02/14/2013 4:48PM

Sam Houston: My Golden Belle a sentimental choice in Stallion Stakes


My Golden Belle will be a sentimental favorite Saturday night when she starts in the $75,000 Two Altazano, one of two divisions of the Texas Stallion Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park. In the $75,000 Jim’s Orbit, impressive debut winner Ivan Fallunovalot will meet multiple stakes winner Worldventurer.

Both of the races will be run at a mile and are restricted to 3-year-olds by eligible stallions.

My Golden Belle will be making her first start for trainer Dewey Smith, a former assistant to Ralph Arnold Jr., who died unexpectedly Dec. 31. Smith is a retired Quarter Horse jockey who spent the past two years working for Arnold, who along with his wife, owner Kathy Stephens, operated one of the leading stables in Texas.

My Golden Belle, who will be making her two-turn debut, enters the Two Altazano off a fourth-place finish in the six-furlong division of the Texas Stallion Stakes, run at Retama Park on Dec. 8.

“Leaving the gate, she pulled a front shoe,” Smith said. “She ran a good race, considering everything.

“I think this filly will love going long, and hope she runs a good race on Saturday. As much as I would love to win the race, it [would] be tough going into the winner’s circle without Ralph.”

Arnold, 62, was a native of San Antonio who experienced a career year in racing in 2012, with 42 wins and stable earnings of $604,538. Last summer, he sent out Early M to win the $50,000 Valor Farm at Lone Star Park in her first start since being claimed for $8,000. She paid $53.60.

Paul Nolan has the mount on My Golden Belle, who will add blinkers. The filly races for Stephens.

Worldventurer will move back to two turns for the Jim’s Orbit. Multiple stakes placed at two turns, he won the $50,000 Groovy over seven furlongs at Sam Houston in his last start Jan. 19. Cliff Berry has the mount for Wesley Melcher and trainer Bret Calhoun.

Ivan Fallunovalot was a more than six-length winner of a maiden special weight sprint in his debut Feb. 2 and earned an 84 Beyer Speed Figure – the best career number in the Jim’s Orbit. Chris Landeros has the mount for Tom Durant and trainer Jack Bruner.

◗ The Texas Thoroughbred Association will hold its annual awards banquet Saturday night at Sam Houston. Honorees include Coyote Legend, 2012 Texas-bred horse of the year. He is being pointed to the $50,000 Jersey Village at Sam Houston on Feb. 23, said his trainer, Bret Calhoun.