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Cat Five Storm, a 4-year-old Louisiana-bred mare, was a resolute winner in tonight’s feature at Sam Houston Race Park, the $23,895 Red Cell Texas Distance Challenge.

Owned and trained by Oscar L. Lopez, the daughter of Panther Mountain was making her 17th career start and her seventh at the distance of 870 yards. She drew the rail post position and withstood some bumping before she took command under rider Saul Ramirez, Jr.  After the traffic on the turn, she exploded down the lane, drawing off by five lengths in a final time of :46.065.

“That’s the way she usually runs,” said Lopez. “She gives you a little scare and you say oh my gosh, she’s falling behind, but she always comes on in the end.”

Lopez claimed Cat Five Storm for $5,000 as a 2-year-old and was very pleased with tonight’s effort, her third win in 2011.

“We have been very patient with her, “said Lopez. “She had a year off while we took care of a chip and I give a lot of credit to Winning Sound Equine Spa at Delta Downs. Those ladies have been wonderful and the equipment made all the difference in her coming back so sound.”

Lopez will try his mare at the distance of 550 yards in a stakes at Delta Downs, before setting his sights on the Red Cell Distance Challenge Championships at  Los Alamitos on October 29.

“If she tells me she is ready, we will go out there,” said Lopez. “It all depends on her.”

Cat Five Storm, was sent off as the post-time favorite and paid $2.60 for the win. Leading Sam Houston trainer Judd Kearl sent out Feature Showtime, who made his debut at this distance and ran a game effort under David AlvarezBlue Ribbon Dash, the 10-year-old owned and bred in Texas by Donna Mushinski and trained by her husband, Kie, ran third. He won the 2009 edition of the Red Cell Texas Challenge and represented the region in the Red Cell Distance Challenge Championship at Los Alamitos.  Kite Flyer, Bugs Main Feature, Leading Snowman and Zoomin N Cashin completed the order of finish.

The 2011 American Quarter Horse continues through Sunday, May 15th with races every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For the full calendar of Sam Houston Race Park’s 2011 live race dates, visit 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 19 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. Sam Houston Race Park Platinum Partners include Bud Light, Verizon Wireless and Champion Energy Services. For more information on upcoming shows, events and tickets, please visit

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