01/24/2016 1:24PM

P Val guides A M Milky Way to narrow win in Spirit of Texas

Coady Photography
F J Uncle Vic pays $47.60 for winning the Star of Texas for the second time.

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela got Saturday night’s stakes action at Sam Houston Race Park off to a rousing start when he piloted A M Milky Way to a neck win over Solar Charge in the $50,000 Spirit of Texas.

Upon returning to the winner’s circle, Valenzuela, the 53-year-old who made a recent return to the saddle, was greeted with applause from the ontrack crowd in Houston.

“My horse ran a great race, opened up and no other horse was getting by me,” said Valenzuela. 

The Spirit of Texas was one of four stakes on the Texas Champions program. The races were worth a collective $200,000, and all were restricted to horses bred in Texas.

A M Milky Way ($3.60) covered six furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.22. Karl Broberg trains the horse for David L. Davis.

A M Milky Way is a 4-year-old by Elusive Bluff and he was bred by Davis.

In the $50,000 Star of Texas, F J Uncle Vic defended his title at 22-1. He won by 1 1/2 lengths over Texas Air, and paid $47.60. Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez was aboard for the partnership of Johnny Evans and trainer Terry Eoff.

F J Uncle Vic, a 5-year-old son of Uncle Abbie bred by Mr. and Mrs. Frank Prifitera, covered the mile in 1:38.03.

“He loves Sam Houston,” Evans said. “This horse is so special to me. He’s named after my late Uncle Vic. Terry and Ernesto deserve all the credit.”

Bravura ($4.20) was a powerful, 1 1/4-length winner over Silver Dodge in the $50,000 Groovy. The winner covered six furlongs in 1:11.69. C.J. McMahon was aboard for Victoria Ashford and trainer Bret Calhoun. Bravura is a 3-year-old by Early Flyer and he was bred by Ashford.

I Am Jane Dough ($12.20) defeated males in the $50,000 Richard King, run over 1 1/8 miles on grass. She won by 1 1/4 lengths over Rule Breaker. It was a dead heat for third between Magna Breeze and Millers Clocker.

I Am Jane Dough covered the distance on firm ground in 1:50.85. Danny Pish trains I Am Jane Dough for her breeder, Rose Mary Chandler. The winner is a 5-year-old by My Golden Song.