Texas Summer Showdown

Texas Summer Showdown

Five official state-bred Quarter Horse stakes were contested Friday at Sam Houston Race Park.

Won Famous Dash. PHOTO: Coady Photography

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Five stakes restricted to Texas-bred Quarter Horses were run at Sam Houston Race Park on Friday.

The track reported total handle of $618,458 on the 11-race program, of which $75,521 was wagered on track and $542,937 was bet off track. Following is a recap of all five stakes.

TQHA Classic Stakes (RG2)
Won Famous Dash, a homebred 3-year-old son of the Apollo (TB) stallion Giorgino, outran his 10-1 odds to win Friday's $63,500 TQHA Classic Stakes (RG2).

Racing for Scarlett Hill Farm Inc. of Weatherford, Texas, Won Famous Dash covered 400 yards in :19.719 while earning a 111 speed index, and his margin of victory was a clear 2 1/2 lengths from 11-1 longshot and stablemate Carry The Memories. Bryan Candanosa rode the sorrel gelding for trainer Rolando Almanza.

"He ran phenomenal," said Candanosa. "Two-hundred yards down the track, he just kicked it into another gear."

Won Famous Dash was coming off of a sixth-place finish in a 400-yard Retama Park Derby trial on July 8.  Almanza also saddled runner-up Carry The Memories for Scarlett Hill Farm.

"To be honest, I didn't think he would run this fast," said Almanza of Won Famous Dash. "Our choice was Carry The Memories, that's why (jockey) Ricardo Garza-Cruz picked him to ride. I was just really happy that we were able to run one-two."

Won Famous Dash has won three of 11 races, and the $38,100 winner's share of the purse from his first stakes win pushed his earnings to $80,451, of which $61,513 has been banked this year.

L Capone finished third and was followed by Beduino La Jolla, Air To Em Jess, even-money favorite Kiss My Annee GL, and Doz Coronas.

Benny Pennington Memorial Stakes (R)
Heavy favorite Viva Le Don dueled with longshot The Kings Horse down the stretch and held on to defeat that rival and win Friday's 870-yard, $63,750 Benny Pennington Memorial Stakes (R).

Ridden by Josh Romero for owner Rockin J Running Horses and breaking from post 6, Viva Le Don defeated The Kings Horse by a neck in :46.116. Tammy Johnson prepped the 5-year-old Rock Solid Jess gelding, who returned a $2.10 win mutuel and earned the $38,250 winner's share of the purse from his fourth stakes win of the season.

"We're just so fortunate to have this horse, and we never take it for granted," said Johnson, along with Jack Manning also bred Viva Le Don. "As far as breaking from the (6) hole, you always want to draw inside -- maybe not the rail, but the two, three, four or five. But he's fixing to meet some tougher company ahead, and he needed this test."

Campaigned in three states, including Oklahoma and New Mexico, Viva Le Don has won 10 of 29 starts --including eight stakes -- and he has banked $480,056. Four of his stakes victories have come at the 870-yard distance and include the April 25 AQHA Remington Park Distance Challenge (G2).

Johnson said that Viva Le Don would likely make his next start in the AQHA Will Rogers Downs Distance Challenge this fall before traveling to New Mexico to race in the Grade 1, $100,000 AQHA Distance Challenge Championship at The Downs at Albuquerque.

Jack Ketel, Love Ta Zoom, KW Cowboy, What Huh, and Show Time completed the order of finish.

TQHA 550 Stakes (RG3)
Jessica Remington's Ten Sent was a prompt 19-10 favorite in Friday's $53,500 TQHA 550 Stakes (RG3).

Saddled by Ty Remington, Ten Sent covered 550 yards in :27.702, and his margin of victory was a neck from 2-1 second choice Dak. Cordarelton Benn rode the 4-year-old gray son of champion Country Chicks Man.

Ten Sent was coming off of a second-place finish in the July 2, 550-yard Tower of the Americas Stakes. The gelding was bred by Bullard Farms.

"I've been so used to him being the bridesmaid and not the bride, so this was very special," said Jessica Remington. "A big thanks to Dr. (Tommy) Bullard and his wife, Joanna. I've always admired their breeding program.

"What a horse to own," she added. "He takes you on a ride every time."

Ten Sent has won three of 23 starts, and the $32,100 winner's share of the purse from his first stakes victory increased his earnings to $100,628.

Eye Am Tuff finished third, 1 3/4 lengths behind Ten Sent. Ghost Bear, Steves Klassy Jess, Rivers Run Fast, and One Zippin Diamond completed the order of finish.

Miss Retama Stakes (R)
The photo finish camera couldn't separate Silk And Stilettos and Jess Eleven Or Seven at the wire, as the two rivals finished in a dead heat for the win in Friday's 350-yard, $54,500 Miss Retama Stakes (R) for state-bred distaffers.

Both Silk And Stilettos and Jess Eleven Or Seven reached the wire in :17.729. Raul Ramirez Jr. rode Silk And Stilettos for owner Fulton Quien Sabe Ranches LP and trainer Trey Wood, while Ricardo Garza-Cruz piloted Jess Eleven Or Seven for owners Chad and Esmeralda Peck and trainer Rolando Almanza.

A homebred 4-year-old daughter of Favorite Cartel, Silk And Stilettos was winning for the third time in 13 starts in three states, including New Mexico and California. The mare has earned $81,633, and she was a finalist in last year's Grade 1, 440-yard Texas Classic Derby at Lone Star Park.

"I was really impressed with the way she finished," said Paul Leal, assistant to Trey Wood, of Silk And Stilettos. "She didn't break all that well, but she ran down the track."

Jess Eleven Or Seven is a homebred 5-year-old daughter of champion Jess Louisiana Blue. The mare has won three of 17 races and has banked $80,619. She was stretching out in distance off of a second-place finish in the June 12, 250-yard Sam Houston 250 Stakes.

"She's a real honest filly," said Almanza of Jess Eleven Or Seven. "We finally got it figured out, and we look forward to running her in some filly and mare stakes for Texas-breds (at Lone Star Park)."

Odds-on favorite SS Classyjess ran third, a neck behind the winners, and was followed by Greysland, Leading Senorita, My Rockin Memories, Mia Favorita, and First Lady TLC.

TQHA 250 Stakes (R)
A sharp break from post 9 helped Cesar Rosales' Jess A Dashin Angela score a three-quarter length victory in Friday's $55,000 TQHA 250 Stakes (R).

Saddled by Rolando Almanza, Jess A Dashin Angela covered 250 yards in :13.081 and posted a 110 speed index under jockey Ricardo Garza-Cruz. The homebred 3-year-old Dash Master Jess filly pocketed $33,000 from her first career stakes win.

Jess A Dashin Angela was coming off of a second-place finish in a 400-yard Retama Park Derby trial on July 8. Earlier this season, she ran third in the May 14 Sam Houston Derby (G3), and second in the June 12 Miss Sam Houston Stakes.

Raced exclusively in Texas, Jess A Dashin Angela has won three of 10 outs and has earned $145,760, of which $126,280 has been banked this year.

Pa Cha Ching finished second and was followed by Chief Lark, Nikola, Easy Blinkers, All About The Kiss, Dash N Leader, I Got Daddys Eyes, Alamitos Dreams, and Zef Garcia Seis.

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