03/12/2008 11:00PM

Sam Houston: Valid Lil starts her year in Mission


The multiple stakes winner Valid Lil will face three sharp rivals in Annie Savoy, Stealth Cat, and Moneyinmywranglers when she returns from a freshening in the $50,000 Mission Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park. The seven-furlong race is restricted to fillies and mares bred in Texas.

Valid Lil will be making her first start since Dec. 22, when she was third to Tres Dream in the $100,000 Esplanade at 5 1/2 furlongs at Fair Grounds. She is coming off a season of racing in which she won 7 of 10 starts, including two open-company stakes, the $50,000 Ada at Remington Park and the $45,000 New Braunfels at Retama Park. Bobby Walker Jr. has the mount on the rail-drawn Valid Lil, who is owned by Circustown Stables and trained by Bret Calhoun.

Annie Savoy is seeking her third straight win. She was up for a nose victory in the $50,000 Yellow Rose at Sam Houston on Dec. 1, then returned in her next start to win a $40,000 optional claimer at Oaklawn on Feb. 21. That race came at 5 1/2 furlongs, and the move to seven-eighths should be a plus for her, as she won last year's Mission at this distance at Sam Houston. Paul Nolan has the mount for trainer Kari Craddock.

Stealth Cat was a 5 1/2-length winner of an optional claimer at Sunland Park in her last start March 8, while Moneyinmywranglers romped by 7 1/4 lengths in a Sam Houston allowance in her last start Dec. 15.