Sparkling Texas Glitter Wins Turf Express

Texas Glitter, with John Velazquez riding, collared speedy Rocky Bar in the final 100 yards and went on to a 3/4-length victory in Friday's $200,000 Hollywood Turf Express (gr. IIIT) at 5 1/2 furlongs.

Favored Malabar Gold was third in the five-horse Express, run in a flashy stakes record-tying time of 1:01.52 on a firm turf course. The time was one second off the course record.

Owned in partnership by William Schettine, who will retire the 6-year-old son of Glitterman to his DunHill Stud in Ocala, FL, next year, Texas Glitter won for the third time in eight outings in 2002 for trainer Todd Pletcher. Texas Glitter set a five-furlong turf course record of :54 4/5 at Calder in his last start, the Calder Turf Sprint Oct. 12.

Velazquez allowed Texas Glitter to settle in third place off the blazing pace of Rocky Bar (:21.21, :43.20), who jumped to a four-length lead with jockey Patrick Valenzuela over Mighty Beau on the backstretch. In mid-stretch Rocky Bar began to wilt a bit, and Texas Glitter took advantage for a late-running score.

"That made the trip worthwhile," said Velazquez, who rode a disappointing Ocean Drive in the Miesque (gr. IIT) earlier on the card. "I had to work for it. It didn't come easy. But he responded as soon as I asked him. He was there for me. So that made it easy. This horse is going to give you 110 percent, and he did it today. I was glad he did it. He saved my day."

The winner was fourth behind Swept Overboard in last year's Turf Express.

Texas Glitter won for the 11th time in his 36-race career. He is 8-for-17 lifetime on the grass. The $120,000 top prize improved his career bankroll to $826,077.

Sent off at 2-1, Texas Glitter paid $6.60, $3.80 and $2.60. Rocky Bar returned $4.80 and $3. Malabar Gold, the 8-5 favorite who was another length behind, paid $2.40.

(Chart, Equibase)