04/10/2005 12:00AM

Rapid Proof up in time in Connally BC Turf

Coady Photography
Rapid Proof (#1) catches pacesetter Warleigh in the shadow of the wire to win the John B. Connally Breeders' Cup Turf Handicap by a head at Sam Houston Saturday night.

Rapid Proof caught pacesetter Warleigh on the wire for a head win in the $216,000 at Sam Houston Race Park on Saturday night. It was the second major stakes score for Rapid Proof, who came into the race on the heels of a head win in the Grade 2, $500,000 Mervin Muniz at Fair Grounds.

Dynareign finished third in the Connally, five lengths behind runner-up Warleigh.

Rapid Proof ($6.40) settled about three lengths off the pace in the Connally, as Warleigh led the field through an opening quarter in 25.24 seconds, a half-mile in 49.31, and six furlongs in 1:13.64. Rapid Proof rallied for the win, covering the mile and an eighth over firm turf in 1:51.31.

Brian Hernandez Jr. rode the winner for trainer Hal Wiggins.

"He's such a great horse," said Hernandez. "He knows where the wire is."

Rapid Proof earned $129,600 for the win, and now has a record of five wins from 24 starts for earnings of $679,303. He races for his breeder, Dolphus Morrison, and gave Wiggins his third win in the Connally. Wiggins won the race in 1998 and 1999 with Chorwon.

* Proven Cure ($5.40), who is 11, won the second stakes race of his career on the undercard when he rolled to a two-length win over Hortense in the $50,000 Sam Houston Turf Cup Sprint. Leading rider Quincy Hamilton rode the winner for trainer John Locke.

* Hamilton also captured the $50,000 Jersey Lilly with Peace Symbol ($6.60), who led throughout for a a length and three-quarter win over Bonnie J. in the mile and a sixteenth turf race for fillies for mares. Peace Symbol is trained by Danny Pish.

* Attendance on Saturday night was 8,260, and handle on the 10-race card was $1,973,454. The Connally is the richest race of the meet at Sam Houston, which closes on Sunday.