughbreds at 880 yards. Calder will offer a unique propositional wager, which challenges handicappers to select the breed they think will win. In the interest of fairness, a preliminary post position draw was held to determine which breed got posts 1, 3, 5, and 7. The Thoroughbreds received those post positions, with the Quarter Horses breaking from posts 2, 4, 6, and 8. Calder features a one-mile oval, so the starting gate will be placed fairly close to the turn for the half-mile race.

Both 4-year-old geldings, Streakin MD and Whataluckyboy each won divisions of the 870-yard Woodlands Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park last season. A Rare Form gelding racing for Wind Dancer Ranch of Rosanky, Texas, Whataluckyboy also won the 870-yard Grand Prairie Classic Handicap at Lone Star Park.

Streakin MD, a gelding by the Merridoc stallion Doctor Bright, will enter the Calder race off of a 2 1/2-length victory in an 870-yard allowance race at Retama Park. A full brother to Grade 3 distance winner Doctor Streakin, Streakin MD races for Rick Alongi and Jesse Yoakum.

Lewis Allen's King Rick Rack and Jean Swan's Vigilance are the other two horses prepping for the unique stakes. Third in the June 3 Pauls Valley Handicap (G3) at Remington Park, King Rick Rack has won seven of 19 races, including one of two at 870 yards. Vigilance, a 5-year-old gelding by world champion Special Effort, is a half brother to 1990 Governor's Cup Futurity (RG2) winner Blisterin.

The Thoroughbreds entered in the race are: Diamond Studs, Mister Mean, Actxpress, and the Fred Warren trained entry of Nou Graha and Freire Tail, although only one of his will run.

In post position order, the field consists of:

Breaking from post 1 will be Diamond Studs, a 6-year-old Thoroughbred with nearly $180,000 in career earnings. Although he has just four wins from 29 career starts, Diamond Studs has placed in four stakes races, including the 1998 Bay Shore Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct. His only win in seven outs this year came in a six-furlong, $39,000 allowance race at Gulfstream Park.

Two-time stakes winner Whataluckyboy was assigned post 2. An earner of $28,636 in 11 starts, the 4-year-old gelding won a division of the 870-yard Woodlands Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park last year, as well as the Grand Prairie Classic Handicap at Lone Star Park. In his last outing he finished fifth in the MCI WorldCom East Challenge at Delta Downs.

Mister Mean, fresh off a second-place effort against $32,000 Thoroughbred claimers at Calder, will have post 3. The 3-year-old colt has won two races this year and earned $50,857 in a 16-race career.

Streakin MD, a recent 2 1/2-length winner in an 870-yard allowance race at Retama Park, drew the 4 post. Like Whataluckyboy, Streakin MD won a division of the Woodlands Stakes at Sam Houston last year.

Nou Graha, a winner of four of his last six starts, will come out of the 5 hole. Last time out the 4-year-old colt won a $16,000 claiming race at Calder going five furlongs. He is part of a two-horse entry with Freire Tail, one of which will be scratched.

Vigilance, a consistent performer against $10,000 claimers this year at Remington Park and Ruidoso Downs, drew post 6. Although winless in four starts this year, he has been second or third each time out.

Actxpress will be seeking his second career win from the 7 post position. In three starts this year the Thoroughbred has yet to hit the board.

King Rick Rack, recently third in the 870-yard Paul's Valley Handicap (G3) at Remington, will start from the 8 post. A seven-time winner from 19 career starts, the gelded son of Gone To The Man has earned $33,478.

Freire Tail, winless in 14 starts this year, was assigned post 9 and is part of a two-horse entry with Nou Graha.

The Quarter Horse / Thoroughbred Challenge is race 1 of a 13-race card. Post time is 11:30 a.m. CST. The card will also feature a $100,000 All-Stakes Pick 4 Wager, where a $1 Pick 4 bet offers gamblers a chance at a $100,000-guaranteed Pick 4 pool. Go support our Texas horses at your nearest simulcast outlet.

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