As the only previous stakes winner in the field, William Stiritz’s Proceed Bee is the obvious choice in the Jan. 28 John B. Connally Turf Cup Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Sam Houston Race Park. But he will face competition from several other promising horses, such as stakes-placed runners Ioya Bigtime and Col. Wright, who also look to be on top of their game.
The $200,000 Connally Turf Cup for 4-year-olds and up will be contested at 1 1/8 miles and has an approximate post time of 10:02 p.m. CST.
Not only is Proceed Bee the sole stakes winner in the Connally Turf Cup, the 6-year-old gelding by Bernstein—Procession, by Private Terms has prevailed in a total of seven black-type contests, the most notable of which was the 2009 Hawthorne Derby (gr. IIIT).
A $40,000 Keeneland September yearling sale purchase, Proceed Bee was bred in Kentucky by Hunter Valley Farm, H & W Thoroughbreds, and Mary Wade. Trained by Scott Becker, the versatile gelding’s 12 victories from 28 career starts have come on dirt, synthetic surfaces, and turf.
In his most recent start, Proceed Bee rallied from sixth to capture the Prairie Bayou Stakes at Prairie Meadows. Jockey Chris Emigh, who has been aboard for the majority of Proceed Bee’s starts, will ride. The pair will break from post 6.
Looking to defeat Proceed Bee in the seven-horse Connally Turf Cup field is Team Block’s Illinois homebred Ioya Bigtime. The 5-year-old son of Dynaformer just missed in his stakes debut when he came from behind to finish second by four lengths in the Fayette Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland in late October.
Trained by Chris Block, Ioya Bigtime is also a well-rounded runner, as he broke his maiden on turf at Arlington Park in 2010. In all, he holds a record of 4-1-3 from nine starts, for earnings of $136,859. Ioya Bigtime will be ridden by Robby Albarado in the Connally Turf Cup, and will break from the outside post.
Also looking to pose a threat is Col. Wright, who posted a bullet work at Sam Houston Jan. 20 when he covered four furlongs in :48 4/5. Trained by Ralph Arnold for Kathy Stephens and Frank Nieschwietz, Col. Wright is looking for a victorious return to racing after being on the shelf since May.
The 4-year-old son of Officer, who ran second in the 2010 El Joven Stakes at Retama Park, owns a record of 2-2-1 from 10 starts, for earnings of $50,084. Larry Taylor has the mount on Col. Wright, who will break from post 4.
Rounding out the field are Little Wagon, an earner of more than $250,000 and the only horse in the field to have previously raced at Sam Houston, as well as stakes-placed runners And Music Came, Dakota Gypsy, and Papaw Bodie, who is seeking his fourth consecutive victory.
$200,000 Connally Turf Cup Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 8, 10:02 p.m), 4 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. And Music Came (KY) W L Lozano, Jr. 118 B Chatters
2. Papaw Bodie (KY), R Napravnik, 118, M J Maker
3. Dakota Gypsy (KY), C Landeros, 118, K Craddock
4. Col. Wright (KY), L Taylor, 118, R E Arnold, Jr.
5. Little Wagon (KY), B J Walker Jr., 118, R Oberlander
6. Proceed Bee (KY), C A Emigh, 123, S Becker
7. Ioya Bigtime (IL), R Albarado, 118, N L Pessin