Updated on 09/16/2011 8:50AM

La Reine's Terms pulls $16.80 upset in Turf


HOUSTON - Horatio Karamanos could wait no longer. Leaving the half-mile pole, Karamanos, riding La Reine's Terms, dared to go eyeball-to-eyeball alongside heavily favored Forbidden Apple in the $262,000 Great State Challenge Turf, something that normally would spell defeat for most horses.

But La Reine's Terms was more than equal to the task. He pulled away to win the Turf by a half-length over late-running Mystery Giver, while Forbidden Apple, a $1.6 million earner and the 1-2 favorite, faded to third in the 1 1/8-mile race Saturday at Sam Houston Race Park.

"I thought that was a really gutsy race by Horatio," said trainer Larry Murray, who often employs Karamanos on their home circuit of Maryland. "This horse has had a great year."

La Reine's Terms, a Maryland-bred by Private Terms, returned $16.80 as third choice after finishing in 1:51.61 over a firm turf course. A 7-year-old horse owned by Howard and Sondra Bender, La Reine's Terms has won 5 of 6 starts this year and 14 of 35 overall.

After Purple Sand led Forbidden Apple through the first five furlongs, Karamanos and La Reine's Terms suddenly rushed up from the outside. Forbidden Apple remained with him on the lead for about a dozen strides, but La Reine's Terms kept going, pulling off to an open lead in midstretch before holding off Mystery Giver, a 15-1 shot.

Forbidden Apple, ridden by Corey Nakatani, was another 1 1/2 lengths back in a field of nine older horses.

Sprint: My Cousin Matt by seven

My Cousin Matt cruised to a seven-length victory in the $241,500 Great State Challenge Sprint, prompting owner Richard Englander to pronounce the 3-year-old gelding as one of the best sprinters in North America.

"With Orientate and Thunderello out, they better start looking out for this guy," said Englander, for whom trainer Scott Lake claimed My Cousin Matt three starts back for $85,000.

My Cousin Matt, a Florida-bred by Matty G, ran several lengths behind a five-pack of front-runners. He began moving closer on the turn, then angled toward the rail for the drive. He easily pulled away to finish six furlongs in 1:09.06 over a fast track and returned $8 as third choice in a field of eight. The Houston track record is 1:08.80.

"People might think I'm foolish for saying this, but he did everything on his own," said winning rider Ramon Dominguez. "What a nice horse."

Dash for Daylight finished second, three-quarters of a length ahead of Deer Run. Day Trader, the 2-1 favorite, faded to fifth.

My Cousin Matt probably will run next in the Sunshine Millions on Jan. 25 at Santa Anita, said Englander.

Juvenile: Crackup rallies

Crackup took advantage of a hot pace to win the $263,500 Juvenile by 1 1/4 lengths over Supah Blitz. It was another 2 3/4 lengths back in third to Cherokee's Boy.

Crackup ($15), a California-bred, sat in fourth early in the seven-furlong race while favored Only the Best and Posse dueled through fractions of 22.15 seconds and 44.05.

Crackup edged closer to the leaders on the turn, entered the stretch four wide, and powered to the lead. He held off a late charge from Supah Blitz, covering seven furlongs in 1:22.73.

"When I started asking him, he just started taking off," said Tyler Baze, who rode Crackup for trainer Rafael Becerra.

Crackup earned $150,000 for the win, which was his third in five starts. His career earnings stand at $276,828. Crackup, a son of Distorted Humor, races for Stan Fulton and was bred by Malibu Valley Farms and Arthur Alisi and Mary Alisi.

Becerra said Crackup's next race will be in either the $125,000 California Breeders' Champion Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 27 or a race on the Sunshine Millions program at Santa Anita Jan. 25.

Juvenile Fillies: Elegant Designer wins

Elegant Designer put Florida on the board first in the Great State Challenge when she drove to a two-length win over Midnight Cry in the $214,000 Juvenile Fillies, the first race of the six-race series. It was another length back in third to Souris.

"She ran a super race," said Mario Pino, who rode Elegant Designer for trainer Anthony Dutrow. "Tony told me to relax, don't move too soon, and ride her with confidence."

Elegant Designer settled about six lengths behind pacesetter Hurricane Hebe, who with Youcan'ttakeme in close pursuit set fractions of 21.93 seconds and 44.54 in the seven-furlong race.

Elegant Designer rallied five wide into the stretch and won in 1:23.48 on a fast track.

The win was the third straight for Elegant Designer, who started her streak with an entry-level allowance win at Aqueduct in October. She then won the $150,000 Joe O'Farell for Florida-breds at Calder in November.

Elegant Designer earned $120,000 Saturday. The win was her fifth in seven starts, and her earnings now stand at $273,670. She races for Ronald Gomez. Elegant Designer, a daughter of Suave Prospect, was bred by Farnsworth Farms.

* In Saturday's two Texas Stallion stakes, Eagle Lake ($2.40) won the fillies and mares division by 10 3/4 lengths and Fitzroyal ($3.40) won the open division by 3 1/4 lengths. Both were ridden by Gerard Melancon and trained by Cole Norman.

* Goodness ($4.40) led throughout to win the $30,000 San Felipe over Discos Pearl.Donnie Meche rode the winner for trainer Steve Asmussen.

* Fleeta Dif ($9.60) pressed the pace early along the rail and outfinished Piniate in the stretch to win the $30,000 Cy-Fair. Rita Helton rode the winner for Tom Warren.

- additional reporting by Mary Rampellini