09/21/2004 12:00AM

Connally still in April


The $200,000 Connally Breeders' Cup Turf, which was moved from February to April for this year's running, will remain later on the calendar for the upcoming winter-spring meet at Sam Houston Race Park in Houston.

The 1 1/8-mile Connally is the richest of 32 stakes to be decided during the 71-night meet that opens on Nov. 17. The race will be run on April 9, 2005, one night before the meet closes. Sam Houston will offer $1.9 million in stakes purses, and has budgeted daily purses at $110,000 a day.

Sam Houston will open later than usual this year, its schedule adjusted to help Lone Star Park near Dallas accommodate the Breeders' Cup World Thorough-bred Championships on Oct. 30. As a result, the Sam Houston stakes schedule will open with a bang on Nov. 20.

That night will be the annual Texas Champions Day card, when nine stakes will be run for total purses of $650,000. The richest race on the night will be the $150,000 Sam Houston Texan Juvenile at 1 1/16 miles. The remaining stakes on the program are restricted to horses bred in Texas.

Another race of note during the meet is the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup, a 1 1/8-mile race for 4-year-olds and up on Jan. 22.