01/31/2010 12:00AM

Acting Zippy wire to wire in Connally

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Acting Zippy took advantage of the scratch of a key pace rival Saturday night in the and led throughout for a neck win over Orientate Express in the richest race of the meet at Sam Houston Race Park. It was another length back in third to Baltimore Bob.

The complexion of the Connally Cup changed significantly with the scratch of King Dan, a speed horse who had drawn the rail. Jockey Robby Albarado put Acting Zippy's tactical foot to good use right from the start, as the pair moved to the lead through an opening quarter in 25.37 seconds. Acting Zippy continued to dictate the terms of the mile and an eighth race through six furlongs in 1:15.63, and a mile in 1:40.17 and in the drive held off a bid from Orientate Express. The winner covered the distance on firm turf in 1:52.31 and paid $12.40.

"If he broke well, I knew he would be able to carry the pace," said Albarado, who was aboard for trainer Don Bennett.

"This is a versatile horse, and I knew he would be able to win this."

The Connally was the first turf stakes score for Acting Zippy, who is a multiple stakes winner on dirt. He came into the race off a wire-to-wire win in an off-the-turf allowance prep at Sam Houston on Jan. 16. He has now won 10 of 31 starts and $574,228. Bennett co-owns the gelding with Carl Bowling. Acting Zippy is a 5-year-old son of City Zip.

Pool Play, a closer, finished eighth as the 3-1 favorite in the Connally.

Earlier on the card, Love to Tell ($12) pulled clear by 2 lengths in the $50,000 Jersey Lilly. She covered the mile and a sixteenth for fillies and mares on turf in 1:44.91. Shane Sellers was aboard for Lucas Downs Ltd and trainer J.R. Caldwell.

W Attendance on track was 5,739 while handle on the 10-race card from all sources was $1,824,261. Hal Wiggins, the original trainer of Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra who is now retired and lives in Houston, made the trophy presentation for the Connally.