Team Block's Fort Prado is the 3-1 morning line favorite in Saturday's $200,000 Connally Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IIIT), which will be the first graded stakes race at Sam Houston Park since it opened in 1994.
The Connally, at 1 1/8 miles on the grass, drew a full field of 12.
Fort Prado, the 5-year-old son of El Prado
, won the 1 1/16-mile Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Louisiana Downs on Jan. 21 and followed that up with a victory in the $125,000 Tampa Breeders' Cup on Feb. 25. Trained by Jeff Trosclair for Patricia, David and Ryan Block, Fort Prado, will be ridden by Robby Albarado, who rode Rod and Staff to victory in the 2000 Connally Breeders' Cup Turf.
"Hopefully there will be some pace in the race and he can just run them down in the lane," said Trosclair from his base in Louisiana.
Defending champion Rapid Proof, who drew the 11 post for trainer Hal Wiggins and breeder/ owner Dolphus Morrison, could help make that pace. The 6-year-old son of Fast Play won the biggest race of his career in 2005 when he captured the $500,000 Mervin H. Muniz Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) at nine furlongs (later disqualified for a positive test for dexamethasone by the the Louisiana State Racing Commission). He followed that victory with his win in the 2005 Connally. Trained by Hal Wiggins, Rapid Proof will be ridden on Saturday by Brian Hernandez, Jr., who was aboard Rapid Proof on March 17 in a turf allowance prep, his first race since November. He ran second in that race to Seainsky, who will also compete in the Connally Breeders' Cup Turf for trainer Danny Pish.
Onthedeanslist is another top contender. The 7-year-old Kentucky-bred is trained by Ralph Nicks for Team Valor Stables and defeated Fort Prado in the $75,000 Colonel Bradley last December. He will make his first start in four months.$200,000 John B. Connally Breeders' Cup Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 7, 9:36 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, ML Odds
1. Waupaca (KY), Elvis J. Perrodin, 115, 6/1
2. Doctor Doctor Mrmd (TX), Filemon T. Rodriguez, 109, 30/1
3. Dontbotherknocking (KY), Quincy Hamilton, 115, 8/1
4. Prince T. (LA), Bobby J. Walker, Jr., 113, 8/1
5. Twilight Vision (TX), Glen Murphy, 113, 15/1
6. Fort Prado (IL), Robby Albarado, 120, 3/1
7. Seainsky (KY), Justin Shepherd, 112, 15/1
8. Toratora (KY), Amanda L. Crandall, 109, 30/1
9. A R Crackers (KY), Omar Rodriguez, 112, 20/1
10. Dynareign (KY), John Byrne, 113, 12/1
11. Rapid Proof (KY), Brian J. Hernandez, Jr., 117, 5/1
12. Onthedeanslist (KY), Corey J. Lanerie, 116, 9/2