09/27/2006 11:00PM

$200K Connally BC tops 2007 stakes schedule


The Grade 3, $200,000 Connally Breeders' Cup Turf on April 7 will be the richest of 27 stakes worth $1.6 million at the upcoming meet at Sam Houston Race Park in Houston. The track will race 68 nights, from Nov. 17 through April 7.

The Connally for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on turf was run as a graded race for the first time in 2006. Next year's running again will be supported by two $50,000 turf stakes, the Jersey Lilly Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles and the Sam Houston Turf Sprint Cup.

The first major stakes of the meet will be run on Dec. 2, during the annual Texas Champions Day, a program of eight divisional stakes for Texas-breds with total purses of $475,000. The series moves back to December this meet after being run in mid-November in 2004 and 2005.

Other top races at the meet include the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on Jan. 27. The race will share a card with the $50,000 Sam Houston Distaff.

Purses are budgeted at more than $110,000 a day. Sam Houston will race on a Thursday through Sunday basis for much of the meet. There is a 7 p.m. Central first post on all nights except Sundays, when first post will be 5 p.m. Central.