HOWBOUTTHISCOWGIRL AND DIRECT DIAL STEP UP IN THE $65,000 TWO ALTAZANO AND $65,000 JIM'S ORBIT STAKES AT SAM HOUSTON RACE PARK
Bret Calhoun and Steve Asmussen Conditioned the Texas-bred Stars on the Final Night of the 2018 Thoroughbred Season
Two talented Texas-breds reversed their runner-up status from earlier stakes this meet at Sam Houston Race Park, triumphing in convincing fashion. Howboutthiscowgirl won the $55,000 Two Altazano Stakes and Direct Dial was much the best in the $65,000 Jim's Orbit Stakes. The Texas Thoroughbred Association (TTA) renamed the series for accredited Texas-breds to honor the late Clarence Scharbaurer, Jr. who passed away in 2014. In 2005, the Texas Thoroughbred Association renamed both these stakes to honor a famous Texas Thoroughbred. The colts and gelding division at Sam Houston Race Park was named for Jim’s Orbit, who won the Grade 2 Ohio Derby and started in the 1988 Kentucky Derby. The fillies division is a tribute to Two Altazano, winner of the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks in 1994. The accomplished mare, owned by the late Harold V. Goodman, also captured the 1994 Sam Houston Oaks with Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day in the saddle.
Howboutthiscowgirl Defeated Five Fillies in the $65,000 Two Altazano
Douglas Scharbauer’s homebred Howboutthiscowgirl added her second career stakes this evening under Sam Houston Race Park leading rider Lindey Wade.
The filly by Golden Song made her second start of the meet and earned black-type following her close runner-up finish in $50,000 Bara Lass on January 28. She is trained by Bret Calhoun, who won last year’s Two Altazano with Archer City.
Perhaps the sloppy track in January was not to her liking, but the gray filly showed her best on tonight’s fast track, leading gate to wire as the heavy betting favorite. She dueled briefly with Shes Our Fastest before closing gamely to win by 1 ¾ lengths in 1:10.74.
“I talked to Bret about her last race,” said Wade. “She didn’t care for the rail, so when we drew better for this, we knew she would be tough. Heading into the far turn, she switched to her left lead and it was over.”
Shes Our Fastest, owned by Mark Norman and Norman Stables Inc., captured the $50,000 Evangeline Princess on September 2 and ran second to Howboutthiscowgirl once before in the Texas Stallion Stakes last November. The daughter of Oratory is trained by Paul Duhon and ridden by Anardis Rodriguez.
Little Prowless, a filly by Littleexpectations, ran a game third in her stakes debut for Steve Asmussen. She broke her maiden here on February 24 owners Keith Asmussen and Erv Woolsey.
Shes a Texan, Miss Bettylee and Outamoway Girls completed the order of finish.
Howboutthiscowgirl ($2.60) earned $39,000 for the win and improved her career record to four wins from eight starts.
Direct Dial Dominant Winner of the $65,000 Jim’s Orbit
A field of seven colts and geldings entered the starting gate for the $65,000 Jim’s Orbit and Will S. Farish’s homebred Direct Dial was much the best in the six furlong stakes.
Sired by leading Texas stallion Too Much Bling, Direct Dial was the even-money favorite in the Groovy Stakes here in January, was s defeated by Douglas Scharbauer’s homebred Swift Shock who pulled a stunning upset at odds of 44-1. Trainer Steve Asmussen sent the gray colt to Oaklawn Park where he ran third in the $125,000 Gazebo Stakes on February 24. Asmussen said earlier this week that the Jim’s Orbit would be a good spot, his charge did not disappoint. Under jockey Iram Diego, Direct Dial ($3.00) was in command throughout the race, crossing the wire in 1:10.43, winning by a margin of 4 ¼ lengths over Redatory.
“I really can’t explain what happened in the Groovy,” said Diego. “But this is a very nice horse and I am grateful to Steve for the opportunity to ride him and so many other great horses this meet.”
The runner-up is owned and bred by James Wessel and trained by Allen Dupuy. Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez rode the son of Oratory was named Texas Thoroughbred Association (TTA) champion 2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding.
Galactica, co-owned by Carl Moore Management and Brad Grady, ran a solid third under Quincy Hamilton off an extended layoff. His previous race was a victory in the Texas Thoroughbred Association Futurity on July 22 at Lone Star Park. Justas Loud completed the superfecta with Groovy Stakes winner Swift Shock in fifth.
Sam Houston Race Park, Houston’s premier racing and entertainment facility, is located just 15 miles from downtown Houston, and offers a variety of attractions including 16 luxury suites overlooking the race track, The Pavilion Centre, and award-winning dining options at the Winner’s Circle Restaurant and Jockey Club. For more information on upcoming shows, events and tickets, please visit www.shrp.com.
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Photo: Coady Photography