01/30/2011 11:45AM

Schramsberg solidifies status as Southwest's top turf horse by taking Connally Cup

Coady Photography
Schramsberg, ridden by Chris Landeros, captures the Connally Turf Cup.

Schramsberg is emerging as one of the Southwest’s most significant turf horses after winning his second major stakes in the region in Saturday night’s Grade 3, $200,000 Connally Turf Cup at Sam Houston Race Park..

The score came following his October win in the $150,000 Remington Park Green.

Schramsberg, who is a son of Storm Cat and the champion racemare Serena’s Song, removed blinkers for the 1 1/8-mile Connally and tracked the pace set by And Music Came. That rival ran the opening quarter in 25.26 seconds and a half-mile in 49.38 as Schramsberg began to pick up steam on the final turn. Schramsberg took the lead in the stretch and drove clear by 2 ¼ lengths, covering the distance on firm turf in 1:50.22.

I have to give all the credit to the horse,” said winning rider Chris Landeros. “He is an amazing animal. We looked at the Form and knew there wasn’t much pace in here. Our thought was if we were going to take it, let’s take it nice and comfortable. Luckily, there were a couple horses that wanted to go up front and press the pace. I got a ground-saving trip and just waited for that move and he spurted when I asked him.”

Chris Hartman trains Schramsberg for Bobby Joe Hammer.

“This was a good spot to run the horse,” Hartman said. “It’s a Grade 3 and the horse is extremely well bred.”

Hartman said Schramsberg could run next in the $150,000 Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston on March 5.

Southern Anthem finished second in the Connally. It was another 1 ¼ lengths back in third to favorite and highweight Stately Victor, who was returning to turf for the first time in a while after racing on Polytrack.

“He handled the turf course fine,” said Alan Garcia, who rode Stately Victor. “By the time he got in gear, it was too late.”

Handle on the 10-race Connally card from all sources was $1,445,283. The race was the richest of the meet at Sam Houston.