A pair of old pros who own the last four wins in the Connally Breeders' Cup Turf Handicap will hook up to keep the crown Saturday at Sam Houston Race Park. The $200,000 Connally, run over nine grassy furlongs, represents the richest stakes contest of the Sam Houston meeting.
Candid Glen, an 8-year-old, took honors in the race in 2001, 2002, and 2003 for Dr. Glen Warren, and will seek to retake the Connally crown from last year's winner, Warleigh, a 7-year-old owned by Ro Parra. Warleigh defeated eventual John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) victor Better Talk Now in last year's Connally.
Both, however, will have to deal with morning-line favorite Rapid Proof. The 5-year-old gelding owned by Dolphus Morrison enters off a huge victory in the $500,000 Mervin Muniz Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) at Fair Grounds March 19. His trainer, Hal Wiggins, won the Connally in 1998 and 1999 with Chorwon.
Wire Bound, an invader from Florida, has the services of the meet's leading rider, Quincy Hamilton. Already in Wire Bound's column are the $100,000 Pete Axthelm last December at Calder and the $100,000 Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup in February.
The field, in post position order with jockeys and weights:
1) Rapid Proof (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118)
2) Warleigh (Corey Lanerie, 117)
3) Dynareign (Donald Simington, 111)
4) Candid Glen (Lonnie Meche, 115)
5) Herculated (Carlos Marquez Jr., 117)
6) Social King (Elvis Perrodin, 113)
7) Val's Approval (Terry Stanton, 109)
8) Wire Bound (Quincy Hamilton, 115)