01/31/2016 8:51AM

Da Big Hoss gives Maker fourth win in Connally Turf Cup

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LeeAnn Hickman/Coady Photography
Da Big Hoss, one of three winners on the card for jockey Florent Geroux, sets a turf course record for 1 1/2 miles in the Grade 3 John Connally Turf Cup.

Da Big Hoss put on a clinic Saturday night at Sam Houston Race Park, where he powered to a 4 3/4-length win in the Grade 3, $200,000 John Connally Turf Cup while shattering a course record. Da Big Hoss also gave his trainer, Mike Maker, a fourth career win in the Connally.

The Connally was one of four stakes on the most prestigious program of the meet at Sam Houston. The card was anchored by the Grade 3, $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic won by Forever Unbridled. 

Da Big Hoss ($6.20) rode the rail while settling in fourth under Florent Geroux. Into the stretch the winner struck the front and pulled away to cover 1 1/2 miles on firm turf in 2:28.16. The previous course record was 2:32.56, set in 1996 by Commander Calhoun, according to an announcement at Sam Houston.

“When I asked him to go turning for home, he just went,” said Geroux, who won three races on the card.

Maker, who trains Da Big Hoss for Skychai Racing, previously won the Connally with Coalport (2015), Admiral Kitten (2014,) and Papaw Bodie (2012).

Geroux said Maker’s move to marathon distances with Da Big Hoss is a strong fit. “The horse seems to really like it,” said Geroux.

Kaigun finished second in the Connally, three-quarters of a length in front of Big John B.

Da Big Hoss earned $120,000 for his win in the Connally. It was his eighth career victory from 16 starts. He has now earned $703,056. Da Big Hoss is a 5-year-old horse by Lemon Drop Kid and was bred in Kentucky by Gary and Mary West Stables.

Geroux’s other stakes win on the night came in the $50,000 Space City with odds-on favorite Twirling Cinnamon ($2.80). The horse worked to get past pacesetter He’s a Ranger and ultimately proved a length best over that rival. Twirling Cinnamon covered six furlongs in 1:11.32.

Geroux noted after the race that the addition of blinkers for Saturday night’s race served Twirling Cinnamon well. Brad Cox trains the horse for Steve Landers Racing. Twirling Cinnamon is a son of Twirling Candy who was bred in Kentucky by Woods Edge Farm.

Galton ($9) came rolling nearing the wire to win the $75,000 Frontier Utilities Turf Sprint by a half-length over Billy Two Hats. Marchman, the 4-5 favorite in his first start since the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, came charging for fifth, beaten 1 1/4 lengths. Deshawn Parker rode the fast-closing Galton, who covered five furlongs on turf in 56.69 seconds.

“When I asked, he gave me a real good kick,” said Parker. 

Midwest Thoroughbreds owns Galton, who is trained by Tom Amoss. Galton is a 5-year-old by Offlee Wild and he was bred in Kentucky by Flaxman Holdings Limited.

A 50-cent pick four linking the four stakes Saturday night returned $41.10. The pool, which was guaranteed at $100,000, was $107,080.