SEVEN SCENTS, GREELEY AND BEN AND BREEZE RIDER NOTCH STAKES VICTORIES ON THE HOUSTON RACING FESTIVAL UNDERCARD
Trainer Karl Broberg Wins the Pulse Power and Stonerside Sprint on Sunday’s Card
HOUSTON, TX- While the Grade 3, $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic and the Grade 3, $200,000 John B. Connally Turf may have attracted the greatest interest from the media and the national racing audience, there were some highly impressive victories in the Houston Racing Festival undercard stakes. Here are the recaps for the $100,000 Pulse Power Turf Sprint, $75,000 Stonerside Sprint and $75,000 Jersey Lilly Turf.
Seven Scents Earns First Stakes Win in the $100,000 Pulse Power Sprint
The $100,000 Pulse Power Turf Sprint started the stakes action with a field of seven sprinters competing in the five-furlong feature on the Connally Turf Course.
Seven Scents rallied to win the first stake of the card for owner Claiming Game Racing and trainer Karl Broberg. The 6-year-old son of Goldencents was claimed two starts back at the Fair Grounds with this race as the target.
"Winning this race was never in doubt," said Broberg. "I knew we had this the day we claimed him!"
Reylu Gutierrez had the call in the Pulse Power Sprint and rode the gelding in his previous start in Louisiana.
"Last time the turf was a little soft at Fair Grounds and I had to get outside," said Gutierrez. "I had to go pretty wide and don't think Karl was too happy about it. Today, I had to save ground from the one hole. Karl did his magic, and he came running! This feels pretty good."
This was the first career stakes win for Seven Scents ($12.20), though he had competed in several stakes and finished seventh in the 2021 edition of the Pulse Power Sprint. In 36 career starts, he has six wins and six second place finishes with $276,264 in earnings to date. Seven Scents was bred by FPF LLC in Kentucky, out of the Broken Vow mare Forever Vow.
Post-time favorite Bad Beat Brian made his patented closing move but came up short to finish in second place for trainer Mike Maker and jockey Tyler Gaffalione. Trainer Clinton Stuart finished third with Tut’s Revenge, a 6-year-old son of Eskendereya ridden by Ry Eikleberry. Archidust, Grinning Tiger, Americanus and Sarcastic Tone completed the field.
The final time for the five furlong turf sprint was 56.86 seconds.
Greeley and Ben Continued to Impress in the $75,000 Stonerside Sprint
Trainer Karl Broberg enjoyed a second stakes win on the card as Greeley and Ben was victorious in the $75,000 Stonerside Sprint Stakes. At odds of 7-2, Greeley and Ben stayed near the lead and won by three-quarters of a length over 2020 Stonerside Sprint Champion Mr. Money Bags. The final time for the six-furlong dirt sprint was 1:09.42.
Owned by End Zone Athletics, the 8-year-old gelding enjoyed a remarkable run in 2021, racking up 11 wins in 15 starts, including a nine-race win streak that spanned three tracks: Oaklawn, Prairie Meadows, and Remington Park. He was honored as the 2021 Remington Park Horse of the Meet.
Winning rider Ry Eikleberry is the current leader in the Sam Houston Race Park jockey standings and shared his comments on the effort of Greeley and Ben following the race.
“He left a little bit slow, so I had to hustle him to get into the race,” he explained. “At that point, I just felt that I couldn’t take back, so went on with it. He’s just a super awesome horse and to run 1.09 consistently is amazing. I came to Houston last year to ride for Mr. Broberg. A lot of riders shipped in today and he could have made a change, but he stuck with me, and I appreciate it!”
Greeley and Ben was bred in Kentucky by the Millard R. Seldin Trust, by Greeley’s Conquest and out of Traci’s Wild, by Langfuhr. To date in his career, he has earned $571,998 in 29 starts with an impressive 18 wins. He is undefeated in two starts in 2022.
The 2020 champion of the Stonerside Sprint, Mr. Money Bags, finished second for trainer Jaylan Clary and owner Erma Cobb. Ernesto Valdez-Jimenez had the call on the 6-year-old gelding, who was bred in Texas by Roy Cobb. Since his Stonerside victory, Mr. Money Bags has finished in the money in multiple stakes and won the Zia Park Sprint Stakes in his most recent start prior to returning to Sam Houston.
