04/08/2006 11:00PM

Fort Prado captures Connally BC Turf

Jack Coady/Coady Photography
Fort Prado has his third straight win, his eleventh in twenty-four career starts, in the Connally Breeders' Cup Turf at Sam Houston Race Park on Saturday.

Fort Prado won his second newly graded stakes this year, when he powered to a three-length victory over Dynareign in Saturday night's Grade 3, $193,000 at Sam Houston Race Park.

The Connally was elevated to graded status this year, as was the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup, which Fort Prado won in January during the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs.

Fort Prado settled in sixth early in the Connally, racing about five lengths behind Prince T., who set fractions of 24.59 seconds for the opening quarter, 48.76 for the half-mile mark, and 1:13.30 for six furlongs. Fort Prado surged along the inside, overtook the leaders in the stretch, and covered the mile and an eighth over firm turf in 1:49.41.

"When the gap opened at the head of the stretch, he just exploded," said Jeff Trosclair, who trains Fort Prado. "A horse like this just makes our job easy."

"I had a fortunate trip and was able to save ground," said winning rider Robby Albarado. "I got through on the inside and kicked on."

Fort Prado earned $103,800 for the win, which was his 11th victory from 24 career starts. The Connally was his third straight win behind the Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup and the Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup at Tampa Bay Downs.

Fort Prado has won seven stakes overall, and has earnings of $626,900. He races for Team Block.

The Connally was the richest race of the meet at Sam Houston.

* Stretching ($9.80) rallied for a three-quarter length win over Dash of Humor in the $40,000 Jersey Lilly, one of two undercard stakes. Ted Gondron rode the winner for trainer Michael Stidham.

* Charming Socialite ($7.20) was a nose winner over 12-year-old Proven Cure in the $40,000 Sam Houston Turf Sprint. Terry Stanton rode the winner for trainer Bill Pettit.

* Attendance ontrack was 8,462. Handle on the 10-race card from all sources was $2,057,248.