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May 11, 2013


The 870-yard Governors' Cup Marathon brought a competitive battle of several proven distance specialists and a rising star, who won his stakes debut in fine fashion.

The winner was Wahoo is a son of Feature Mr Jess owned and bred by Bobby D. Cox.  As a 2-year-old, the sorrel gelding ran in futurity trials at Ruidoso Downs, and finished eighth in trials for the Texas Classic Derby at Lone Star Park last October.

Last month, trainer John Buchanan decided to try him around the “hook” and Wahoo responded with an eight-length romp. Buchanan made the decision to ship him to Sam Houston Race Park for the 870-yard Governors’ Cup Marathon. On April 20, jockey Russel Hadley had the riding assignment, but he had mounts in Oklahoma City, so the Buchanans secured the services of Jerry Lee Yoakum.  The two men are friends and talked about Wahoo’s running style.

“I talked to Russel today and he told me the horse does everything perfectly,”   said Yoakum.  “He didn’t tell me he would jump the shadows on the racetrack, but other than that, he did everything like Russel said he would.”

Wahoo, who broke from the rail, crossed the wire in :46.448, over three-lengths ahead of Dashers Midnight.

Amanda Buchanan saddled the sorrel gelding for her father and shared that her dad always suspected Wahoo had the potential to be a stellar distance runner.

“When he was just a 2-year-old my dad said ‘this is going to be my 870 horse; I haven’t had one in a long time, but this one will be it,” said Amanda Buchanan.  “He’s quick; he ran third to Ochoa as 2-year-old. We’re just really proud of him.”

The entire family felt Wahoo would give a good account of himself in his distance debut, but had no idea he would do it in such a commanding fashion.

“We expected him to run well, but were a little dumbstruck when he drew off the way he did,” she added.

Wahoo paid $3.20 for the win. Dashers Midnight, runner-up in the Red Cell Texas Distance Challenge on April 13, rallied for second under Damien Martinez and Bok Man ran third. Kite Flyer, winner of the Red Cell Texas Distance Challenge was fourth, followed by Corona La Jolla.

El Intruso Scores in the $17,605 Colors of Houston Paint Futurity (G2)
El Intruso was much the best in the $17,605 Colors of Houston Paint Futurity (G2) defeating seven rivals in the 300 yard dash.

“Having the experience of his last start helped him,” said Muniz.  “I felt he ran even better tonight.”

Jockey Mario Trujillo guided the son of Intrinsic Dream to victory, covering 300 yards, over a fast track, in :15.871 seconds.

Sent off as the even-money betting choice, El Intruso paid $4.40 for the win.  Savvy Max was second and Eyesaspecial Hero completed the trifecta.

Strangers Game Impressive in the $18,100 Colors of Texas Paint Maturity (G2)
A full field of 11 Paints went postward in the $18,100 Colors of Texas Paint Maturity (G2) and Strangers Game emerged victorious. 

Bred in Texas by Merle Rutherford Fulton, the son of Judys Lineage won his prep for this stakes on April 25. Rider Luis Vivanco had the return call, and rallied gamely to win the 350-yard stakes in :17.931.  Trainer Mike Robbins saddled Strangers Game, who ran as a coupled entry with Brief Encounter.

“He ran a good race,” said Robbins. “I had my eye on the filly, but he was real game.”

Strangers Game ($4.20) improved his career record to two wins from eight starts. Zoomin Moon was second and defending champion, General Gordiz ran third.

Special Sunday Mother's Day Live Race Program Set for May 12 at Sam Houston Race Park  
Racing fans are invited to enjoy a special Sunday racing program in honor of Mother's Day on May 12.  First post is 1:00 p.m. with a sumptuous Mother's Day Brunch offered in the Winner's Circle Restaurant.

Live racing will continue on Thursday, May 16 for the final three days of the 2013 American Quarter Horse meeting, and the simulcast of the 138th Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 18.

Sam Houston Race Park is Houston’s premier racing and entertainment facility, located just 15 minutes from downtown Houston, and offers a variety of attractions including 16 recently renovated luxury suites overlooking the race track, The Pavilion Centre, and award-winning dining options at the Winner’s Circle Restaurant and the Champion Energy Services Jockey Club. For more information on upcoming shows, events and tickets, please visit

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