“He ran an awesome race,” said Clary. “He’ll be back for one of the Texas-bred stakes this meet.”
Top Gunner, ridden by Reylu Gutierrez, finished third in his first career stakes effort for trainer John Ortiz and owner 4 G Racing LLC. Post-time favorite and Mike Maker trainee Kneedeepinsnow finished fourth, followed by Bybee, Direct Dial, Red N Wild, County Finaland Give It Everything.
Formerly named the Sam Houston Sprint Cup, the stake was renamed in 2019 to honor the late Robert C. McNair and his Stonerside Stable. The well-respected Thoroughbred operation, in central Kentucky, produced national and international racing stars, including Congaree, Bob and John, Tout Charmont and Chilukki. McNair sold Stonerside Stable to Darley in 2008 to devote his full attention to his Houston Texans NFL team and numerous philanthropic causes.
Breeze Rider Wire-to-Wire Winner of the $75,000 Jersey Lilly Stakes
In the final stake of the evening, Breeze Rider, with E.T. Baird in the irons, broke alertly and never looked back to win the $75,000 Jersey Lilly Stakes in gate-to-wire fashion in a field of 12 fillies and mares.
The Jersey Lilly was the third career stakes win for the 4-5 post-time favorite Breeze Rider, a 5-year-old mare by Paynter. She is trained by Steve Manley for owner Mike Piazza of Houston.
Manley is based in Illinois and had never run in Texas but shipped the bay mare to Sam Houston based on the reputation of the Connally Turf Course. He was pleased with his first victory in the Lone Star State.
“I heard it was the best turf course anywhere,” said Manley. “Now, I believe it! She’s a very nice mare and E.T. rides her better than anybody.”
“She ran a good race (on the dirt) at Oaklawn, but breaking from the two-hole today, I wanted her to come out of the gate running and take it from there,” added Baird. “When I called on her, she gave me two different kicks; makes my job easy.”
Breeze Rider first joined stakes competition in summer of 2021 and is now a multiple stakes winner with earnings of $397,728. She won a pair of stakes last winter: the Joseph R. Peluso Memorial at Fair Grounds and the Mr Charmer Stakes at Turfway. In 26 starts, she has 12 wins and finished in the money in nine of her 12 starts last year.
Patrick Durtschi and Brittney Durtschi bred the mare in Kentucky, out of the multiple stakes winning mare Dancing Raven, by Tomahawk.
Piazza brought a sizeable group of family and friends to Sam Houston to see Breeze Rider run.
“My whole family lives in Houston, so I asked my trainer to send her here, and to please bring E.T. Baird to ride,” explained the proud owner. “It was a very competitive race and was a great pleasure to see her win!”
Quinn Ella shook up the toteboard in second place at 23-1. The 5-year-old mare made just her second career stakes start on Sunday, for which she prepped by winning an allowance optional claiming race at Sam Houston earlier this month. Ernesto Valdez-Jimenez was aboard for trainer Ronnie Cravens, III and owner L & G Racing Stable. She was bred in British Columbia by Bradley Auger and Ron Bacon, by Stephanotis and out of the Sharp Humor mare Anna Bird Rulez.
Joel Rosario rode Arm Candy to a third-place finish for Steve Asmussen and owners Bradley Thoroughbreds, Tim Cambron, Anna Cambron and Kurz Equine Investments. The 4-year-old filly is a daughter of Twirling Candy, out of Chilly Fashion, by Artie Schiller.
Completing the field were Catch a Bid, Barista, Brandons Babe, Valentines Day, Lavender, Maid of Honor, Lady Gwen, Shirley’s Temple and She’sskysthelimit. The final time for the one and one-sixteenth mile turf race was 1:44.84.
About Sam Houston Race Park
Sam Houston Race Park is Houston’s premier racing and entertainment facility, located just 15 miles from downtown Houston. Owned by Penn National Gaming. Inc., the racetrack, which opened in 1994, offers a variety of attractions including a Suite Level featuring luxurious suites overlooking the racetrack, The Pavilion Centre, and award-winning dining options at the Winner’s Circle Restaurant and the Jockey Club. For more information on upcoming live racing, shows, events and tickets, please visit www.shrp.com.
Photo credits: Coady Photography