08/11/2010 3:23PM

Stoli's Winner shoots for the top


Stolis Winner could become Quarter Horse racing’s all-time leading earner Friday night at Sam Houston Race Park. He is set to start in the $50,000 Classic, and to break the record of $2,126,309 held by Refrigerator, he will have to win the 440-yard race. It drew 10 older horses, including Blue Louisiana Jolla, who has won his last five starts.

“It’s a very deep, very quality field,” said Heath Taylor, who trains Stolis Winner for Jerry Windham. “He’ll have to have his ‘A’ game.”

Stolis Winner picked off the fifth Grade 1 win of his career in his last start July 10, when he won the Texas Challenge Championship at Sam Houston. The race came in his second out since December. Friday night, Stolis Winner is the 126-pound highweight in the Sam Houston Classic. He will break from post 6 under G.R. Carter Jr.

“The main thing we want to see is the horse get a good, clean opportunity to do what he does best, and hopefully run the race that he’s capable of running,” Taylor said. “Hopefully, we’ll have good luck, and a good, clean trip. He’s training well and doing really good going into the race.”

The Classic winner will earn $30,000, which is just a tad more than the $28,579 that Stolis Winner needs to surpass Refrigerator. Stolis Winner to date has compiled a career record of 12 wins from 18 starts for earnings of $2,097,731. He was the world champion for 2008 for a season that included wins in three Grade 1 futurities, the $1.9 million All American, the Rainbow and the Heritage Place.

But in January 2009, Stolis Winner was disqualified from his All American victory for a caffeine positive. His connections appealed the ruling, and earlier this year the case came before a panel of hearing officers. They recommended the ruling be dismissed, and on Monday their report will be considered when a decision in the case is made by the New Mexico Racing Commission.

Stolis Winner, whose earnings have remained intact because the case is under appeal, is chasing the record of a three-time winner of the Champion of Champions between 1992-94.

“Refrigerator is an icon in the business,” said Taylor.

◗ The Texas Racing Commission’s committee on race dates will meet Friday morning at Sam Houston at 10:30 a.m. Those who wish to make public comment on the possible consolidation of dates for 2011 need to sign-in to speak at the meeting.