Sam Houston Derby

Sam Houston Derby

Favored Fear The Dragon earns his first stakes win.

Fear The Dragon. Coady Photography

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Jose J. Espinoza's Fear The Dragon, the fastest qualifier and 7-10 favorite, earned his first stakes victory in Saturday's $332,900 Sam Houston Derby G2 at Sam Houston Race Park.

RIdden by Rodrigo Vallejo for trainer Adrian Huitron, Fear The Dragon covered 350 yards in :17.745 while defeating 13-1 longshot Jess A Dashin Angela by a neck. The gelded son of Favorite Cartel banked $133,160 from his fifth win in 11 starts.

Fear The Dragon has won two of his three outs this season, including the sixth of 10 Sam Houston Derby trials on April 24. The gelding was bred in California by Rafter W Stables, and he was purchased by Espinoza, a resident of Georgetown, Texas, for $37,000 at the 2019 Heritage Place Yearling Sale.

Raced in three states, including Oklahoma and Louisiana, Fear The Dragon has earned $223,824. He was a finalist in three graded futurities last year and ran second in the 350-yard Speedhorse Futurity (G3) at Fair Meadows at Tulsa.

"We wanted to bring him back to Texas, which is home," said Espinoza.

Gianniy ran third and was followed by Tall Timbers, Blame The Fed, Special Mariposa, FM Steel Rock, Jesslightninglegs, and OJD Chavela J. Second-fastest qualifier San Lorenzo was scratched, as the Coronas Leaving You colt exhibited distress at the track Friday morning and was vanned out of the stable area for medical attention. Owner Rogelio Marquez Jr. reported that he was resting comfortably on his farm in Rosenberg, Texas, and had not required surgery.

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