Sam Houston Race Park saluted accredited Texas-breds Saturday night with four Texas Champions stakes. Heavy rain earlier in the day forced the two turf stakes onto the main track, but a good crowd was on hand to see a quartet of talented runners put on a very entertaining show in the $50,000 Richard King takes, $50,000 Yellow Rose, $50,000 Spirit of Texas Stakes and $50,000 San Jacinto Stakes.
Mav Master Rallies For the Win in the $50,000 Richard King Stakes
For the second year in a row, the $50,000 Richard King Stakes, for 4-year-olds and upward, came off the turf, but the change in track condition made no difference to Mav Master, bred and owned by Hal Browning and trained by Kari Craddock.
The 5-year-old son of Mizzen Mast out of the stakes winning mare Annie Savoy was the runner-up last year in the Richard King. Jockey Lindey Wade had the return call and rallied gamely past the pacesetter P Millers Clock to win by a margin of a neck.
“I rode him for Kari at Remington Park and felt he would run well tonight,” said Wade. “We had a good trip and he put it all together.”
Mav Master covered the mile and one-eighth over a sloppy track in 1:54.44 with Special Praise under Ernesto Valdez Jiminez finishing second over P Millers Clock. Tap That Word completed the superfecta.
Sent off as the second choice in the wagering, Mav Master paid $7.40 for the win, which was his fourth in 23 starts. With the winner’s share of $30,000, Mav Master’s lifetime earnings increased to $128,655.
Defending Champion Zippit E Repeats in the $50,000 Yellow Rose Stakes
Seven fillies and mares were featured in the six-furlong $50,000 Yellow Rose Stakes and 2017 winner Zippit E notched her third career stakes win. Bred and owned by Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch, the daughter of My Golden Song is trained by Bret Calhoun.
Calhoun also entered Douglas Scharbauer’s homebred Archer City, who won the $65,000 Two Altazano division of the Texas Stallion Stakes last meet. She finished third under Iram Diego.
“Zippit E ran a great race,” said Calhoun, from his base in New Orleans. “Lindey got her on a better part of the track and she finished well. Archer City did not get as clean of a trip, but I was pleased that she ran third.”
Prada’s Bling, with Efigenio Ruiz in the saddle, was forwardly placed throughout the race and held for second.
Zippit E ($7.00), who was just named 2017 Texas Champion Older Filly/Mare, completed six furlongs in 1:12.27, improving her career record to six wins from 13 starts.
Imma Bling Blazed to Victory in the $50,000 Spirit of Texas
The most dominant performance of the evening was delivered by Flurry Racing Stables’ Imma Bling in the $50,000 Spirit of Texas. She was cross-entered in tomorrow’s $75,000 Frontier Utilities Turf Sprint, but owner Staton Flurry chose wisely. With Quincy Hamilton in the irons, the 5-year-old daughter of Too Much Bling took the lead at the top of the stretch and drew off by 11 lengths. His final time of 1:10.26 was the fastest on the nine-race card.
Flurry claimed Imma Bling for $25,000, and won the $75,000 Bonapaw Stakes at Fair Grounds last month. He is trained by Karl Broberg.
“We knew how well this horse was training and can’t say enough about (assistant trainer) Kevin Martin and the crew back at Oaklawn. We’ll look for another spot for him back there.”
Joe Bravo was named on Imma Bling, but could not make the trip to Houston. Hamilton, who has won the leading rider title at Sam Houston in three previous seasons, was happy to fill in.
Longshot WittsdollarNight finished second, followed by Reflector and Rumpole, who won two stakes last year at Sam Houston Race Park.
Imma Bling, sent off at odds of 3-1, paid $8.20 for the win. This was his eighth career victory and his lifetime earners now stand at $207,797.
Witt’s Town Closes Out the Card in the $50,000 San Jacinto Stakes
In the final stakes of the evening, a full field of fillies and mares, shifted from the Connally Turf Course to the main track for the $50,000 San Jacinto Stakes.
The winner was the Henry Witt bred and owned Witt’s Town, a-4-year-old filly by Drums of Thunder. She had won four of her eight turf starts and placed fourth in the Fiesta Mile at Retama Park. Despite being pinched back at the start, jockey Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez ably guided her through the field and drew off by a margin of 3 ¼ lengths. She completed the mile and one-sixteenth feature, over a sloppy track, in 1:47.89.
Witt, who also bred and owns Witt Six, winner of the 2017 Star of Texas, was on hand to accept the trophy.
“She comes from way off the pace,” he explained. “Sometimes she’s so far back you can’t even spot her, but it’s fun to watch her finish.”
This was the seventh career win for Witt’s Town, who rewarded her supporters with a win payout of $5.20. Sexy Dance ran second, with Dagny third and Shezadoll completing the superfecta.
(from Sam Houston Race Park news release)