01/29/2017 8:15PM

Bigger Picture heads one-two-three sweep for Maker in Connally Turf Cup

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Bigger Picture, ridden by Jose Ortiz, wins the Connally Turf Cup by 1 1/4 lengths over stablemate Oscar Nominated.

Bigger Picture led a Mike Maker-trained sweep of the top three spots in the Grade 3, $250,000 Connally Turf Cup at Sam Houston on Sunday, when he sailed to a 1 1/4-length win over Oscar Nominated. It was another three-quarters of a length back in third to Greengrassofyoming. ​

Maker has now won five of the last six runnings of the Connally, according to officials with Sam Houston.

The Connally was one of two Grade 3 races on the richest program of the meet. Unbridled Mo won the Grade 3, $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic by 2 3/4 lengths over I’m a Chatterbox.

Bigger Picture ($4.20) was moving back to turf for the Connally and in the early stages of the 1 1/2-mile race the favorite was content to stalk pacesetter Fall of Troy, who took the field through fractions of 25.23 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 51.49 for the half-mile. Bigger Picture slipped up the rail to take over through a mile in 1:43.35. He maintained his advantage for the remainder of the race, covering the distance on firm ground in 2:23.24.

“He’s a really game horse,” said Jose Ortiz, who was aboard Bigger Picture. “When he made the lead, I knew he was going to fight.”

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Maker was pleased with the effort from Bigger Picture, and the ride by Ortiz.

“The rail opened up and he took advantage of it,” Maker said of Ortiz.

Maker said he felt Oscar Nominated ran a credible race in his first start at 4, while he believed Greengrassofyoming was compromised by the slow pace.

Bigger Picture was winning his second graded stakes behind the Grade 3 Red Smith. Overall, he has won 9 of 22 starts and $586,735. Bigger Picture is a son of Badge of Silver and races for Three Diamonds Farm.

The stakes win was one of two on the card for Maker, who earlier on the program teamed with Ortiz to take the $75,000 Frontier Utilities Turf Sprint when Partly Mocha ($14.40) held off a sweeping bid from favorite Hogy.  Partly Mocha won by a head, while covering five furlongs on firm turf in 57.64 seconds. Ortiz was aboard for Ken and Sarah Ramsey. Partly Mocha is a West Virginia-bred son of Half Ours.

In other stakes results, Laughingsaintssong ($6.80) was always prominent for a three-length win over Prados Way in the $50,000 Space City. The winner covered the six furlongs for 3-year-olds in 1:10.92. Kerwin Clark was aboard for Rodney Verret and trainer Allen Landry. Laughingsaintssong is a Louisiana-bred son of Songandaprayer.

Hip Hop N Jazz ($5.20) became a stakes winner when she darted to a 1 1/2- length victory over Stormquility in the $50,000 Sam Houston Distaff. The winner set the pace and went on to cover 1 1/16 miles on firm ground in 1:43.93. Florent Geroux was aboard for Heider Family Trust and trainer Tom Proctor. Hip Hop N Jazz is a daughter of Speightstown.