Native Annie, There Goes Rocket Win Texas Stakes

(from Sam Houston report)
Robert McNair's Native Annie and Frank Fletcher's There Goes Rocket won divisions of the $125,000 Texas Stallion Stakes for 2-year-olds to close out the 2003 season at Sam Houston Race Park.

The series is underwritten by the Texas Thoroughbred Association and was designed as an incentive for offspring of Texas-based stallions.

In the filly division, Native Annie scored an impressive win for the home team Stonerside Stable. Ridden by Curt Bourque, Native Annie was making just the second start of her career and covered the one-mile distance in a time of 1:40.70. She broke her maiden at Sam Houston Race Park on Nov. 19 and trainer Michael Stidham had enough faith to enter her in stakes company tonight.

"This filly showed a lot in her training coming into that first race," said Stidham. "We had confidence in her and felt that she could come back in this spot."

The daughter of Manzotti broke awkwardly and spotted the field over three lengths before Bourque got her in stride

Marxie, trained by Danny Pish, ran second. Jeremy Collier rode the daughter of Marked Tree.

Sago, owned by Heiligbrodt Racing Stable and trained by leading Sam Houston Race Park conditioner, Steve Asmussen, was sent off as the favorite, but tired and finished fifth.

Native Annie paid $9, $6.20 and $4.60 across the board. The 3-2 exacta returned $97.60 and the trifecta with She's a Deputy Too paid $693.40.

Despite her fourth place finish, Hay Lauren, owned by Ro Parra of Austin, Texas, clinched 2-year-old Texas Thoroughbred Filly of the Year honors. Hay Lauren has won four of her seven career starts, including stakes wins in the Friendship Stakes at Louisiana Downs and the Texas Stallion Stakes last June at Lone Star Park.

In the colt and gelding division of the $125,000 Texas Stallion Stakes, There Goes Rocket solidified his position as champion 2-year-old colt. The son of Valid Expectations is owned by Fletcher of Little Rock, Ark., and trained by Sam David, Jr.

He won the first three races of his career, including the $122,000 Texas Stallion Stakes on June 28 at Lone Star Park. He was a fast closing second in the $50,000 Groovy Stakes at seven furlongs at Sam Houston on Nov. 15.

Veteran Louisiana-based jockey E. J. Perrodin made the trip to Houston to ride There Goes Rocket and was happy to avenge his loss in the Groovy Stakes last month.

"Well, I was just a little disappointed in the Groovy because my horse was the best horse in the race and we had all kinds of trouble and just got beat at the wire," said Perrodin. "Tonight we were going a little bit further and I had him where I wanted and we just took care of business. Today he proved that he likes to go two turns. He was staying in his left lead but I finally I got him back into his right lead and when he did, he took off. He was impressive today."

There Goes Rocketwon the one-mile stakes in a time of 1:38.48 and paid $4.80 for the win. Roundabout Jones, the winner in the $50,000 Groovy Stakes on Texas Champions Day at Sam Houston Race Park, ran second. Owned by Steve's father, Keith, the son of Seneca Rock was ridden tonight by Jeremy Beasley.

Stonerside Stable's Sling Shot ran third with Curt Bourque in the irons.

There Goes Rocket, sent off as the second betting choice, returned $4.80, $2.20 and $2.40. The 2-3 exacta returned $7.40 and the 2-3-1 trifecta paid $44.00.

(Chart, Equibase)