01/26/2013 11:06PM

Sam Houston: Swift Warrior captures Connally Turf Cup

Coady Photography/Ethel Castaneda
Swift Warrior scores by 2 3/4 lengths under Jose Espinoza in the Conally Turf Cup.

Swift Warrior controlled the tempo early and was full of run late to win Saturday night’s Grade 3, $200,000 Connally Cup Turf at Sam Houston Race Park by 2 3/4 lengths. King David finished second, three-quarters of a length in front of Willcox Inn.

The Connally was one of three races supporting the inaugural $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic. Together the races were worth $725,000, making the program the richest of the meet at Sam Houston.

The favored Swift Warrior ($5.80) broke from the rail and moved to the lead along with four of his rivals by the first turn of the 1 1/8-mile race he was clear by a length. Swift Warrior cruised through fractions of 24.98 seconds for the opening quarter, 49.36 seconds for the first half-mile, and 1:13.40 for six furlongs. He opened things up through the stretch, to cover the distance on firm turf in 1:49.21.

“After the first quarter, I said, ‘It’s done,’ because he’s going pretty easy the first quarter,” said Jose Espinoza, who was aboard Swift Warrior for trainer John Terranova II.

The Connally was the third career stakes win for Swift Warrior, a 5-year-old son of First Samurai who races for the partnership of James Covello and James Dolan. The horse earned $120,000 for his win, to improve his career record to 5 for 19 for earnings of $346,843.

O Icon Ike ($7.40) edged the 9-year-old Chamberlain Bridge by a nose to win the $75,000 Champion Energy Services in course-record time. He covered five furlongs on firm turf in 56.48 seconds. Rosie Napravnik was aboard Icon Ike, who closed with a rush to hit the wire with Chamberlain Bridge. Larry Jones trains Icon Ike for Fletcher and Carolyn Gray.

* Tour Guide ($3) won his third consecutive race in the $50,000 Allen’s Landing for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs. He tracked the pace in third, overtook the leaders into the stretch, and then held off a bid from Hardrock Eleven to win by a half-length. Miguel Mena was aboard Tour Guide for Gary and Mary West and trainer Bret Calhoun. Tour Guide covered the distance in 1:23.16.